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Solar Power Question: What does building-integrated photovoltaics mean?

Answer: Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic materials that are used to replace conventional building materials in parts of the building envelope such as the roof, skylights, or facades. They are increasingly being incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power, although existing buildings may be retrofitted with BIPV modules as well.

The advantage of integrated photovoltaics over more common non-integrated systems is that the initial cost can be offset by reducing the amount spent on building materials and labor that would normally be used to construct the part of the building that the BIPV modules replace. In addition, since BIPV are an integral part of the design, they generally blend in better and are more aesthetically appealing than other solar options. These advantages make BIPV one of the fastest growing segments of the photovoltaic industry. The past decade has ushered in a myriad of BIPV demonstration buildings and other structures. In both new projects and renovations, BIPV is proving to be an effective building energy technology in residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings and structures

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