I’m writing this from a BIPV Summit in San Diego. There are about 100 people attending, rather scant for a solar event, but it's an interesting group. Utilities, roofers, architects, and the usual suspects from the PV world -- Suntech
, some startup called Pythagoras Solar
First let’s make the distinction between BAPV and BIPV. BAPV is Building Applied PV -– it’s a retrofit added to the building long after construction, while BIPV is Building Integrated PV and it means just that -- the architects, building designers, building owners designed the photovoltaics into the skin and roof of the building from day one.
And as of now -- it’s a tiny market. Lots of potential, but tiny. Nadav Enbar, Research Manager, of Energy Insights, estimates that the total amount of installed BIPV, even with the most aggressive estimates, is about 70 megawatts. Lux Research says that 97 megawatts was installed last year but they are probably including BAPV as well. Suntech's Leonard May, Director of BIPV Products, claims to have shipped $80 million in BIPV last year.
And that’s a tiny sliver of world PV.
But it feels like we’re at the inflection point of this market. The new format of the U.S. investment tax credit and Europe’s new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive are policy tools that will serve to accelerate BIPV penetration.
Despite the potential, there are very few pure-play BIPV firms, and there are very few VC-funded BIPV firms.
Here is a small gallery of examples of BIPV. More info on BIPV in the next blog post.