How far are we from true BIPV?

· Industry News

While we all know the shift to energy self-sufficient buildings is necessary, while there are many technologies and modules available, and while the topic of using PV in buildings has been studied for over 20 years, using PV in buildings is still not an "out-of-the-box" option. the BIPV industry has yet to develop its own standard system, which is a far more complex and integrated set of systems than the PV industry. We still have a long way to go to cultivate cross-border and cross-industry talents thus really coming to face PV building integration.

Customization Of BIPV

Architecture is different from other products in that it is customized and personalized. No owner will build a building exactly like the one next to it. But the PV industry is scalable and standardized. PV companies want a product that can be adapted to different buildings. This is the contradiction between the customization of the building and the scale of PV.


The BAPV projects we see now (the vast majority of distributed PV roofs) are like this, using standardized PV products to cover different building roofs. bipv is mainly used in new buildings, using the previous model is obviously not desirable. We need to take PV products into account as building materials in the design phase. This requires PV companies to customize PV modules for a specific building project. Of course, customization will inevitably increase the cost of construction and may defeat the original purpose of BIPV as an energy-efficient building, so future BIPV modules can be both standardized products and customized products.

Security Requirements Of BIPV

Even for standardized products, BIPV modules have higher requirements compared to traditional PV modules. The first key requirement is safety. Safety is the basic score, there are several factors to pay special attention to: first is the fire safety, the fire rating of the module must be the civil building standards; second is the waterproof and leak-proof, how to ensure that the connection between BIPV modules and other building materials does not seep and leak; how to ensure that the sudden increase in precipitation, water does not leak in the case of serious water, this is a new topic.


In addition, there is the safety of electrical appliances, such as lightning protection and grounding, leakage protection at accessible places, etc. There is also the safety of the structure, how to prevent the BIPV components from falling off when they are installed vertically or suspended.

Durability Requirements Of BIPV

The lifetime of traditional PV modules is usually 25 years, the lifetime of cables is 25 years, and the lifetime of inverters is 15 years, while we require 100 years for an important building. So BIPV places higher demands on the durability of the modules, not just the modules themselves, but also all the main and auxiliary materials of the entire photovoltaic system.


Unlike traditional buildings that are connected to the external grid for energy, BIPV buildings rely on the building itself for their energy supply. Therefore, the BIPV modules integrated inside the building determine the lifetime of the building to a certain extent.

BIPV Case Share

In recent years, there have been many BIPV buildings around the world, and we have selected a few more representative cases to share with you.

Public Building

Project name: Photovoltaics and Paris. The project required 1,500 photovoltaic modules of different shapes matching the geometry of the roof, which provided 80% of the energy for the project.
Location: Southwest Paris – French Army Headquarters
Client: Architect/Designer, French Ministry of Defense
EPC Company: Nicolas Michelin Agency and Associates
Year of Completion: 2014
Photovoltaic applications: facades, roofs, skylights, balconies, etc.
Photovoltaic technology: Monocrystalline
Installed capacity: 820kWp
BIPV side: 7000m²
Module type: glass-glass, glass-tedlar
Module manufacturer: ISSOL PV
Module color: gray zinc

Project name: Green Umwelt Arena Spreitenbach, Switzerland, a Plus Energy building that generates 203% clean energy.
Location: Spreitenbach, Switzerland
Client: Umwelt Arena AG Spreitenbach
Architect/Designer: Rene Schmid Architekten AG, Zurich/CH
EPC Company: Basler & Hofmann, Zurich
Year of completion: 2013
Installer: Basler & Hofmann, Zurich
Application : Facades, pitched roofs, skylights, balconies, etc.
BIPV technology: monocrystalline
Installed capacity (kWp/MWp): 750kWp
BIPV side: 5333.5m²
Module type: Opaque glass
Module manufacturer: Basler & Hofmann, Zurich
Module color: Black

Project Name: Copenhagen International School, Denmark
Building function: School
Integrated system BIPV as facade cladding
Location: Gunnar Clausens Vej 9, 8260 Viby, Denmark
Architect: C. F. Møller Architects
Year of completion: 2017
Module manufacturer: SolarLab
Solar technology: Monocrystalline silicon and Kromatix glass
Nominal power: 700 kWp
System size: 12,000 modules, 6,000 m2
Module size: 700 x 720 mm
Mounting angle: 4 degrees upward tilt
Orientation: All exterior walls

Commercial Building

Project name: ENERGYbase office, Vienna, Austria
Building function: Office and experimental education building
Integrated system: external screening of the inclined façade
Location: Giefinggasse 2, 1210 Vienna
Architecture: Ursula Schneider, pos architekten ZT gmbh
Year of completion: 2008
Module production: SOLARWATT GmbH
Solar technology: Glass-glass laminate
Nominal power: 48,2 kWp
System size: 364 photovoltaic modules, approx. 400 m2
Module size: 1520 x 710 x 9 mm
Orientation: South
Installation angle: Tilt 31.5°