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Solar Power Question: What are the advantages to Building-integrated photovoltaics?

Answer: BIPV modules can be colorful and visually arresting. Using BIPV creates a strikingly futuristic building. Its flexibility is such that it can respond to the architects imagination and result in a building that is both impressive and environmentally friendly. It improves the image of a building and increases the resale value. Advantages include:

Photovoltaic modules can be integrated into the building envelope in a so-called "non ventilated facade", both on public buildings such as office complexes, production buildings, shopping centres or schools, and on private buildings such as indoor gardens or terraced houses. The modules replace traditional materials in new build and create an ambient inside temperate all-year round.

Using photovoltaics in a building envelope replaces traditional building materials and building processes. For example using BIPV in roofing systems may replace batten and seam metal roofing, and traditional 3- tab asphalt shingles.

Using photovoltaics cells for skylight systems in entrance halls, atria, or courtyards, can be both economical use of solar energy and an exciting design feature. BIPV cells have the advantage that their transparency can be varied so that if desired, the module can provide shade or be semi-transparent.

Modules can protect against the weather, giving shade from the sun as well as protection from wind and rain,. They also protect against lighting, being an electrical resistor.

When the weather gets cold (or hot), non-ventilated modules act as thermal insulation through the sandwich construction of the modules themselves, the layer of air within the modules and the ray absorption by the crystalline silicon and thin film solar cells. This means that less energy is wasted by heat loss from the interior, reducing heating costs and keeping the building at an ambient temperature.

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