Rooftop PV and BIPV could generate 40 percent of EU’s electricity demand

The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) has said that with a total ground floor area over 22,000 km2, 40 percent of all building roofs and 15 percent of all facades in the European Union are suited for PV applications. This means that over 1,500 GWp of PV could technically be installed in Europe which would generate annually about 1,400TWh, representing 40 percent of the total electricity demand by 2020.

“It is essential to put in place favorable conditions across Europe that will support a wide deployment of building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) applications, which will have a major impact in the future development of buildings in Europe. From 2012 onwards, all Member States will need to adopt the recently approved Energy Performance of Building directive (EPBD) establishing that by 2020, all new building will need to be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings. Solar photovoltaics will be a key technology enabling to reach such an ambitious and crucial objective,” said Adel El Gammal, secretary general of EPIA.

Currently in some European countries the BIPV market is driven by specific support schemes, says EPIA, designed in such a way that BIPV systems are rewarded with a higher tariff per kWh generated than for Building Adapted PV (BAPV). Here, it says, the PV modules are installed on top of the existing building structure and do not provide any additional function. This acknowledges the added effort and extra cost of integrating PV as part of the building envelope.

It is, in particular, the case in France and Italy, where BIPV already represents over one third of the annual market. In other countries, continues the association, such as Germany and Spain, where support schemes are not differentiated between both types of systems, BIPV only represents a very marginal share of the market (<1%) representing mainly niche applications where cost is not an issue.

Virgilio Navarro, EPIA’s vice-president and CEO of ATERSA added: “Spain has a unique opportunity to develop the BIPV market, which in addition to leveraging the decentralized nature of PV generation – energy generated by the citizen for the citizen – would enable the stimulation of tens of thousands of jobs firmly anchored in the local economy, many of which in the construction industry.”

The news was announced at the Solar Decathlon (June 18 – 27), an event focusing on Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) systems, which is currently being held in Madrid, Spain.