Traditionally, solar is mounted on a building’s roof, referred to as building-applied PV. But more architects are now learning how to incorporate solar cells and modules into things like curtain walls, roof tiles, and railings. This is known as building-integrated photovoltaics or BIPV.
BIPV is a promising new technology in the field of solar energy generation. The idea behind it is to organically blend solar power plants with architectural design. These integrated solar systems can provide savings in materials and electricity costs, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and add architectural interest to a building.
The elements used for BIPV construction can not only generate power but can also protect the building from moisture and wind and can improve thermal and acoustic proofing. They can also be used in a range of applications such as facades, rooftop canopies and balconies. They can help in GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment), which is India’s green building rating and can reduce the solar heat gain on a building, hence reducing the temperature of the building which will result in lower consumption of air conditioners.
Since industrial buildings and corporations are said to account for almost 40% of energy consumption, BIPV could turn out to be a sustainable solution that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Some of the prospective areas that buildings can use BIPV technology are:
- Tile: Cement or clay tile on the roof of a building can be replaced by the equivalent photo-electric modules. Electric tiles can pass solar radiation through, but they are visually indistinguishable from an ordinary roof tile.
- Roll Roofing Coverage: A thin-film laminate that combines the properties of bitumen coverage and the solar battery is the perfect equivalent to soft tile or roofing coverage.
- Wall Panels: Modern architects are now using solar batteries as facade panels instead of traditional wall panels.
- Windows (Glazing): “Solar Windows” are transparent thin-film solar batteries that can be stuck on glass, but these have a problem because of their low productivity. However, developments for the photo-electric elements to directly become a part of the glass itself are currently underway.
All these BIPV modules can be easily applied in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings as rooftops, facades, curtain walls, carports, and parking lots. BIPV systems can also be interfaced with the utility grid or can be designed as off-grid systems.
In India, many BIPV module manufacturers can manufacture BIPV modules to replace conventional building materials and deliver utility-grade electricity at the same time.
HHV Solar manufacturers semi-transparent BIPV modules that have defined new landscapes in green architecture. Other companies like Navitas Solar and Maglare specialize in the glass panels of BIPV modules that can replace glazing areas of the building, and Novergy Solar, a specialist in BIPV solar panels, offers a wide range of BIPV solar panels that can be blended with the architecture of the building.
BIPV is going to be a key driver in sustainable building innovation and can be conceived to replace conventional building cladding material with energy-generating BIPV elements. At Novergy, we truly believe BIPV is going to be one of the high-yielding elements of the buildings in the coming years.
This breakthrough technology takes solar power and sustainable living to the next level. It allows architects, designers, and clients to extend traditional building designs to harmoniously include hi-tech elements, converting the building into an attractive energy-generating structure.
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