• IEA PVPS has published a new report under its Task 15 focused on measures to improve BIPV uptake
  • Lack of knowledge about BIPV methods and models, mainly due to lack of detailed research aligned with its practical application is a big obstacle
  • Report writers recommend further R&D for BIPV design and analysis with focus on digital tools, especially in an urban setting to increase its acceptance

A new report from the International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (IEA PVPS) under its Task 15 explores the complexities surrounding building integrated PV (BIPV) projects and stresses on increased use of digitalization within the segment to increase its uptake.

Sharing results of a survey targeting 10 professional groups in the BIPV industry in Europe, Asia, Oceania, North America and Europe in its report titled BIPV Digitalization: Design Workflows and Methods—A Global Survey 2022, the IEA PVPS points out the concern areas that impede its acceptance globally.

The report identifies methods, approaches and workflows in BIPV design and analysis under 4 key areas of solar irradiation, BIPV power output, building performance, and financial and design outcome.

For the survey, the report writers spoke to 80 professionals including architects, façade engineers, electrical engineers, fire engineers, design consultants, academia, developers among others. They found ‘a lack of awareness among the respondents on the methods and models used to estimate POA, power output, embodied emissions, heat island impact, thermal, daylighting, structural and fire requirements of BIPV projects’.

Impact of shading level becomes all the more significant to consider for this segment unlike conventional PV, since shading needs to be considered at the micro, mezzo or macro levels as well.

Stressing on the need to conduct further research and development in these methods for BIPV design and analysis, the report also bats for a BIPV specific software or a design process to improve the uptake of efficient and cost-effective projects in this space.

Such a software should factor in BIPV product database, BIPV system design documentation, shading on BIPV projects, embodied energy in BIPV, customer requirements and decision support models.

Taking the help of such information database and further investigation, IEA PVPS believes designers and end users can get a comprehensive knowledge of feasibility of these applications especially in an urban setting.

“Due to the cross-functional nature of BIPV as a building material and an electro-technical device, there’s a need to improve the knowledge and awareness of both the AEC industry and BIPV industry professionals on the BIPV design and analysis methods and workflow,” reads the report. “Therefore, there’s a need for a streamlined process or workflow for BIPV digital design and analysis.”

Complete report can be viewed for free from IEA PVPS website.