Measures to Generate Clean Energy Bolster Use of Building Integrated Photovoltaics

The use of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology is less detrimental to the environment and is also benefitting in terms of lower cost of power generation than conventional means of power generation. Moreover, in construction undertakings, the integration of BIPV with the building structure reduces overall construction cost substantially.

Q. What are the major factors influencing the use of BIPV for energy generation?

A. Across the world, increasing awareness about the reduction of carbon footprint is leading to the tapping of renewable energy sources. This is mainly due to the depleting fossil fuel reserves and global warming which are increasing the temperature of the Earth.

In many parts of the world, the use of renewable sources such as solar panels for energy generation receives incentives from the government. Low cost of electricity generation combined with Feed in Tariff (FIT) rates are the other factors driving electricity generation using BIPV technology.

Q. Does the use of BIPV have cost implications on building construction?

A. No. The cost incurred in BIPV is neutralized by reducing the amount spent on labor and building materials that would be utilized to construct that part of the building. As the building comes into operation, the use of sunlight for generating electrical energy leads to additional savings. Due to this, BIPV is one of the fastest growing components of the photovoltaic industry.

Q. What lies ahead for the growth of the BIPV market in Asia Pacific?

A. In Asia Pacific, new norms and regulations about the use of renewable energy and government subsidies for the use of solar power for energy generation are driving the utilization of BIPV technology. For instance, in China, mandates such as the Renewable Energy Law 2006 are driving the use of renewable energy in the commercial sector. The increasing Asian population and government initiatives are offering new opportunities for BIPV in the residential sector.

Q. How are energy efficiency norms for buildings mandating the integration of photovoltaic?

A. Stringent rules for energy efficiency of buildings is making it a no-brainer to integrate photovoltaic at the time of construction.

The recently concluded Intersolar Europe trade exhibition had discussions on the ways the BIPV market in Europe can be stimulated. This included discussion of policies that would implement energy efficiency goals across Europe, and install BIPV in new building constructions and photovoltaic panels on existing rooftops.

The use of BIPV, however, changes the overall building cost but it is directly linked to the energy efficiency goals of the building. The conclusion of the meet was if energy efficiency targets are hard and firm, then it becomes almost a no-brainer to integrate solar at the time of building construction along with a host of energy-saving measures.


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