4 August 2010


Emerging building-integrated photovoltaics market accelerates

After years of being confined to niche markets, the BIPV solar sector is poised for rapid expansion, according to GTM Research’s latest report ‘Building-Integrated Photovoltaics: An Emerging Market’, which maps the global BIPV solar landscape from current and projected market opportunity to technology evolution, supplier portfolios and the sector's innate design challenges.

Impelled by maturing energy-efficiency codes, lucrative feed-in tariffs and supply-side product development, BIPV players are experiencing demand for a new array of BIPV solar components, including shingles, curtain walls and flexible panels for roofs and windows.

For the BIPV industry, which to date has been specialized, there is a pressing need for broader understanding of its scaling opportunity, the market research firm says. The technology’s development (which has historically been spearheaded in European countries such as France and Germany where bankable feed-in tariffs have spurred initial BIPV build-out) is beginning to push globally, exemplified by the commissioning of the world’s largest BIPV project (at 6.68MW) in China in July.

According to GTM Research, the installed capacity of PV on the whole is forecasted to reach more than 20GW globally by 2013 (equating to about US$60bn in revenue), and the cost of PV panels is projected to fall to US$1.20/W by that same date. This sustained boost for the overall PV industry will have an enormous spillover effect on the commercial opportunity for BIPV as engineering, construction and design companies avail themselves of PV’s economic viability in the face of mounting energy-efficiency demands, says the firm.

“The BIPV solar market’s grasp is finally meeting its reach thanks to both significant cost reductions over the past two years and product development that is enabling seamless integration of PV into the building envelope,” comments Philip Drachman, a solar PV industry expert and the report’s author.

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