Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) is a technology that provides solar power generation capacity to a building without disrupting the aesthetics of the building design. The technology integrates photovoltaic (PV) modules into the skin of a building, replacing the façade and sloping/flat/curved roofs.
Some BIPV applications include metal PV modules or solar tiles for roofs, aesthetically designed custom-sized PV modules for solar facades, PV windows to replace building glazing and PV skylights, and other PV retrofits integrated into the building skin.
Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) is an emerging technology with great potential to reduce the carbon footprint and electricity bills of buildings. bipv represents an economic benefit for buildings, but also implies high upfront costs compared to traditional facades.
There are several BIPV technologies available for building applications. Due to its natural insulating properties, BIPV can reduce the amount of energy required to operate a building.
These technologies can be used in a number of different ways for building applications. The four most common ways in which BIPV is used in build applications are
Windows and overhead glazing
BIPV technology can produce more energy than conventional solar panels and requires less space.
Integrated photovoltaics are an environmentally friendly technology as they do not pollute the environment.
The use of BIPV will have a positive impact on your organisation - if you use it in your building or company
Most BIPV products are available in the price range of 200€/m2 to 625€/m2.
The total cost of a BIPV system can be divided into two categories: hardware costs and soft costs. In this section we will explain the breakdown of costs for each category and sub-category.
The hardware costs of a BIPV system include the physical (hardware) structure and electrical components required for the system and installation. This category is subdivided into two: BIPV modules and balance of systems (BOS).
The cost of PV modules accounts for approximately 43% to 77% of the cost of a PV system. The main aspect that changes costs is the technology used for BIPV modules. The average price of a BIPV glass-glass module in Europe is around 120-250 euros per square metre, while the lowest price for a standard European glass-glass module can be as low as 95 euros per square metre. However, if you are looking for a unique solar external customised result, the price can be as high as €380/m2.
Balance of Systems (BOS)
The Balance of System (BOS) category includes hardware components that are not part of the BIPV module category, i.e. inverters, mounting components, storage systems and other hardware required for the installation. bOS components represent on average between 10% and 16% of the cost of a BIPV installation, but the cost of BOS components can increase depending on the complexity of the installation.
The inverter is a very important component in a BIPV installation. The cost depends on the technology chosen and varies between a central inverter (0.13€/W), a string inverter (0.17€/W) or a micro-inverter (0.35€/W).
The cost of the storage system is another expensive but important BOS component. The most recommended technology is lithium-ion batteries, which cost around €534/kWh, but prices are expected to fall to €202/W by 2030.
Other BOS components include charge controllers, meters, cables, AC/DC isolators, etc. Little research has been done on the costs of these components for BIPV systems. Depending on the technology and quality of the installation hardware, prices may decrease for less demanding installations and conversely may increase.
Soft costs include any costs that do not translate into hardware components. Soft costs fall into the following categories: design, procurement, construction and installation, licensing, inspection, interconnection (PII) and disposal. These costs are highly site specific and vary from country to country/region to region. In this section we will explain each of them.
The correct design of a BIPV system is the first stage of the process and this is one of the first costs to be considered. Design costs include conducting site surveys, carrying out preliminary design, preparing reports and other tasks required to design the system. For example, the design cost for a study case of an 11KW polycrystalline BIPV roofing system in Italy was 0.29€/watt.
The procurement costs involved in BIPV systems include site visits, transport, contract negotiations, module storage space rental and similar costs in the process. On average, transport costs are expected to be 0.5-2% for standard solar PV modules and 1.5-8% of the PV module cost for customised solar modules. However, this may vary from region to region.
Construction and installation
Construction and installation is a significant cost of BIPV systems. While it is difficult to estimate their costs across Europe, these include skilled labour, supervision time, consultancy, health and safety contingency costs, and other costs associated with infrastructure construction and system installation.
Permitting, Inspection, Interconnection (PII)
The permitting, inspection and interconnection (PII) of BIPV systems represents significant soft costs that vary from country to country. the PII costs translate into the costs required to approve the installation, the time spent working to prepare the BIPV system for interconnection to the grid, site inspections and similar costs. A study case German installation sets the administrative cost at 0.01€/watt and other PII costs at 0.055€/watt.
