Solar PV is one of the most promising sustainable energy forms in the world. Compared to non-renewable energy forms such as coal, gas, oil or nuclear power, the benefits are clear: it is non-polluting, an infinite source of energy, and the systems require only a small amount of maintenance.
In order to have enough energy in the future, part of our energy will have to be generated by photovoltaic (PV) solar power. The technology is available now; the systems are getting better and becoming increasingly economically viable.
The main goal of building integration is to get a clear and aesthetically pleasing roof or facade integration. This does not strictly mean that a PV architectural language needs to be generated, but the fact that the solutions selected should blend in well with the rest of the building, should be self-explanatory. The added bonus of building integration is not just aesthetic. In heavily populated areas building integration means that not as much space is required. Since PV has many functions (solar protection, facade protection, roof covering, etc.), this also saves costs when compared to non-integrated PV by offsetting the cost of other materials. Additionally, the energy generated is utilised directly on site, and does not need to be carried elsewhere.
Building integration, unlike mounting separate frames, raises the risk of reduced ventilation. Less ventilation behind the modules equates to a reduced output of up to around 10% of the overall power. The design phase should as such take the aesthetic integration, engineering details and ventilation into account.