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Power windows. Building-integrated photovoltaics

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1 Author(s)
Strong, S.J. ; Solar Design Associates Inc., Harvard, MA, USA

The author describes how the market for building-integrated photovoltaic systems (BIPV) could be enormous, and many companies are beginning to develop and commercialize specialized BIPV components and systems. Residential and commercial demand will probably be the nearest-term large-scale markets in developed countries. Homes and commercial buildings have a lot of surface area, allowing architects and system designers to displace the cost of conventional materials and labor onto photovoltaic substitutes. Moreover, BIPV produce power at the point of use, eliminating much of the cost and losses of its transmission and distribution. Finally, a building powered in this way trumpets its owners' environmental philosophy and commitment to the world at large. As the technology has moved out of the research laboratory and into commercial applications involving architects and building engineers, it has assumed a progressively more sophisticated, elegant and appropriate shape. BIPV components that take the place of conventional building materials become part of the form and esthetic of the structure, as well as part of a more sustainable future for their owners, for their communities, and for society in general

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:33 ,  Issue: 10 )