Building Integrated PV - Events

The increasing Role of Building integrated Photovoltaics

27th May 2009
Milano, Fiera Rho, Italy

The Milan Fiera was chosen as the venue for this workshop organised during the LivinLuce trade fair by both research and dissemination partners of the SUNRISE project. The workshop, interpreted simultaneously into English and Italian, saw presentations given by a number of experts both from the PV as well as the electrical installation and building sectors on how barriers can be overcome to the uptake of building integrated PV (BIPV). The day?s proceedings were broken down into three sections; a morning session dealing with technical aspects related to BIPV development, an afternoon session exploring some of the legal and economic challenges to expansion of BIPV and finally the view of contractors themselves through, notably, a case study of a French project.

Participants were welcomed by Nicola Scotti, President of ASSISTAL - the Italian Association of Installers ? members of the European Association of Electrical Contractors (AIE) themselves participants in the SUNRISE project. Mr Scotti recalled the backdrop of the current economic downturn and the key role renewable energy can play in the recovery.

Starting the morning session, moderated by Roberto Rizzo from Artenergy - publishers of Italian energy related magazines, Daniel Fraile from EPIA, the lead partner in the SUNRISE project, gave an overview of the latest developments in the market for PV in which he reminded participants of the considerable effort still to be undertaken in developing the market for BIPV as this segment still only represents about 1% of the total on-grid PV market. Following this, Silvia Caneva, project manager with WIP - one of the SUNRISE project partners ? went on to present the SUNRISE project and its findings so far. In her presentation, Mrs Caneva looked into some of the major barriers facing the integration of PV into the built environment and some potential solutions. One of the main barriers identified to the uptake of PV is one of cost perception with the PV community calculating in terms of cost per kilowatt hour and architects and builders thinking in terms of cost per square meter. One of the aims of the SUNRISE project has therefore been to bridge this gap with a tool being developed to render understanding of the cost advantages of installing BIPV modules easier for architects and other building professionals.

The rest of the morning session was given over to presentations on technical aspects associated with the uptake of BIPV. A general presentation was given by Arnulf J?ger-Waldau from the European Commission?s Joint Research Centre on the different types of PV technology available on the market with an overview of their respective merits and drawbacks depending on their application. Mario Micali from Solar Century Italy, a leading manufacturer and installer of PV spoke of the how BIPV, in the case of roofing tiles, is moving to become a more industrialized process, better taking into account the needs of the building industry. The aim, according to Mr Micali, is for non-specialised workforce to be able to install these cells as part of the normal construction process. Futher presentations were given on the thin film PV and its applications by Willi Ernst from Centrosolar who looked in to the performance of thin film PV applications on flat roofs and Dieter Moor from Austrian Ertex Solar who described how thin film PV was used to cover a fa?ade of an office building in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

The afternoon session, moderated by Niels Ruyter from the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) - a SUNRISE partner - concentrated on legal and financial concerns linked to BIPV with a number of presentations on the development of European standards in the field. This point is essential in the creation of a market for BIPV as the lack of adequate standards certainly acts as a barrier. This was brought to light by Alessandro Virtuali from the Joint Research Centre who enumerated some of the building codes and regulations affecting PV in the EU. It emerged that to date only the Netherlands has a pre-standard related specifically to BIPV. Further test methods still need to be defined on aspects linked to the incorporation of BIPV such as some of those covered under the Essential Requirements of the Construction Products Directive. Another issue that has yet to be fully resolved is reducing the fire risks posed by PV cells through a phenomenon known as arcing which can occur for example through a faulty connection in the PV cell itself or through poor soldering. Progress in avoiding damage through arcing was detailed by Florian Reil from T?V Rheinland.

Moving to the theme of financial support mechanisms, Denis Thomas of EPIA looked at how such measures such as feed-in tariffs have influenced the market uptake of PV in general. The example here is Spain which accounted for 56% of the EU market for PV in 2008, overtaking Germany, but which has experienced an overheated market as the Spanish industry has been unable to keep up with demand and which has seen feed in tariffs cut significantly. Concluding the presentation, Mr Thomas ended by underscoring the need for public support schemes to be guaranteed in time and offer assurance of continuity to investors. As for drivers in the private market, Jerry Percy member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), reminded the audience that the added up-front capital investment by clients for renewable solutions and for PV in particular was still a major challenge, this particularly in the tougher economic climate. Mr Percy went on to insist that for PV to take real hold in the industry it would need to demonstrate that incorporation is cost-effective over the life-cycle of the building.

In the closing session, factors for PV development in Italy were discussed through a presentation by Maurizio Estini, Director-General of ASSISTAL. Ending the day?s event, Alexis Delepouille from the Pouchain group presented how PV systems can be a business opportunity for electrical contractors through a specific case study of a project involving integrating PV cells into roof windows of a clinic in northern France. Mr Delepouille detailed the real problems the installers experienced when carrying out the project whether through the difficulties of incorporating PV cells into a wooden timber structured roof, through challenges linked to skills or through difficulties with certification.


<media 28>Download the agenda</media>


Presentation of Daniel Fraile Montoro


Presentation of Silvia Caneva


Presentation of Arnulf Jaeger-Waldau

(No presentation to download)

Presentation of Mario Micali


Presentation of Dieter Moor


Presentation of Willi Ernst


Presentation of Alesandro Virtuani


Presentation of Florian Reil


Presentation of Denis Thomas


Presentation of Jerry Percy


Presentation of Alexis Delepoulle


Presentation of Maurizio Esitini