- portal for building integrated photovoltaics

Advantages of BIPV

Photovoltaics is direct conversion of solar radiation into electrical power. Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) combines this form of ecofriendly energy generation with modern architecture.

In addition to generating energy, “multi-talented” BIPV can also fulfil a host of other functions:


With the aid of semi-transparent PV modules it is possible to control the amount of incident daylight and thus the degree of thermal radiation. This impacts favourably on the building’s internal climate as well as lighting conditions. This can lead to a reduction in cooling energy demand.

Figure 1: Forecourt roof in Ludesch, Vorarlberg

Source: HEI Consulting GmbH

Thermal insulation

The PV module has a thermal insulation effect as it consists of several layers and heats up during the process of photovoltaic energy conversion. PV modules integrated in a building’s envelope (e.g. roof, façade) can therefore reduce a building’s heat loss.

Noise protection

Multi-layered PV modules can be used in façades to achieve higher noise insulation levels (the sound reduction index of an average double-glazing module is 25 decibels). PV modules can also be an integral part of a noise barrier as multifunctional elements (shading, energy generation).

Figure 2: Noise barrier with integrated PV modules, Vienna

Source: City of Vienna 2009


Solar cells can be embedded in laminated glass. Laminated glass affords greater protection against burglary or vandalism and can also act as an alarm system (breaking the glass causes the module’s electrical contacts to break).

Electromagnetic Screening

PV modules attenuate electromagnetic waves. As a result, PV modules can help shield areas particularly susceptible to electromagnetic interference, for example in hospitals.

Aesthetics - image boost

The wide range of colours, forms, sizes, transparency and applications permits a host of design options with PV modules. Innovative architecture combines with sustainable energy generation. Buildings with integrated photovoltaics communicate the forward-looking attitude of their planners, builders and occupants with regard to architecture and ecology.
Figure 3: Gym at Burgweinting primary school

Source: Peter Ferstl

Figure 4: Functional sketch of the PV façade of Burgweinting primary school

Source: energiebericht 2007

Last page update: 28.02.2011