- portal for building integrated photovoltaics


Every part of the building envelope exposed to direct sunlight is suitable for integrating a photovoltaic system. Please refer to the Orientation section for information on orientation.


Building façades have major potential as suitable surfaces. Solar technology can be used on any kind of façade (cold, warm, double façades). With regard to the incident angle of solar radiation, façades are not ideally oriented, which entails lower electricity yield. But even if installed vertically and facing south, it is still possible to obtain almost ¾ of the solar radiation compared with the optimal orientation (south-facing inclination of approx. 35°).
Figure 1: PV integration on different types of façade

Source: IEA PVPS


An inclined roof – ideally a south-facing pitched roof (i.e. with only one slope) – is particularly well suited to integrating PV modules. Note that roof structures or installations penetrating the roof covering may cause shading and thus diminish yield. In this case, special attention must be given to correct connection with the inverters. If the slope of the roof is shallower, south-east or south-west facing roof surfaces are also suitable.

On sawtooth roofs, semitransparent modules can be used to implement sunshading and, at the same time, to allow sufficient light to enter the building (source: WM Baden-Württemberg).
Figure 2: PV integration on different types of roof

Source: IEA PVPS

Sunshading and roofing elements

Exterior shading elements offer good conditions for installing PV modules. These structures, that are usually ideally oriented and effectively ventilated, can achieve maximum solar yield.
Figure 3: PV integration on different types of sunshading elements

Source: IEA PVPS

In photovoltaic modules in roofing elements the modules are visible from inside and, depending on how they cast shadows, define the interior atmosphere.
Figure 4: PV integration on different types of roofing elements

Source: IEA PVPS

Figure 5: Roof covering of an interior space, the Netherlands

Source: bear 2009

Last page update: 08.02.2011