Distinctive tariffs and increasing awareness about their benefits are the main drivers of demand for Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). However, more suitable and standardized products are required in the market. Decline and withdrawal of incentives in the near future will be the main challenge for industry participants.
Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned revenues of €1,297.7 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach €2,698.1 million in 2016.
“The European BIPV market is growing rapidly due to regions like France and Italy which provide added incentives to consumers to adopt this technology in their homes,” notes Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Neetha Jayanth. “In addition, markets like Germany have not given into the pressures of recession and have, in fact, surpassed expected growth, auguring well for the adoption of BIPV.”
Smaller markets like the United Kingdom and Alpine countries are also poised to grow due to the special tariffs available for BIPV. The future offers good prospects for BIPV, provided legislative incentives continue.
In an effort to meet the energy targets set by the European Union (EU), member states are trying to increasingly adopt renewable energy, especially in buildings. The Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD, 2002/91/EC) and its recast in May 2010 as well as the Renewable Energy Directive (2001/77/EC), require countries to reduce the energy consumption of buildings and increase the proportional usage of renewable energy.
“Integration of solar PV in buildings is one of the best available options that will serve this dual purpose,” explains Jayanth. “Member States have to submit their roadmaps for reducing consumption of energy in buildings by next year. While many of them are withdrawing or decreasing incentives, the EU directives may induce the introduction of amended regulations for new construction which will improve the BIPV market.”
Cost remains one of the key challenges to market growth. The high initial investment required for installing BIPV systems makes it a more expensive option to using grid-based electricity and traditional construction materials. Hence, the decision to integrate PV with buildings remains independent of construction and design choices. There needs to be greater symbiosis between the PV and the construction industry. This will not only increase awareness, but also embrace BIPV into the process of design and construction.
“Although the payback period on BIPV installations maybe long, it is a more sustainable solution with a long life cycle,” remarks Jayanth. “The hesitation in adopting these systems needs to be overcome through better awareness and increased usage in public buildings. It remains to be proved to the consumer that early adoption of such systems is beneficial in the long run.”
A wider range of products needs to be made available specifically for building integration. Planners in the construction industry--from the public authorities as well as the private sector--need to be made aware of these not just for their value as PV material, but also as alternate construction material. This needs to be done with the help of showcase development and adoption of updated building codes that have provisions for the usage of such material, without making it an external choice or a cumbersome process.
“There needs to be a focused awareness campaign both by PV manufacturers as well as local governments in order to instil awareness about BIPV as a building material among local installers, architects and homeowners,” concludes Jayanth. “Partnerships or working agreements with architects and construction companies may hasten BIPV’s adoption as a recognised building material by regulators.”
Further Information: Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com)
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