Building integrated solar may move beyond niche in 5 years

Summary:By 2016, Lux Research predicts that installed capacity for building integrated photovoltaics technology will surpass 1 gigawatt.

A report from cleantech research firm Lux Rearch suggests that so-called building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology -- solar generation platforms that aren't necessarily confined to panel forms -- could climb to 1 gigawatt of installed capacity by 2016.

The report, "Building Integrated Photovoltaics: Moving Beyond Showcase Projects," predicts that the inclusion of BIPV technologies in European net-zero energy building projects will lead the charge. We're talking about all manner of formats, here, from roofing to siding to windows. The European specifications associated with those building and construction standards could inspire up to 6.6 gigawatts in BIPV by 2021, according to the report.

Noted Lux Research analyst Aditya Ranade:

"Over the past five years, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified and net-zero energy buildings, which mandate on-site electricity generation -- a trend that is likely to drive the adoption of BIPV. Combining energy efficiency and energy generation features is enabling installers to access multiple incentives such as peak-demand reduction and solar investment tax credit, thereby resulting in broader cost savings."

The report concludes that Europe will inspire the most installed BIPV projects in the near term, with approximately 105 megawatts of installed capacity anticipated by the end of this year. The United States is right behind with 103 megawatts. But Europe's growth will far outstrip that of the United States within the next two years, according to the predictions.

Although, if I might editorialize a bit, I sort of question what impact the deepening economic turmoil within the European Union might have on investments such as these.

Topics: EU

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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