Innovative Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) products and solutions
provide a strategy for the PV industry to compete in an increasingly crowded
marketplace. By comparison with standard PV products, BIPV products provide
two key benefits to customers: improved aesthetics and cost benefits when the
total cost of a building is taken into consideration. From the manufacturers
perspective they also add the ability to strongly distinguish their products
in a marketplace in which solar panels are rapidly becoming commodities imported
from low-cost manufacturing plants.
While early adopters of PV have remained undisturbed by the aesthetics of large
panels being attached to roofs, it is likely that widespread adoption of PV
will run into aesthetics barriers going forward. In order to address a larger
market, PV manufacturers will find that PV needs to be more unobtrusive and
there are now many options for doing so, including forming an entire roof out
of BIPV tiles, interlacing BIPV slates or shingles with conventional ones, and
incorporating PV into architectural glass. These kinds of approaches can make
BIPV products more continuous and complementary to the conventional building
skin materials and structures when compared to conventional solar panels mounted
on a roof.
However, the business case for BIPV is not based entirely on the idea that
it will make next generation solar panels prettier than the current generation.
It also promises an improvement in the cost of building structures incorporating
PV. This will be achieved by shifting the cost of photovoltaic systems from
isolated panel, installation, and balance-of-system costs to more of a shared
cost structure; one that is split between the power-generating system and the
By incorporating PV modules into building materials—and forming dual-
or multi-purpose products that serve building skin functions as well as power
generating ones—BIPV products have the potential to reduce costs. Because
conventional roofing products, cladding, etc. are not needed when the BIPV products
serve those functions considerable savings are possible.
Integrated Photovoltaics: Opportunities 2010 report provides an opportunity
analysis for BIPV over the next eight years, based on the aesthetic and cost
benefits discussed above. Building
Integrated Photovoltaics: Opportunities 2010 report also examines how manufacturers
in the PV space can leverage these benefits to distinguish themselves in the
marketplace. These opportunities are explored in terms of the three major classes
of BIPV products that NanoMarkets
has identified and defined: rigid BIPV products, semitransparent BIPV products,
and flexible BIPV products.
Integrated Photovoltaics: Opportunities 2010 report will be It is essential
reading for both PV suppliers—whether currently supplying BIPV or not—as
well as building materials suppliers, PV systems integrators, architects and
firms in the construction industry.