Hosted by the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, the annual conference
of the European Photovoltaic Technology Platform on Wednesday this week was
ful y dedicated to the growth opportunities for building-integrated photovoltaics
(BIPV) in Europe. Architects, designers, real estate and photovoltaic industry
representatives got together to compare their experience, technologies and
"As the costs of photovoltaics decrease, it makes more and more sense to focus
on solutions to better integrate them into our buildings and infrastructure" -
commented Marko Topic, Chair of the PV Platform. "Some building-integrated
photovoltaic technologies are still more expensive than simple PV; however, taking
into account their multiple functionality, already today BIPV applications can be
more interesting than conventional building elements that do not produce
electricity" - he continued.
"BIPV is a sub-sector of the PV industry where manufacturing stays close to the
place of instal ation" - said Gaëtan Masson, Vice-Chair of the Platform. Indeed,
BIPV needs to be very well tailor-made around the local architectural
specifications. This is good news for job creation and economic growth in Europe.
But what are the absolute preconditions for upscaling BIPV deployment in Europe?
On the one hand, the industry should identify a limited number of market segments
that are close to competitiveness. That way, companies could start manufacturing
pre-fabricated BIPV elements. This would bring the costs of this technology
significantly down, fol owing the same path that simple PV has gone down in
On the other hand, policies and regulations need to be designed or adapted to
support the use of BIPV. "The industry would be greatly helped by a set of clear and
harmonised technical specifications and by financial backing in the areas of
research and innovation as wel as industrialisation" - commented Wim Sinke, Vice-
Chair of the Platform.
The EU PV Platform has just issued a fact sheet on BIPV and will continue discussions
on this important topic at the conference titled "Reaching out for opportunities in
BIPV - technology and industry developments" on 15 September at the EU PV SEC
in Hamburg. More information can be found here: www.eupvplatform.org.