Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) Projects are the Only Viable Solution to Overcome Energy Deficits in the Country – notes Frost & Sullivan

By: | September 09 , 2021

India’s strategic geographical location enables it to tap the vast potential for solar power generation, with about 300 clear sunny days in a year. By 2050, about 69 percent of the electricity produced in India will come from renewables like solar energy.

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Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic materials used to replace conventional building materials (such as glass facades/panels, or aluminum cladding/structural glazing, and so on) in parts of the building envelope. The concept of BIPV is new and at a very nascent stage in India. BIPV are increasingly being used in buildings as a principal or alternate source of electricity. Moreover, there are buildings, which not only source power for internal use, but also feed electricity to the grid. BIPV are part of the PV industry, but due to their possible usage as building products, they are also seen as part of the ‘green building’ movement. In developed economies, the BIPV system is interfaced with the available utility grid; BIPV may also be used in standalone, off-grid systems, and are cost-effective.

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The costs of BIPV building envelope materials are more than the conventional building envelope materials that are commonly used in building construction. However, by replacing and avoiding the cost of the conventional materials and power generator, the incremental cost of the BIPV is reduced and their lifecycle cost is improved. That is, the cost of BIPV systems often has lower overall costs than PV systems that require separate dedicated mounting systems. Increase in technological advancements and innovative products, reduced customs duty on solar panels by 5 percent, and 100 percent excise duty exemption on solar photovoltaic panels have given rise to new business potential for solar market participants in India.

Currently, India does not have any infrastructure for raw material production for solar panels (polysilicon) and is entirely dependent on imports. On the technology part, crystalline silicon technology accounts for 90 percent of the market and the share of thin film technology is estimated at only about 10 percent. This is mainly because the efficiency level of thin film does not match with crystalline silicon and is unlikely to be used for large-scale solar power production in India.

Therefore, it is evident, the architecture best suitable for India would be individual rooftop power generation and BIPV systems, all connected to a local grid. However, erecting such infrastructure might be possible only in the future, because solar PV modules are projected to continue their cost reduction in the next decade. This will help reduce the cost of solar power produced in India and enable it to compete with fossil fuel-based power.

Greater acceptance of BIPV from the influencers (architects, decorators, and developers) in the construction sector and increase in awareness and willingness to integrate PV in their buildings is yet to gain momentum. Therefore, the customer has to be convinced by having a clear definition on the design, concept, and the need, which is possible when the design starts from the project inception stage and continues throughout the construction process.

India is currently facing a severe electricity deficit, amounting to 67.148 billion KWH during 2010-11. The overall consumption of electricity in India in 2010 was 601 billion KWH; with industrial, residential, commercial, and other sectors contributing 35, 28, 9, and 28 percent respectively. This is likely to surpass 1,000 billion KWH annually by 2020. Hence, BIPV projects are the only viable solution for every individual/corporate to be aware of and be self-dependent to generate power on their own and also to contribute to overcome the energy deficit in the country.

Frost & Sullivan’s Market Insight on the BIPV Market — Emerging Opportunities through Sustainable Resources is part of the Building Management Technologies Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: Indian Integrated Building Management System, Indian Cable Management System, and Indian Integrated Facility Management System. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

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