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BIPV changing the future of solar energy

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The standard, changing the future of solar energy

New European standard EN 50583 determining the parameters of BIPV, the solar power plants integrated with buildings, takes effect in November 2016. Though, at present, the BIPV market share comprises no more than 1%, EN 5083 can change the situation resulting in the boost in building-integrated photovoltaics and change the appearance of modern cities forever.     

One needs return in the past for a little to understand what constitutes BIPV in order to determine the extent of the influence that a new standard has on the industry. At the first time, the term “BIPV” appeared in 1970, when the photovoltaic systems reinforced with aluminium started to be integrated with ledges and roofs of buildings. That time the economic viability of building-integrated photovoltaics was lower than the economic viability of typical solar power plants. However, the development of photovoltaic technologies during past years increased their efficiency. The key difference between BIPV and other kinds of solar power plants is that BIPV elements become the integral part of the building, replacing some engineering structures and construction materials. New standard shall regulate this particularity.

Building integrated solar power plants are mounted traditionally on flat and lean-to roofs and are integrated with frontages or elements of glazing: domes, glass roofs, floor-to-ceiling windows. As a rule, BIPV systems are represented by one type of solar panels:

  • Monocrystalline silicon panels for mounting on roofs.
  • Flexible membrane amorphous silicon-based solar module.
  • Crystalline double-glazed photovoltaic modules.

The adoption of the BIPV standard needed more than five years. At present, the approval of its versions by England, France and Germany takes place. The main particularity of the standard is that it details the parameters and the definitions of BIPV, having likened them to usual construction materials.


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