BIPV is a photovoltaic technology that is integrated in the building structures primarily during construction. It is fairly less detrimental to the environment and generates electricity at lower cost than conventional power generating plants. BIPV integration curtails the overall construction cost by a substantial amount. Integration of BIPV products commonly includes rooftop, curtain wall and BIPV window. Zero energy building policy, strictly practiced in the U.S. and European countries, has been achieved effectively through the assistance of BIPV products. These BIPV have seen a great amount of growth in recent years in various construction activities.
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Due to their high efficiencies and lower costs as compared to other technologies, first generation technologies such as C-Si technology are experiencing great demand from construction industry. Silicon forms one of the primary raw materials utilized in manufacturing C-Si BIPV modules. Evolution of second and third generation BIPV technologies coupled with abundant availability of silicon in the nature has led to significant drop in the C-Si BIPV module prices. Lower raw material cost makes C-Si technology less expensive than others. Hence, the demand for C-Si technology is expected to boom over coming few years. Second generation technologies are having higher efficiencies as compare to first generation technologies and it include thin film technologies. Amount of flexibility and ease in integration offered by the thin film technology are likely to attract more consumers hence, driving the growth of thin film technology segment. Third generation technologies such as OPV and DSC are still under the development phase. Knowing the potential of this segment the companies such as Dyesol are focusing continuously on the third generation technologies.
BIPV market is segmented based on end-user applications such as commercial, residential and industrial. New norms and regulations regarding the use of renewable energy and subsidies over solar energy are together driving the growth of commercial end-use segment for BIPV market. Laws such as Renewable Energy Law 2006 in China are driving the growth of renewable energy in commercial sector. Hence, commercial segment is anticipated to maintain the highest share to the BIPV end-user market by annual installations in 2019. Growing Asian population and initiatives by governments are creating new opportunities for BIPV in residential sector. However, industrial end-use is expected to grow at slower rate as compare to others.
Strict regulatory policies, FIT rates, accompanied by retrofitting and financial incentive schemes in Europe have propelled the product demand. Eastern European countries are dominating the BIPV market. However, western European countries, Asia Pacific and RoW are expected to become emerging regions for BIPV market. The North American region is witnessing peak energy demands while, peak shaving activity is becoming popular. Peak shaving is the process to reduce the amount of energy purchased during peak hour (noon to 6:00 p.m.). BIPV products are expected to supply energy in peak hours for commercial and residential end-uses.
First Solar Inc., Ascent Solar Technologies Inc, Pythagoras Solar Ltd, Sapa Solar and Centrosolar AG are expected to dominate the BIPV market. These companies accounted for more than 40% of the global market share in terms of revenue in 2012. However, upsurge of third generation technology coupled with innovative structures (walkable BIPV) are paving way for BIPV market.