Although building integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) are largely untapped compared to other microgeneration solutions, pressing environmental issues are propelling the technology to the forefront.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA–(Marketwire – March 1, 2011) – With the alarm bells ringing louder over climate change and global warming, there is growing concern over issues such as energy consumption, pollution and rampant depletion of non-renewable resources. Rising environmental awareness is evident not only among the public, but also in the commercial sector where corporate social responsibility (CSR) is viewed as an essential activity as well as an investment in goodwill.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.technicalinsights.frost.com), Building Integrated Photovoltaics: Technology Market Penetration and Roadmapping finds that crystalline silicon technology will play a key role in the next five years provided there is a significant increase in conversion efficiency.
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“Green initiatives spearheaded by the US government under the leadership of Barack Obama and agile strategies deployed by the European Union to ramp up energy efficiency have energized research and development activities in the field of photovoltaics (PVs), biofuels and so on,” said technical insights research analyst Kumar Narasimhan. “With these countries striving for radical change in the renewable energy domain in terms of both cost-effectiveness and efficiency, greater allocation of funds for the implementation of green and smart technologies in new buildings is expected.”
Additionally, tax benefits and incentives are driving some of the green technologies such as BIPVs.
From the perspective of cost, first generation PVs score higher than second generation PVs. Thin-film technology is being developed to bring down the prices of PVs; however, it is still in a nascent stage and can only become cheaper when large-scale manufacturing commences. If thin-film technologies can match up to the conversion efficiency of first-generation PV in a span of seven to 10 years, it could displace crystalline technology. Within this time frame, third-generation PV could be expected to enter the BIPV market in a very small way with slightly improved conversion efficiency.
Current PV module designs are mostly for autonomous PV systems. Therefore, there is no particular set of products produced specifically for BIPV. As BIPV products for every building are unique, material manufacturers find it difficult to design and produce standard building products for mass production. Only a few companies have so far come up with standard BIPV products for roof top materials such as solar roof shingles.
Development of specific BIPV products will allow for easier integration and better aesthetics. Certain building components such as shades, roofs and facades could be standardized to encourage the development of BIPV products. Thin-film developers must collaborate with glass or coatings manufacturers to promote BIPV panels as a standard construction building product.
Electricity prices have seen an upward trend during the past few years. Eventually, grid parity will be achieved and microgeneration through BIPV will ensure competitive prices. This factor will induce demand for PV systems and other renewable energy sources going forward.
“Solution providers must focus greater attention on research and development to roll out smarter grids, meters, and software,” said Narasimhan. “Also, spirited research and development collaboration among peers would be a surefire route to wider adoption within the next five to seven years.”
Building Integrated Photovoltaics: Technology Market Penetration and Roadmapping, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, offers insights on the roadmap and penetration prospects of BIPV. The study provides recommendations for stakeholders to enhance their penetration in the market along with an overview of key drivers and challenges, and demand-side analysis. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters and research services.
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