Building Integrated Photovoltaics: Benefits, Drawbacks & Cost of BIPV

Everything You Need to Know about Building Integrated Photovoltaics in 2022

The future of solar, from battery-less solar to solar-powered cars, and eventually, sending solar power to Earth, is bright. 

The future for this renewable source of energy is bright, and it’s only going to get brighter. One of the next steps toward environmentally-friendly progress is to integrate photovoltaic solar systems into our homes, workplaces, and streets.

Innovations in technology have completely changed the way the world is thinking about electricity. We are now able to generate our own electricity and control how we use it. 

This is thanks to the developments in solar power, and the increase in solar panels. The technology is now so advanced that we can now create integrated photovoltaics. In the upcoming years, it is predicted that there will be a huge increase in the demand for Building Integrated Photovoltaics.

The below research report from Grand View Research clearly demonstrates the growing compounded annual growth rate of BIPV technology in the United States.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics Market Cap

In this blog post, we are going to share a detailed guide on BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics) including types of BIPV (location-based choices), benefits & applications.


What is BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics)?

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) is the term for a system of building materials and design strategies used to create buildings that generate clean and renewable energy using photovoltaic cells. 

These cells are located on either the building’s surface (solar panels), on a structural element (roof), or embedded into the building’s structure (e.g., windows). 

Increasingly, BIPV is being realized to be a viable method of optimizing the energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings. In order to realize the benefits of BIPV, the design and construction of buildings must be considered simultaneously.

Solar cells are evident in the below image from Distributed Energy Architecture, which can be seen on surfaces and structures including roof-tops, walls, sunshades, etc. These all are a type of building-integrated photovoltaics.

Types of BIPV

Types of BIPV Choices

There are a variety of BIPV technologies that can be used in building applications. BIPV can reduce the amount of energy needed to operate a building due to the natural insulation properties. 

These technologies can be used in several different ways in building applications. The four most common ways to use BIPV in building applications are:

  1. Facades
  2. Windows & Overhead Glazing
  3. Roofs
  4. Sunshades
Building Integrated Photovoltaics Choices
Image Source: Research Gate

01. PV Facades

Photovoltaic Facades are solar panels attached to the surface (or faces) of a building. They are a building integrated photovoltaic technology and can be used as a sustainable solution to a variety of projects.

Photovoltaic Facades

They are similar to those used on the roofs of buildings and can be used in a variety of different commercial buildings, including offices, residential buildings, hotels, or any other building.

In the above image, you can clearly see the usage of Solar facades. These are installed on the faces of buildings where the most amount of sunlight hits.

02. Windows & Overhead Glazings

In offices & commercial buildings, you might have seen large windows & overhead glazings. These are made to enter light across the building. 

However, these surfaces can also be used to install solar panels that look almost like glass & at the same time convert sunlight into electricity.

In our previous post, I talked about transparent solar panels that seem to be a good fit in overhead glazings and windows where normal glass is used. These glass-like panels are also used for passive solar heating.


03. Roofs

The integration of solar panels in the roof is one of the most cost-effective ways to add solar energy to a building. 

However, it’s important to make sure that your roof is strong enough to support the weight of the additional materials, and that the solar panels are installed correctly.

There are various ways in which solar panels can be installed as per the type of rooftops. It can be flat, inclined or atrium type. 

Apart from this, you may also use Solar shingles that come in triangular & hexagonal shapes.

04. Sunshades

Solar cells are becoming more popular as a way to cut down on electricity costs, but they are also commonly used in many different areas. The use of solar cells in shades of a building is one such area.

The solar panels of a smaller size can be fixed to the sunshade areas like above the window or the parking space. In this way, they can help you generate a good amount of electricity on a sunny day.

Benefits of BIPV Technology

Building Integrated Photovoltaics is an innovative and sustainable way to generate electricity from the sun. The technology has many benefits, including the ability to produce electricity as well as provide heat when needed.

Some more benefits of BIPV are:

  • BIPV technology can generate more energy than conventional solar panels and requires less space.
  • Integrated photovoltaics are an environment-friendly technology, as they do not pollute the environment.
  • The use of BIPV creates a positive impact on your organization – if you are using it in the building or in your company.

Related: 21 Surprising Benefits of Adopting Solar Energy

Drawbacks of BIPV Technology

There are a few drawbacks to designing buildings with BIPV technology. The most common disadvantage is the cost of the system. The cost of the system is determined by the amount of energy that the system can produce and the amount of energy that the building needs. 

Some buildings need a lot of energy and some buildings need just enough to function. Additionally, the design of the building is also affected by the BIPV technology. The BIPV system is found on a roof and it requires space. It also requires a lot of space to withstand strong wind.

Other major drawbacks include weather dependency, longer return on investment, less efficiency, etc.



The terms Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) and Building Applied Photovoltaics (BAPV) are often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same.

BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics) involves changing the existing surface of buildings with solar cells while BAPV (Building Applied Photovoltaics) involves applying solar technology during the construction of the building.

Cost of Building Integrated Photovoltaics

Building Integrated Photovoltaic Systems (BIPVS) is a design approach used in the construction of buildings that integrates photovoltaic solar panels into the building design. There are two types of BIPVS: fixed and movable. 

A fixed installation is incorporated into the roof of a building and is designed to be permanent, while a movable installation is designed as a type of roof fixture and is designed to be removed and relocated as needed.

The cost of BIPV technology varies as per the use case, for e.g. installation of solar modules sized at 3kW to 8kW can cost anywhere from $9,255 and $28,000 in total installation costs. 

In the same way, the cost of other choices varies as per efficiency, location, space cover & several other factors.


Final Words

In this blog post, we have tried our best to cover everything you need to know about Building Integrated Photovoltaics. It includes their benefits, drawbacks, type of installation choices & a brief comparison of BIPV vs BAPV.

It’s time for you to try out the BIPV!

Do share your experience with BIPV in the comments section & appreciate our efforts by sharing this post with others!

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