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Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) technology projects picking up in India

Moser Baer India Ltd. recently said last month that its Engineering Procurement Construction arm had commissioned a unique building integrated photovoltaic or BIPV technology led solar application in Hyderabad.

The commissioning of BIPV application in India heralds the arrival of this new age technology which would allow commercial buildings to increase the use of renewable source energy in aesthetic manner.

BIPV technology provides unique opportunities to convert glass windows, front facades, exteriors and other building integrated applications into solar panels, which will directly capture sunlight and covert them into power.

BIPV is a part of the PV industry but due to its possible usage as a building product, it is also seen as part of the ‘green building’ movement.

According to a report, the global market of BIPV was valued at 1201 MW in 2010, and is expected to increase at a 56 per cent CAGR to reach a capacity of 11,392 MW in 2015. In India, Moser Baer is implementing four BIPV projects in the near future.

According to reports, new solar application, which is based on building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology, is now being used in India, and companies like Moser Baer Solar Ltd and Tata BP Solar have commissioned projects based on this technology.

Although the solar panels are more expensive than the materials commonly used in construction of buildings, but by avoiding the cost of the conventional building materials, the incremental cost of PV modules is reduced. “Also, BIPV systems often have lower costs than PV systems, as they do not require dedicated, mounting systems,” says KN Subramaniam, chief executive, PV systems business, Moser Baer Solar Ltd.

BIPV solar panels may cost 25-30 per cent more than glass panels, but over the years this cost will be recovered as these panels will also generate power for the building.

Moser Baer has recently used this technology and converted the exterior façade of the Jubilee Hills shopping complex in Hyderabad into solar panels and erected a 1.8 kWp solar application. The company is leading the Indian BIPV journey because of design team capacity. “These panels will generate electricity to meet the power requirements in the shopping complex,” says KN Subramaniam.

Tata BP Solar has also used BIPV technology at the Samudra Institute of Maritime Studies in Pune. This will satisfy the institute’s power requirements internally, mitigating the problems of erratic and poor quality of power supply.

“PV applications are no longer standalone solar panels, but could be a combination of sun and structures that lead to opportunities to convert windows, exteriors and other integrated applications into solar panels in a commercially viable manner. This thin film module system will help in increasing the utilisation of solar energy as a mainstream source of energy,” informs KN Subramaniam.

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