A key review of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems

History of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) development
In the late 1970s, the use of PV started to collaborate with industry to integrate PV as part of the
building envelope for residential purpose. In 1980, one of the first residential in United States
was built with solar panels as an integral component of the building (Arthur D. Little, 1995).
Thereafter, it gained popularity as the main driver is the unencumbered area available for solar
panel can be placed on the roof top of the building structure. However, technical challenges and
high costs have caused a hinder to commercialize. Through further R&Ds and improvements on
PV technologies which become more efficient and reliable, resulted building owners begin to
realize the benefits and the value-added of building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV). The first
BIPV that installed with PV components were integrated into a curtain wall facade with isolating
glass was completed in 1991 in Aachen, Germany (Benemann, et al., 2001) as shown in Figure
Figure 2.8 – PV facade with isolating glass (Aachen, Germany)
Source: (Heinstein, et al., 2013)
BIPV serve as a multifunctional construction materials and energy source of generating
electricity simultaneously that able to substitute conventional building materials in parts of the
building envelopes, such as facade, rooftops and glazing. In return, it contributes savings in
building materials, labour, and reduction on building energy cost. Since then, BIPV has been
envisioned one of the fastest and promising growing PV market that offer an aesthetical,
economical and technical solution to incorporate PV technologies that harvest solar energy and
convert to electricity within the building envelopes (Jelle & Breivik, 2012). From this
integration, it consolidates energy conservation, efficiency, architectural design, PV technology
and placement for electricity generation so as to maximize energy savings and fully optimize the
most benefits of BIPV application (Patrina Eiffert, Ph.D. & Kiss, 2000). Through these
synergies effects, it transforms ecological consequences of energy consumption and the need for
environment conscious building designs (Sick & Erge, 1996) that focus on renewable and nonpolluting
energy that drives toward zero energy or zero emission building.