Building-Integrated Solar Power: The Next Phase of Solar Power Systems

Solar energy systems have exceedingly positive impacts on our future world. Solar panel solutions are being designed regularly to increase aesthetic appeal, energy generation, and sustainability.

The latest step in solar energy consumption is building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), or building-integrated solar panels. BIPVs are functional solar components that replace traditional building materials in areas like the roof or facade of the building itself. As with all solar panel technology, BIPVs greatly reduce your carbon footprint while also lowering your electric bill.

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Stanford scientists’ machine learning algorithm detected 1.47 million solar rooftop installations in the USA. (Image:

BIPV materials present a new and unique offering to consumers. With BIPVs, you will be able to install solar technology within the structure of the building itself. The most common locations to use BIPV materials are the rooftop, the facade of the building, and skylights.


Solar panel technology is always advancing. One of the most notable evolutions taking place is in the newly available solar roofing options. With solar roofing options, you can have the structure of the roof itself be composed of solar panels instead of traditional roofing materials.

There are two main types of solar-integrated roofing components. The first type is single-piece solar panels composed of laminated glass, and the second option is solar shingles that can be used in place of regular roofing shingles.

Solar roofing shingles are a useful piece of technology. In traditional solar panel installation, solar panels are installed on top of the existing roof. With solar roofing shingles, the solar components can act as the roof itself.

Using solar roofing shingles means the roof itself will be a solar collector, adding solar consumption capabilities to the structural integrity of the house. Solar roofing shingles are already on the market and available for purchase, with Tesla solar panel roof shingles being a preferred brand.

Roofing materials that have solar energy capabilities have significant implications for the future of energy consumption. With solar roofing materials, you can build a specially designed house to run off of clean energy.


Another commonplace to find BIPVs is in the facade of a building. The face of a newly constructed building could employ solar module technology, making the entire building act as a clean energy generator.

With such a large surface area of solar technology, the renewable energy that is created could reach very high proportions and provide for many energy consumption needs. Also, using solar panels on the facade of a building gives the user more potential to create an aesthetically pleasing look. 


Glazing refers to installing semi-transparent solar modules in areas typically made up of glass, like windows or skylights. Solar panels for this usage must be semi-transparent thin-film or crystalline to retain the functionality of a window. When considering this type of BIPV, it is important to consider the location.

BIPVs installed to replace or cover windows will receive less direct sunlight than if they were placed on the roof. Less direct sunlight will result in less energy generation for your home or business. However, if these panels were to be installed on large buildings or skyscrapers, they would be able to cover a larger surface area and make up the difference for reduced energy generation.

BIPVs can also be implemented in skylights through the use of ultra-thin solar cells. Skylights are designed to direct sunlight energy to the inside of a building, so replacing the material with BIPV means you will generate energy as you absorb light.

The Future of BIPV

BIPV is a relatively new advancement in the solar community, and it is an asset commonly directed toward new construction. For example, most building-integrated solar systems are part of the initial architectural design and construction of a home or building.

They are built into the structure from the ground up. However, you can choose to retrofit your home or building to implement BIPV technology if you wish. This is called building-added photovoltaics (BAPV) because the solar components were added after initial construction and not integrated from the start.

Factors to Consider

BIPVs have pros and cons that should be considered when going solar. To determine if BIPV technology is right for you, it’s essential that you do your research and reach out to a solar consultant if necessary.

Every individual has different energy needs and budgetary constraints, so discussing your options in detail is the best way to ensure you find a system that works for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of BIPVs. For any further questions and concerns, don’t hesitate to contact a solar provider near you!

Advantages of BIPV

The advantages of BIPVs are numerous. They create a system of clean energy for your home or business while greatly reducing your carbon footprint. BIPVs can help keep you off the electrical grid, lowering your electricity bill and increasing your grid independence. With new technology like BIPVs, you can create an aesthetically pleasing look for your home or business.

You can achieve the desired look through both initial constructions or retrofitting post-construction. BIPVs also give you the option to install solar panels anywhere. If your roof is not stable enough to withstand a solar panel installation, you can use BIPVs in areas like skylights or the building’s facade.

Disadvantages of BIPV

BIPVs present a long list of advantages for consumers, but let’s also consider the potential cons. Environmental factors can be a disadvantage of BIPVs and solar panel technology in general. Shaded areas may reduce or limit your solar energy production, high temperatures can result in heat degradation, and high levels of pollution may require frequent cleanings.

Professional cleaning of solar panels can get expensive, especially if you have a large area of BIPVs like in the facade of the building.

In solar roofing shingles, like with the Tesla solar panel roof shingles, you have less flexibility in installation because the shingles are acting as both the roof itself and the solar system. This means that you may have to install solar roofing shingles in a direction that is not optimal for sunlight collection and therefore lowers your usable energy output. Also, installation costs for BIPVs can be expensive as there is a lengthy process involving interconnected wires that must take place.

Keep in mind that while BIPVs lessen your use of electricity from the grid, to be totally self-sufficient you will need to invest in solar battery storage solutions. This will be another added cost.

Future of BIPV

BIPVs are becoming an important part of our world’s future as more areas design buildings with BIPVs in mind. In Manchester, England, the CIS Tower was built from solar PV panels. The energy this building collects feeds into the national grid, lessening the overall stress on the grid itself.

BIPVs are a step in the right direction for the future of energy consumption. If more buildings are constructed with integrated solar modules, the positive environmental impact will be enormous. As solar technology continues to provide new, updated solutions, we come even closer to a world founded on clean, green, renewable energy.

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