Kingspan develops insulated BIPV module for UK commercial rooftops

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Kingspan Group, a UK-based provider of sustainable products for the construction industry, has developed an innovative insulated BIPV module for industrial and commercial rooftops which is expected to “revolutionise” the BIPV market.

The new Kingspan Power Panel — which was on display at Ecobuild, a trade show held in London, UK, in early March — is composed of a 240w module supplied by Yingli Green Energy with insulation attached to the back. The wires are encased within the insulation and lead to a junction box located at the top of the module.

Speaking to PV-Tech’s sister site Design-Build Solar at Ecobuild, Ross McGuinness, area sales manager at Kingspan, explained: “This product is essentially a hybrid version of an existing product that we have. Kingspan has an insulated panel called RW which is a roof and wall solution. We’ve taken out two of the crowns which run down the panel and integrated a PV module. So in terms of how you install the PV module mechanically onto the roof it’s the exact same as a roof which roofing contractors have been installing for the past 25 years.”

The product caused some excitement at Ecobuild and has been earmarked as a development which is set to “revolutionise the BIPV industry”, Ray Noble, Solar Trade Association's Solar Photovoltaic Specialist Consultant, told Design-Build Solar.

According to McGuinness, the new module will be quick to install, helping to reduce time on-site and, in turn, labour costs. Compared with a bolt-on rooftop PV solution, this BIPV solution will not require a separate PV installer. Kingspan will manage and oversee each project and expects to provide the electrical installation service in conjunction with existing roofing contractors.

The Kingspan Power Panel will be manufactured in the UK and is currently awaiting TÜV accreditation. McGuinness revealed that preliminary discussions with the TÜV have so far been “very favourable”.

Following two years of development, the new Kingspan Power Panel is set to launch in the UK market by June 2013.

Commenting on why the UK has been chosen as the product’s first market, McGuinness said: “A large part of Kingspan’s business comes from the UK and we certainly see most scope for this project in the UK. The R&D of the product has been done in the UK and Ireland. The product is certainly going to be manufactured in the UK. We’re looking at using our manufacturing base in North Yorkshire. So the UK just seems the most logical step for the first installs.”

McGuiness added: “We see PV and BIPV in the UK as a growing area of the construction business. Certainly, I think it’s a lot more positive than other countries in Europe. We’ve looked at doing PV installs in Belgium, Netherlands and those markets have been killed by government legislation and government cuts to feed-in tariff subsidies and thankfully that hasn’t happened in the UK.”

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