FAQ 19 What are BIPV systems and are they worth considering?


Building Integrated PV

BIPV, as it is known, uses solar photovoltaic panels to replace conventional building materials in the roofs, walls and sun shading of buildings.

The practice of integrating Solar PV modules to enable buildings to generate electricity is increasing in popularity as the technology improves and costs reduce.

Modern laminated composite panels which encapsulates photovoltaic cells into laminated glass produce solar electricity at the point of use.

The panels are integrated into the façade, roof or other exterior elements of the building.

Bespoke solutions Integrating Solar PV into the fabric of buildings provides the freedom to use imaginative flair to provide aesthetically pleasing designs which emphasise the Clients green credentials and at the same time providing a healthy Return on the Investment (ROI).

In many countries, including the UK, ‘Feed-In Tariffs’ provide some revenue - but that has been substantially reduced recently but that does not effect the ROI when the power is needed on the same site.

And some of the construction costs can be offset by reducing the amount spent on the construction materials that the Solar PV modules replace.

How is BIPV installed in Practice?

The roof needs to be insulated by conventional means - glass fibre or expanded polystyrene - and then provided with a flat manufactured board finish to which the BIPV panels are fixed by wood screws or bolts.

The joints between the panels are sealed with gaskets and the whole area is surrounded by a profiled metal section that provides a water- proof interface between the BIPV panels and the rest of the building.

Each panel is then wired up and connected to the control panel / distribution board.