Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV)

Mont-Cenis Academy building, Germany. (Image: BSW-Solar)This note was reviewed and approved for currency in November 2018.

This note deals with architectural issues associated with photovoltaic (PV) power systems integrated into building design. It follows on from EDG note TEC 4, ‘Photovoltaic Cells – How They Work’.

New photovoltaic materials offer new design options: the challenge for designers is to combine technological and architectural considerations to produce integrated applications in buildings. This note details the opportunities presented by BIPV and gives an outline of key issues for the conceptual designer, including a value proposition for convincing prospective clients.

This note was originally published as DES 28 in August 1999. Its authors were Deo Prasad and Juliet Byrnes. It was reviewed by Deo Prasad in July 2004 and reviewed and revised by Mark Snow in 2011.

note summary
  1. Introduction
  2. The autotrophic building
  3. Why BIPV?
  4. Designing with BIPV
  5. The design process
  6. Photovoltaic types
  7. Textural attributes
  8. Module edge treatment
  9. Architectural criteria for BIPV
  10. Aesthetic merit
  11. Composition
  12. Grid harmony
  13. Context
  14. Engineering
  15. Innovation
  16. Applications of BIPV
  17. Sloped facades
  18. Solar access
  19. Summary