Annually rising electricity costs are more and more increasing the interest for building-integrated photovoltaics as an ‘appealing’ solution to save energy and costs.
In relation to a comparable power plant with standard solar modules, previous Building-integrated photovoltaic (BiPV) projects implied a multiple of investment while failing most times in a cost-benefit analysis when based on the EEG’s feed-in tariff for solar power. Thus, solar building solutions gained a reputation as loss-makers. However, such general cost analysis did not consider – or if so to a very limited extend - the additional glass-specific benefits for building shells per se, such as climate protection, shading or security components. Thus, specific glass-glass modules only found their market as niche products. Furthermore, the majority of former BiPV projects had been realized as architectural highlights which prioritized the architectonical appeal of a solar façade in order to place a visible symbol for sustainability.
With the new ENEV 2021 regulations, Europe requires that in the future, all newly constructed buildings proof a neutral energy balance. Besides roofs, facades of large administration or residential buildings are providing a new opportunity as energy generators. Particularly with regard to the small-sized roofs of skyscrapers in city centers, façade surfaces represent a significant potential to generate a substantial amount of solar power.