Solar panels are one of the critical pieces of equipment you need for a sustainable building. If your business relies on working during the daytime, chances are that’s when you need the most amount of electricity too.
One way you can utilize the free energy from the sun is by adding a Building Integrated Photovoltaic System (BIPV) to your structure. BIPV systems’ increasing popularity is a result of the ever-growing demand for more renewable energy sources. In this article, you’ll learn more about the BIPV system and how that’ll benefit your business’ sustainability targets.
What is a Solar Panel?
Before diving deep into the BIPV system, you must understand how solar panels function. Solar panels are a device that generates electricity through several Photovoltaic (PV) cells joined together in a single panel. The PV cell contains small semiconductors, usually made of Silicon, and it’s responsible for converting solar radiation to electricity.
Each panel only generates about 250w to 400w of power, depending on its efficiency and size. Combining numerous solar panels can create enough electricity to equal or surpass your usage.
How are Solar Panels Installed?
You’ve probably seen rectangular solar panel modules installed on top of roofs. These are called BAPV (Building Applied Photovoltaics).
What makes the traditional BAPV so attractive to most people is that you can install them on many roofs without renovating the underlying structure. All you’ll have to do is find the studs in your building’s cover, drill into it, mount the railings, and then mount the solar panels.
The BAPV system is sufficient for many people since it generates the necessary electricity. They focus solely on the wiring utilities required to run the system and decide if they want to have a stand-alone system or tie it to the electric grid.
However, you may be planning to use a solar system for the entire lifespan of your next construction. Maybe there is a more innovative way for you to integrate solar panels while reducing labor and material costs. Enter the BIPV.
What Makes the BIPV Different?
A BIPV system, also known as the Building Integrated Photovoltaic system, replaces some conventional exterior building materials for solar panels. You incorporate the solar panel into the facade of your structure instead of installing it through modules once the construction finishes.
Why Would I use the BIPV Over the BAPV?
One of the benefits of the BIPV is that you can use it in many types of buildings. From walkway roofs to office windows, the external protection you used to get from these can now serve as an additional benefit of generating your electricity too.
Another benefit is that because you integrate these solar panels into the design of the building, it doesn’t end up costing you additional space and support structure to hold the solar panels in place.
Lastly, BAPV solar panels can make your building look like not much thought went into the design process. However, you can rely on architects to ensure that the BIPV solar panel placement looks like it belongs to your building.
What Else Do I Need To Keep In Mind?
- Consider Thermal Performance
You’ll need to rely on the solar panel to keep the sun’s heat out of your building. If your area regularly experiences a lot of sunlight and heat, you may need to increase the workload on your air conditioning system to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.
Regular BAPV solar panels are less susceptible to this issue, as they are usually opaque, thus adding to the thermal insulation of your building.
- Solar Panel Ventilation
Another aspect you must remember with the BIPV system is to ensure an air gap behind the panel. It would be best if you had this air gap to promote the proper airflow to the solar modules and ensure it stays within the recommended operating temperature.
Once your solar panels exceed the operating temperatures, electrical generation efficiency declines. So, to maximize your investment, it’s best to keep your solar panels cool.
- Regularly Scheduled Maintenance
A BIPV system adds to the complexity of your electrical lines. It would help if you kept the underlying infrastructure accessible for rapid maintenance. One way to make maintenance easier is by adding adjustable and removable access doors that’ll allow you to check your power inverters regularly.
In addition, scheduled cleaning for the solar panels is another thing you need. The less debris that’s covering your solar panels, the better they are at generating electricity.
Be A Part of the Eco-Friendly Revolution Today!
While the upfront investment for an excellent solar power system is high, you must consider the cost-benefit it’ll bring over its entire lifespan. You can expect solar panels to serve you for decades with proper maintenance. Thus, installing a BIPV system into your building can be the way you reach your sustainability goals.