solarfassade.info - portal for building integrated photovoltaics

Architects’ partners

Construction of a building-integrated PV system involves several different trades, with the various firms falling into the categories listed below. As a general contractor, companies can offer several or even all services. Companies with reference BIPV projects can be found in the Directory of service providers.

Cell manufacturers

They manufacture the solar cells for crystalline modules in the appropriate size, shape, colour and transparency and deliver them to the module manufacturers.

Module manufacturers

The module manufacturer wires up the solar cells depending on the desired module power. Then these solar cell strings are encapsulated in photovoltaic modules to protect them from the weather, moisture and mechanical stress. Module manufacturers offer:
  • Standard modules with off-the-peg design, dimensions and specifications
  • Special modules, manufactured to individual specifications regarding design and appearance.

System technology providers

They manufacture the necessary electrotechnical system components such as inverter, junction boxes, cables, etc. The most important element of the system technology in grid-connected systems is the inverter. It must be chosen to suit the power of the photovoltaic system.

Specialist planners and fitters

Specialist planners advise customers with regard to system design, choice of components, electrical wiring, and shading/yield analysis. Fitters install the system. When the PV system is structurally integrated, which usually takes place at the same time the conventional envelope elements are assembled, the modules are also wired up. Cable routing inside the building should be particularly carefully co-ordinated in good time between the electrical fitter and the trades responsible for interior finishing. Often they are dealers licensed by standard module manufacturers.

Assembly system providers

These are usually identical to manufacturers of roof and façade structures for conventional envelope materials. Their systems can often be used with no or minor modifications for assembly of photovoltaic modules.

The following diagram shows possible constellations of co-operation:
Figure 1:

Source: WM Baden Württemberg

Last page update: 25.01.2011