Building Applied Photovoltaics (BAPV) is a photovoltaic technology retrofitted on building structures primarily during the construction stage. It is fairly less detrimental to the environment and enables energy generation at lower cost than conventional power generating sources. The primary raw materials utilized in manufacturing BAPV systems comprise amorphous silicon (a-Si), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). These materials aid in transforming solar energy into electricity. Solar cells are intermediate products, which are embedded in glass sheets used to manufacture BAPV panels. BAPV products commonly include rooftop and facades. Zero energy building policy, which is strictly practiced in the U.S. and European countries, has been achieved effectively by retrofitting BAPV products on old/new building structures. Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) rates implemented across various regions, accompanied by supportive government subsidy schemes are likely to attract a larger number of consumers, which in turn is expected to fuel demand for BAPV products in the next five years. Rising concerns regarding reducing carbon footprint and bringing about a paradigm shift in electricity generation from conventional sources to renewable energy sources are some of the factors driving the BAPV market globally. High initial cost is one of the key factors confining growth of the BAPV market. However, impending government incentive schemes, influx of financial incentives from various associations, and plummeting prices have aided in overshadowing the challenge.
Due to high efficiency and lower costs as compared to alternate renewable technologies, first-generation technologies such as C-Si technology are experiencing major demand. Silicon forms one of the primary raw materials utilized in manufacturing C-Si BAPV modules. Evolution of second- and third-generation BAPV technologies coupled with abundant availability of silicon has led to a significant drop in C-Si BAPV module prices. Lower raw material costs makes C-Si BAPV modules less expensive and hence demand for these products is expected to surge in the next few years. Second-generation technologies demonstrate higher efficiencies as compared to first-generation technologies. Amount of flexibility and ease of integration offered by thin film technology is likely to attract more consumers, hence driving growth of the thin film technology segment. Third-generation technologies such as OPV and DSC are still in the development phase.
The BAPV market can be segmented on the basis of end-user applications into commercial, residential, and industrial. New norms and regulations regarding the use of renewable energy and subsidies over solar energy are together driving growth of the commercial end-use segment in the BAPV market. Laws such as Renewable Energy Law 2006 in China are driving the growth of renewable energy in the commercial sector in that region.
First Solar, Inc., Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc., Pythagoras Solar Ltd., Sapa Solar, and Centrosolar AG are expected to dominate the BAPV market. These companies accounted for over 40% of the global market share in terms of revenue in 2012.