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Nanotechnology Report

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Markets 2009 and Beyond

Category: Transport, Energy & Environment Published: Aug 2009 View Contents
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Electronic copies include a five user licence. Contact andrew.stewart@nano.org.uk for more information.

This report analyzes and quantifies the current and future markets for BIPV products. These products have traditionally consisted mostly of solar panels designed to lie flush and appear unobtrusive on a structure. But the BIPV market has changed in the past year or so, with exciting new products that incorporate PV cells into actual building materials like siding, windows, and roofing shingles.

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Last year, we produced one of the first reports on BIPV and this year's report builds on our success and experience with this earlier study. This time, our focus is on the next generation BIPV products just mentioned and we set out in this report, just where and when they are likely to be a success.

Innovation, improved materialsand to some extent, current market forcesare leading to increasing diversity of BIPV products of all material types. With this in mind the report focuses especially on what we regard as three key segments of the BIPV market (1) Flexible PV, which allows custom or even "do it yourself" BIPV products because they are simply applied (often by adhesive) to conventional building materials; (2) BIPV glass made with c-Si PV modules. This is already being made by several firms using fairly easy glazing technology, to custom specifications of overall size and cell spacing and (3) Rigid BIPV tiles are increasingly being made to emulate some kind of conventional, discrete building material unit, such as roofing tiles or slates.

Of course, the arrival of new BIPV products on the market is not the only thing that has changed since last year. With the huge downturn in the economy, the PV market has taken a double hit. First, the bottom has dropped out of the construction market, so the addressable market for BIPV is significantly smaller than it was a year ago. With this in mind, the report focuses on how BIPV technologies can break into the market now and how planners at BIPV firms can ensure that their products will do well once the new construction market begins to stabilize and how they can also best meet the demands of the retrofit market.

The other problem that all PV products faces is the decline in energy prices, which means that PV in general does not prove in economically to the same degree as in the past. With this in mind, this report discusses how BIPV specific factors -- notably aesthetics -- can help the PV industry move forward in a difficult industry. The earliest adopters of PV devices, often simply mounted panels on rooftops with little or no regard for appearance. The next wave of PV adopters, we believe, will require that the PV system be architecturally integrated into the building structure and look good. There is also a large proportion of potential adopters who do not want any attention--favorable or not. Modern BIPV is likely to allow this potential market to install PV systems "incognito."

The report also discusses the materials and technology aspect of BIPV. We look at how traditional crystalline silicon firms PV can best fit their products into the new BIPV environment and how the new TFPV and OPV/DSC technologies -- with their light weight and flexibility -- can be leveraged for BIPV applications. The report also goes into depth on the market, policy and technology factors that make BIPV more popular in some regions versus others. Finally, our eight-year forecasts of the BIPV market quantify the opportunities in BIPV by region and by product type.