BIPV Important For Italy’s 80 GW By 2030 Solar PV Target

IEA PVPS: Significant Potential For BIPV Market To Expand, But Need To Factor In Historical Heritage

BIPV Important For Italy’s 80 GW By 2030 Solar PV Target

Despite the end to the Innovative FIT Scheme of 2010-2013, the number of patent applications and granted patents for BIPV shows the past booming market and the market recovery in 2017 in Italy. (Photo Credit: IEA PVPS)

  • Latest Task 15 report of the IEA PVPS explores the niche market of BIPV and its scope in the context of Italy 
  • A steady flow of patent applications shows the continued interest in this technology despite the phase-out of FIT support 
  • The report offers various recommendations for this segment to grow including a dedicated national policy 
  • The challenge is integrating BIPV within the historical heritage of the Italian cities 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) Photovoltaic Power System Programme (IEA PVPS) believes Italy holds a significant potential to expand the use of building integrated PV (BIPV) to help the country achieve its 80 GW solar PV target by 2030. 

It makes these assertions in its new report titled Analysis of the Technological Innovation System for BIPV in Italy published as a Technical Report from Task 15 Enabling Framework for the Development of BIPV. 

Current scenario  

Thanks to the incentive mechanisms under a supportive feed-in-tariff (FIT) law from 2005 to 2013, Italy saw an installation of over 2.5 GW BIPV capacity. However, the pace slowed down after the end of the FIT era, only for the market to pick up slightly from 2017. 

Analysts point out that the technology knowhow still exists in the market with those who worked during past FIT era, but now there is a need for specific support for it lest the existing knowledge is lost. 

Interest in this technology remains alive despite the lack of enough regulatory support as there has been a significant increase of patent applications during the years of the Innovative BIPV FIT Law (2010-2013). It was due to the requirement of an EU patent on the mounting system of the so-called Innovative Special Components, they explain. 

For instance, patent applications for particular tiles started to increase in early 2000s, before the Innovative FIT Scheme of 2010-2013. Nonetheless, the higher costs of certifications led to a decrease in the same. The BIPV industry mostly comprises specialized BIPV manufacturers as part of a larger industrial group with a focus on small tiles for historical cities, and niche producers of glass-glass BIPV modules. The construction industry, as well as research centers and universities are also part of the network. 

Over the last few years, the IEA PVPS report also counts patent applications to have been submitted for custom products such as design, glass-glass modules and brise-soleil systems. 

Around 45% of these applications refer to the residential sector, while 20% for the industrial segment. The latter mostly relates to special components and flexible modules on a metal sheet, and sometimes with the scope of substituting asbestos and/or to create skylights in industrial buildings.  

“The number of applications and granted patents reflect the past booming market and the market recovery in 2017, with new products in the last few years,” reads the report. “PV industry, the first engaged in BIPV years ago, is pushing to increase/develop knowledge in order to exploit their existing products or to develop prototypes, together with universities and research centres.” 


Despite this continued momentum, albeit slow, dissemination in universities is sometimes not enough to create complete awareness of a BIPV module as a building element. At the same time, there isn’t in-depth knowledge of the technical characteristics of BIPV in local public administration, thus limiting its implementation prospects. 

With the end of the FIT Law, most of the construction industry has exited the BIPV domain with building applied PV (BAPV) gaining preference. 

At the same time, while there exists support for BIPV at the regional level to achieve renewable energy targets, there are no friendly policies or targets at the national level. 

High product costs and lack of financial backing, combined with lack of awareness, are also impediments to its growth that can contribute to national PV targets. 


To harness the potential of BIPV, IEA PVPS analysts stress on finding a specific place for BIPV in national regulation. They explain, “This would help to overcome the issue that designers/architects/engineers usually propose to “add” the PV system to the roof but don’t even take it into consideration the opportunities that the project could offer.” 

With something like a BIPV label measure, the real estate value of buildings/apartments will get a boost. Local public administrators too need to be trained for it to be a seamless process, according to the various stakeholders interviewed for this report. 

Pointing to the significance of standardization and certification, the report recommends to grant support to cover part of product certification costs and/patent fees, especially for small producers of niche products such as BIPV tiles. They also want financial institutes to be more active in this market with new business models.  

Stakeholders also ask for product standardization as a key for BIPV deployment, according to the report writers. However, they wonder if this will or should apply to the integration of BIPV in historical buildings that Italy is full of saying ‘it is related on one side to technology, on the other, the language of architecture. This question is the cornerstone for BIPV development in Italy and it opens to further analysis.’ 

The complete report is available for free viewing on IEA PVPS website. 

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Senior News Editor: Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. --Email : [email protected] --

Subscribe To Newsletter

Latest Videos