Disposal costs are not always considered during the 30 to 50 year life cycle of a BIPV system. The costs in this category translate into the cost of dismantling, transporting and disposing (for recycling) the BIPV system. As BIPV technology is fairly new and most installations are in operation, these costs have not been extensively studied.
BIPV façade costs
Estimated costs for BIPV facades depend on the type of BIPV product, with prices ranging from €200/m2 - €625/m2 and a payback period of 10 - 15 years in Europe, which exceeds that of inactive facades and term roofs, particularly as these options have no return on investment (ROI).
The average cost of a BIPV roof with integrated membrane BIPV system is 134€/m2.
The cost of a BIPV balcony is around €520/m2 and a sunshade is €800/m2.
Prices for BIPV glass curtain walls range from €520/m2 to €1,120/m2.
Operation and maintenance (O&M) costs include both hardware and software costs, which is why we have separated this category from the others. the O&M costs for BIPVs include monitoring systems, maintenance components and other costs due to unforeseen circumstances such as vandalism, fire, extreme weather events, etc.
O&M costs are estimated at 0.5% of the initial investment, but this takes into account the ideal situation of having regular maintenance and operability. O&M costs will vary when considering mainstream PV plants, BIPV or rooftop (BAPV or solar roof tiles). With the use of O&M software, the efficiency and output of such solar power plants can be significantly increased. Not to mention the fact that maintenance is only triggered when such software indicates a need for such services, which ultimately reduces overall O&M costs.
Another cost to consider is the regular replacement of the inverters, which takes place every 15 years and represents 10% of the initial investment.
Overall, the cost of BIPV technology varies depending on the use case, for example, the total installed cost of installing a solar module of 3kW to 8kW can range from $9,255 to $28,000.
The one significant drawback to the Tesla product is that no one (outside the company) currently knows what the total installation charges will be. Musk has indicated the Tesla Solar Roof will cost less to manufacture and install than a traditional roof, Going as far as to say even before savings from the power bill. For the clay tile and slate options in their line, that’s theoretically possible, given mass production and ease of installation.View More
A typical installation uses 350 solar shingles for a roof, so as to generate enough power for the home. Larger homes, with presumably more energy needs, would have more shingles. The total cost of installation, going with the prior numbers (before the recent 50% increase by Tesla), you could’ve expected to pay about $50,000-$56,000 for a 2,000 square foot roof at about $25 to $28 per sq. ft. installed (between $32 and $42 per square foot after the recent 50% price hike).View More
First consideration goes back to cost and value of solar shingles installed. The theoretical ROI for BiPV solar shingles is currently thought to be between 50% and 80%, depending on the type of installation, presumably more for how well integrated and less noticeable they are. Therefore, for the approximately $60,000 spent (after solar tax credits), you can count on immediately having an added value of $30,000-$48,000 to your home. Warranty is another big consideration. A typical asphalt shingle roof generally is warrantied to last 5 to 10 years for labor, and 20 years for materials. PV solar panels usually have a 25-year warranty.View More
If your existing roof is 10 years old or less and presumably in great shape, it would not be cost effective to install solar shingles. Even with Musk’s optimistic vision, he sees people going with solar when they need a new roof. Therefore, the traditional (read as non-solar) roofs being installed this year, could be waiting another 25 years before justifying the shift to solar shingle. And that’s assuming the roof is of the tile variety (asphalt shingles, clay tiles, or slate). Another caveat relates to why Dow Solar left the market. Solar panels are still the most cost effective and energy-efficient product on the market.View More
Built-in integration makes for awesome aesthetics for your roof Maintenance-free product Very good to great ROI Energy savings, as it now stands, with possibility to eliminate existing utility costs Installation is easy, and rather cost effective if waiting until you actually need a new roof Very durable, and not terribly expensive if needing to replace a malfunction or broken tileView More
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