RAY OF LIGHT
- An Expert’s Opinion -
#3: BIPV and its role in advocating and deploying Urban Solar by Dr. Veronika Shabunko
Dr. Veronika Shabunko is Head of the BIPV Centre of Excellence at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS). She is a scientific lead of the working group for establishment of relevant national regulations and standards for innovative BIPV technologies in Singapore with governmental and regulatory bodies.
Solar façade at the new PSA Tuas Port Maintenance Base, Singapore.
2) BIPV is still a rather exotic field for many of us in the C&I or utility solar fields.
Could you give us a quick status about this market segment?
What is the current installed capacity?
And what is the projected growth in the next 5 years?
Is there any installation cost reference pricing?
The global BIPV installed capacity was nearly 2 GWp in 2016, and is expected to grow further, exceeding 11 GWp in 2021. This fast uptake across the world (main regions are US, Canada, Japan, Europe and Asia-Pacific) is supported by rapid technology advancements, improvement of efficiency, enriched aesthetics of BIPV modules and lower cost of the solar technologies.
In terms of costs, it is important to highlight that the financial payback for BIPV of new buildings (where the BIPV modules would replace a conventional cladding for example) is between 8-13 years, depending on technology and building façade. However, it is possible to lower this payback period, when considering BIPV at the early design phase, which then enables more design options and a more cost-effective installation. One of the latest examples for that is the PSA Admin Building at the new Tuas Port which features a coloured BIPV facade with an area of about 1700 m2. The BIPV façade is expected to have a financial payback time of around 7 years, and also contributed to achieving a Super Low Energy Building (SLEB) rating.
3) We know that coloured or flexible panels are mainly used in BIPV.
How about more “regular” panels, such as Mono PERC? Or even TOPCon/HJT?
Do you know of any major panel makers who are providing panels to the BIPV sector?
To maximize energy yield, BIPV manufacturers are using high-efficiency cell technologies such as n-type Mono-PERT, heterojunction or all-back-contact solar cells, giving 20.5- 23% module efficiency. Some manufacturers also offer homogenously all-black solar modules, which offer very high efficiencies, including the two suppliers that are headquartered in Singapore, REC Solar and Maxeon.
The BIPV COC is working closely with various BIPV manufacturers to test performance, reliability and compliance to the local regulations of Singapore’s built environment. The photo below shows such a testbed on the NUS campus (which we call the “BIPV Living Catalogue”), show-casing several BIPV technologies from renowned suppliers, such as AGC, Kromatix, REC, Solaxess, as well as in-house developed digitally printed BIPV modules. Feel free to contact us if you wish to visit NUS’ “BIPV Living Catalogue”.
BIPV Living Catalogue with commercially available and in-house developed BIPV products on the NUS campus.
4) Architects seem to be important originators of BIPV projects. How can “regular” panel makers or C&I/utility EPCs connect with them? Is there a “BIPV architects” association, for example?
The BIPV COC is working closely with various stakeholders including architects, engineers, building developers and EPC companies. In addition, the one-stop shop for information about BIPV in Singapore is the “www.bipv.sg” website, which provides information about BIPV technologies, examples of existing installations in Singapore and around the world, and where interested parties can also sign up for the “BIPV SG community” to receive regular news and updates.
Do feel free to approach us if you want to learn more about BIPV and expand the opportunities for many buildings to be more energy efficient and sustainable.
Dr. Veronika Shabunko, Head BIPV Centre of Competence, SERIS
Should you have any feedback and/or comments, OR if you wish to contribute, please write to us at Farahdian.Aziz@ssx.com.sg. We hope you have enjoyed the read!
1) Can you tell us about SERIS and specifically what aspects of the BIPV segments the Institute covers?
The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s national institute for applied solar energy research. SERIS conducts research, development, testing and consulting on solar energy technologies and their integration into power systems and buildings. The Centre of Competence (COC) for Building–Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) was established at SERIS in 2017 to develop innovations around BIPV and remove industrially relevant barriers towards the accelerated adoption of BIPV in Singapore and beyond, while providing a collaborative platform with relevant stakeholders from the private and public sectors. The BIPV COC has broad expertise in the areas of BIPV system design and evaluation, yield projections, technical verification, project risk assessment, real-time analytical monitoring of BIPV installations, project management, owner’s engineer and quality assurance.