Bringing together construction technology and solar PV for design and performance

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.

Creating a framework to accelerate penetration of building integrated PV products in the global market of renewables

What is the aim of this project?

Buildings and the construction sector account for over one-third of global final energy consumption. The potential to integrate solar photovoltaics (PV) in the structure of buildings is huge; building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) could be a key way of increasing deployment of renewable energy. The aim of this project is to create a framework to accelerate penetration of BIPV products in the global market of renewables, contributing to a more balanced use of BIPV and rooftop PV products while paying attention to questions of aesthetics, reliability and financing.

How could this technology be explained to a high school student?

Building integrated photovoltaics refers to solar panels incorporated into the architecture of a building. Essentially, BIPV concerns how the system looks and functions on a building. There is currently no existing standard procedure for developing BIPV.

What is the value of this project for society?

  • boosts the development of BIPV products to foster zero-energy buildings
  • expands the potential of PV applications and helps increase PV penetration
  • provides large areas for renewable energy generation in a technically and economically feasible way with high social acceptance.

At what stage of development is this project?

The first phase of the project ran from 2015 to 2019. The second phase  began in 2020 and is expected to conclude in 2023. Several major reports were published in the first phase. Work in the second phase will include:

  • performing a technological innovation system analysis (a structured methodology from the field of innovation research) of BIPV in several countries
  • developing an evaluation methodology to consider the multifunctional properties of BIPV and applying this methodology to existing BIPV projects
  • preparing a technical guidebook to help architects and engineers realise BIPV projects
  • conducting pre-normative research on characterisation methods, focusing on the multifunctionality of BIPV
  • bringing together BIPV and the digitalisation of the construction sector
  • reaching out to relevant stakeholders (including architects, engineers, construction companies, building owners, municipalities and component manufacturers) to collect information and disseminate knowledge from the experts in the project.

What government policies could bring this from the lab to the market?

  • setting ambitious targets for promoting zero-energy buildings
  • providing public funding for research, development, demonstration and installation of BIPV
  • developing tax incentives for buildings equipped with BIPV.

BIPV façade at the City Administration Center in Freiburg, ©Fraunhofer ISE.

Partners and funders


  • Fraunhofer ISE (Germany)
  • University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna ENERGYbase (Austria)
  • More than 65 partners from industry, research and architecture.


  • PVPS members: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Learn more

About the Technology Collaboration Programme on Photovoltaic Power Systems (PVPS TCP)

Established in 1993, the PVPS TCP supports international collaborative efforts to enhance the role of photovoltaic solar energy as a cornerstone in the transition to sustainable energy systems. The PVPS TCP seeks to serve as a global reference for policy and industry decision makers; to act as an impartial and reliable source of information on trends, markets and costs; and to provide meaningful guidelines and recommended practices for state-of-the-art PV applications.