Monday, March 7, 2011

Building-integrated PhotoVoltaics (BIPV)

Have you heard about building-integrated photovoltaics or BIPV? They are photovoltaic materials that are used to replace conventional building materials in parts of the building envelope such as the roof, skylights or facades.

It is part where new buildings use it as ancillary source of electrical power as per the module of BIPV. The advantage of integrated photovoltaics over more common non-integrated systems is that the initial cost can be offset by reducing the amount spent on building materials and labor that would normally be used to construct the part of the building that the BIPV modules replace. These advantages make BIPV one of the fastest growing segments of the photovoltaic industry (source: Wikipedia).
  
The use of PV for buildings according to the history began in the 1970s. It is where aluminium-framed photovoltaic modules mounted on buildings that were usually in remote areas without access to an electric power grid. It was later on modified and use on roofs in the 1980s. These PV systems were usually installed on utility-grid-connected buildings in areas with centralized power stations. In the 1990s BIPV construction products specially designed to be integrated into a building envelope became commercially available.

This particular discovery helped save a lot of money and at the same time this helps the building infrastructure to become more stable and thus, enhances on becoming energy efficient. Building-Integrated Photovoltaic modules are available in several forms such as flat roofs, pitched roofs, solar shingles - modules designed to look and act like regular shingles, while incorporating a flexible thin film cell; and in facades.
Facades can be installed on existing buildings, giving old buildings a whole new look. These modules are mounted on the facade of the building, over the existing structure, which can increase the appeal of the building and its resale value (source: Wikipedia).
Glazing on the other hand is a transparent module that be used as an alternative to a number of architectural elements such as windows and glass doors or any similar materials related to it.

There is also what they call as transparent solar panels which use a tin oxide coating on the inner surface of the glass panes to conduct current out of the cell. The cell contains titanium oxide that is coated with a photoelectric dye.

 For many building owners, this is an answered prayer. The government from different countries in fact supported anything for energy efficiency program. Including providing grants such as Green Loans Program in Australia, rooftop systems subsidy programs, and some other programs relating to the development of photovoltaic electricity generation ventures and the commercialization of PV technology.


Many other government agencies support energy efficiency programs and developed some more due to the increasing issue on global warming as well as making the most to save the energy and become more efficient. Billions and billions of dollars yearly are being spent to projects – great or small, in order to achieve the goal of being efficient both in buildings and in residential houses.

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