Innovation in Solar Building Skins & Energy Efficiency towards Sustainable Cities


The BIPV-workshop organized in Brussels on September 7, 2017 is the first of a series of European workshops and conferences in the field of Energy Efficiency in buildings and cities with a focus on Innovation in Solar Building Skins, also known as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). This European Technology & Innovation Platform (ETIP) BIPV initiative is as well related to areas such as smart grid, storage of renewable energies in buildings/cities, e-mobility and Internet of Things (IoT).

The basic idea behind the national workshops is to gather the stakeholders in the value chain in the respective countries to understand the needs and opportunities of BIPV and to mobilize the actors to support the developments needed to grasp these opportunities.

The key issue of the events is to encourage the collaboration among the various stakeholders of the building sector, including architects, the building industry, developers, engineers, etc., and the PV/BIPV sector, together with designers and investors.

The numerous attendance of the BIPV event - based on the initial project by Silke Krawietz (CEO, SETA Network, ETIP PV Executive Committee Member and BIPV Working Group leader) - co-organized by EnergyVille, Flux50, the Becquerel Institute, ETIP PV and SETA Network confirmed the growing interest of the stakeholders to the opportunities of BIPV. 

During the institutional session, after the introduction and the detailed overview of the event by Jef Poortmans, national organiser of the event (imec/EnergyVille, ETIP PV Executive Committee member and BIPV Working Group co-leader), followed the presentation of the national SET Plan representative Lut Bollen (Department of Economy, Science & Innovation, Flemish Government) to illustrate the importance of BIPV in the SET-plan and the EU-directives.  The representative of the European Commission Fabio Belloni (Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Research & Innovation) lined out the importance of the BIPV sector and the connection with the SET Plan Declaration of Intent PV, as well as the relation to the Implementation Plan of the SET Plan, which has been carried out by the Temporary Working Group (TWG) PV.

Silke Krawietz underlined the importance of such initiatives based on the participation of various leading European national research institutes, which are Steering Committee members of the ETIP PV and supported by national industries and stakeholder associations.

This was followed by a series of high-quality presentations by leading architects, engineers and testimonials of companies of the BIPV value chain. The presentation of the first outline of an BIPV roadmap by EnergyVille was one of the highlights of the conference. The break-out sessions on the various aspects of BIPV (materials, electronics, installation, value chain build-up and legal barriers), important for the national industry and research institutes, allowed to more precisely define the challenges and barriers and to fine-tune the interests of the stakeholders at the Belgian level.

Gaëtan Masson, Vice-Chairman ETIP PV and Managing Director Becquerel Institute:
“Europe is well positioned to take advantage of the tremendous untapped potential of the nascent BIPV sector. However, it requires a string of smart policies and incentives at European, national and local level, an increased awareness of architects, builders and policymakers to deploy all its possibilities. It has the potential to revamp the building industry and grant to the European industry a strategic leadership that shouldn’t be missed”.

Jef Poortmans commented at the end: ”The broad attendance, the lively discussions in the break-out sessions and the explicit statement of several contributors that one can now finally observe a growing sense-of-urgency in BIPV prove this was the right time to start this series of events.”

Focus on the event

Central to these workshops is a market pull approach to answer the following key questions: What innovation, be it aesthetical, technological, legislative or otherwise, is required by the building industry stakeholders to enable massive-scale deployment of BIPV by what could be described as “scalable customization”? What is required to stimulate innovation through interdisciplinary collaboration among the building and PV sectors?

Within the context of energy efficiency in buildings and cities for new and existing building stock, the development of innovative design concepts, flexible manufacturing technology enabling flexibility in dimension, colour and market approaches are essential for the future development of the BIPV market and the development of related national value chains. The various national workshops aim at identifying the specific needs and opportunities of the respective national market structures in connection with the requirements for NZEBs and Positive Energy Buildings.

Source: European Technology & Innovation Platform PV

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