Building the future

The market for Building Integrated Photovoltaics (“BIPV”) is forecast to grow from US$2.4 billion in 2014 to nearly US$6 billion by 2017 and almost US$23 billion by 2021. It is likely that the market will be worth substantially more as the various technologies develop…incorporating PV technology into the fabric of buildings will generate significant energy savings, and avoid the need for the bulky and unattractive solar panels that currently dominate the market.

Dubai Frame with PV tiles

Ambitious buildings like the iconic Dubai Frame which is clad in gold-coloured PV glass from Onyx Solar, highlight the potential of BIPV. The building consists of two 150 metre towers, each 9 3 metres wide, connected with a 100 square metre bridge. The structure is clad with 1,200m2 amorphous silicon photovoltaic glass with a transparency level of 20% and a peak installed power capacity of 38 kW.

Less iconic, but still innovative is the UK’s first solar-powered bus stop, just round the corner from me in London’s Canary Wharf (pictured above). The bus stop can generate up to 2,000 kWh of electricity per year and is used to power smart signs and other infrastructure on the Canary Wharf estate. Designed by UK solar company Polysolar, the technology has 6-12% conversion efficiency depending on the film’s level of transparency, and operates in low and ambient light.

The future really is bright!



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