Residential and commercial rooftops have long provided an ideal location for solar installations, especially in crowded urban areas. However, the availability of true BIPV (building integrated photovoltaic) and BAPV (building applied photovoltaic) solar products designed for rooftop installation has been limited. Therefore, the solar industry’s interest in manufacturing such products has not been strong. (Note: We define BIPV/BAPV as solar products designed to replace conventional building materials, to be installed as part of a rooftop structure, and to be esthetically pleasing).
These limitations are about to change and the market for BIPV/BAPV products for rooftop applications is about to soar with the likely entry of solar tiles and shingles from Dow Solar Solutions, Solarfun, Canadian Solar and other products that will be added to current offering from UniSolar, Swiss Solar Systems, Scheuten Solar, Shuco and an array of other companies.
Growth of solar BIPV/BAPV products will probably be spurred by a number of new developments such as the developing ability to laminate relatively high-efficiency (currently just under 11%) CIGS panels into shingles that replace conventional asphalt shingles and generate power at the same time. If these tiles can be designed to permit both mechanical and electrical connection at the same time, they can be installed by professional roofers. At that point, the residential market for rooftop BIPV would be limited only by the cost of the shingles that must provide payback in five years or less to be attractive to most homeowners.
The move of several c-Si module companies entering the market to provide esthetically pleasing semi-transparent modules for atria and shading structure BIPV/BAPV applications also promises to add to market TAM for rooftop applications. These new modules are manufactured with glass panels on two sides and variable spacing of cells to provide different patterns and density.
As a result of these and a few other BIPV/BAPV product nuances, we expect the market for these products to grow at a 39% CAGR to reach almost 900 MW by 2014 as shown in the following table:
As an outside possibility, this market could grow to as much as 1200 MW if the cost of solar shingles can be driven to less than $1.15/W while maintaining the size and esthetics of normal slate tiles.