Integration of solar panels in building skin seen as key net-zero element
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Recent high-profile projects, including stadiums in Brazil for the upcoming World Cup (pictured) and Summer Olympics and a bank headquarters in the U.K., reflect an effort by designers to adopt building-integrated photovoltaics, or BIPV. The use of BIPVs is expected to be an increasingly common element of buildings designed to achieve net-zero energy status. Architect Norman Foster is one designer seeking to produce eye-catching works using BIPVs while meeting a European Union directive that new buildings should produce next to zero emissions after 2020.
BIPV features are planned from the start of a project instead of tacked on as an afterthought. The market for solar laid onto buildings and into building materials, including wall panels and roof tiles, is expected to grow to $7.5 billion by 2015, according to Accenture Plc, citing research from NanoMarkets.