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BIPV: Living up to expectations

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By Daniel Montoro, Scientific Officer, EPIA

Building integrated PV | Despite plenty of hype, BIPV has remained a niche segment in the solar business, held back by a combination of high costs and low efficiencies. But as Ben Willis hears, the high-profile entry of Tesla on to the BIPV scene could herald the start of a new era for the sector.

In late October, with all the usual fanfare that accompanies an Elon Musk announcement, the CEO of EV and battery storage manufacturer, Tesla, took to the stage to lift the lid on a heavily trailed new product. Most of Musk’s recent utterances on energy have been about storage, particularly Tesla’s high-profile foray into the world of stationary storage through its Powerwall battery system. But this was something a bit different – a buildingintegrated PV (BIPV) product designed to emulate various kinds of roofing tile and eliminate the need for clunky conventional roof-mounted modules once and for all.

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Middle East and North Africa special edition - The region has huge potential for both utility and rooftop solar. The gradual removal of fossil fuel subsidies for power generation, the falling cost of finance and, of course, improving project performance have tipped the balance of the economics for PV in the region. Other highlights include recent market developments in Spain and Chile as well as the hottest emerging markets, increasing use of mobile PV testing facilities, analysis of whether BIPV was set for a rebirth, labour saving in O&M, tax equity funding in the US, microgrids, encapsulants and the 1500V revolution.
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The seventh edition of Photovoltaics International was published in February 2010. This edition features a wafering focus from REC Wafer and SINTEF on how to improve cell efficiencies. In addition, EPIA provides in-depth analysis of feed-in-tariff schemes in our Market Watch; and in Cell Processing Fraunhofer ISE overcomes challenges in back-side metallization.

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