Is There a Solar Solution That Costs Less & Looks Good? - 3 Benefits of BIPV

Solar electric power systems have been in use for decades. Now, a relatively new application of solar generated power is making inroads and competing directly with conventional building construction methods. Itís called building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). With BIPV, the integration of solar power in roofing, building envelope or canopy systems adds building performance to solar generated electric power. Besides the dual performance advantage, letís talk about 3 more genuine benefits of BIPV.

1. Adding BIPV may cost you nothing compared to conventional building material costs.

Every approach to building design should satisfy needs and cost you less in the long run. Take whatever your current conventional construction material and labor budget is for roofing, building envelope, canopies, thermal heating and cooling. Then double it. Thatís what adding BIPV will cost you in the short term. However, BIPV with its incentives and unique tax advantages costs you less than conventional building materials in the long run. PlusÖ

ďA penny saved is a penny earned.Ē Once in place, conventional building materials are revenue static, offering little or no savings over time. By adding BIPV versus the cost of conventional construction materials and labor, the building envelope, roof or canopy now becomes a revenue center with up to 30 years of savings from system generated electricity.

2. Peak power consumption is offset simultaneously by peak energy production.

During the day, maximum sunlight hours and solar power system energy production generally correspond with peak electricity demand. This is even more important because peak production from the system is realized during daylight hours when utility prices are highest.

3. With BIPV, architectural design isnít sacrificed for integration of solar power systems.

Many have said, ďI want to add solar, but I donít want to see it.Ē So when does solar not look like solar? When itís seamlessly blended into building architecture using BIPV. Thatís the void in solar integration that BIPV fills. Architectural canopies, facades, curtain walls, roof and skylight systems are all examples of how BIPV can be an aesthetic rather than a design compromise.

Unlike the subjective social and environmental benefits of solar power which are hard to quantify, BIPVís economic benefits are real, easily measured and unique to the BIPV approach of building design and architecture. No other integration of solar or wind power generation can make that claim. BIPV and building performance concepts are only limited by imaginative design concepts and innovative applications of todayís solar products.

Rick Contrata
Atlantech Solar
Building Integrated Photovoltaics