Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics – BIPV

A look at the integrated voltaic Technology



Solar power is one of the cleanest and most efficient means of generating renewable energy and undoubtedly the future of global electricity production. One hour of Solar Energy from the Sun is enough to satisfy the global energy needs for one year, on average it equates to 1,400W per square meter.


Building-integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) is the concept of integrating photovoltaic elements into the building envelope, establishing a symbiotic relationship between the architectural design, structure and multi-functional properties of the building materials and the generation of renewable energy.

Coal India Limited (Kolkata)



What is possible with Integrated Photovoltaics?

Anything… Well, nearly!

When looking at the power produced by BIPV panels, the possibilities of direct current (DC) electricity and alternating current (AC) are known:

Solar cells produce DC power, which can directly be used to power (LED) lighting, water pumps, traffic signage and so on. When connected to an inverter, integrated photovoltaics can produce alternating current (AC), which basically can power anything a household wants to connect, from TV’s, microwaves to electrical cars. This is a self-sustainable system and can be installed in urban or rural areas for electricity generation. The thermal energy generated by the system can be used for space heating or drying purpose. It plays a very important role in education and deployment of renewable energy application in India and beneficial in terms of energy security of country.

Annual variation of thermal gain for five climatic conditions of India

Source: Performance Analysis of an Existing BIPV System for Indian Climatic Conditions, Abhishek Ranjan, Swapnil Dubey, Basant Agarwal and G. N. Tiwari*, Centre for Energy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi


In principle, BIPV can be used in all parts of the building envelope. Although roof surfaces are the preferred area for installing PV elements due to their advantageous irradiation values, facades also offer enormous potential. Since BiPV modules can be structured in many different ways, there is a correspondingly large variety of possible applications for the integration of PV systems in and on buildings. PV cells can be incorporated into just about any glass layer structure, so that even walk on glazing and thermal insulation glazing systems are possible. Examples of possible applications include:

Solar protection fins and louvers

Sun protection panels and canopies

Facade cladding for curtain facades and rear-ventilated facades

Double facades

Semi-transparent window areas


Privacy protection panels

Sliding shutters

Canopy roofs

Street furniture

Noise protection walls


The integration of renewable energy systems into architectural design is a topical and prevalent theme that presents opportunities for innovative approaches. As consultants and drivers of innovation, architects and design engineers have a decisive role to play in recognizing the advantages and potentials of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and applying them to meet specific project requirements. This involves combining energetic, architectural, engineering design, and economic considerations.


Today’s CO2 emissions stem mostly from the construction and operation of buildings. BIPV solutions are helping to resolve this conflict by making sustainable and emission-free energy conversion possible at the point of use.

Case Study:

  1. Coal India Limited, Kolkata has successfully got GRIHA certification for its new building in which criterion 18 has been fulfilled. They have used BIPV Solar electricity for powering all the 125 outdoor lights they have fitted. BIPV Panels of 33.66 KW has been installed on the building. Out of 140 kW Solar systems 15 kW is being used for the external lighting system. This 15 kW is fed to the UPS from the Building integrated Photovoltaic panels from which the load will be distributed to the external lights which will be active for the duration of 6 PM to 11 PM daily.


  1. Another Project “ SSC 3 Rajala Center, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad” has successfully got LEED CS certification. This project utilizes Renewable Energy integration which include BIPV solar modules. A combination of rooftop PV array and BIPV has been used. The rooftop PV array is of 80m2area and uses monocrystalline cells with cell efficiency of 13%. The BIPV is of35m2 area and uses thin-film cells with cell efficiency of 7%.
February 27, 2018

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