Driving forces

FiTs aside, Steve Pester, BRE, looks at some of the other elements that should help boost the uptake of PV

Everybody knows that since the start of the Feed-in tariff (FiT), the main driver for fitting PV has been profit – both for customers and installers. But with the on-going FiT reductions, perhaps some of the less obvious drivers will surface again:

– alleviation of fuel poverty

– reduction of carbon emissions

– reduced dependence on the big power and gas suppliers, UK and foreign

– personal lifestyle statements

– green credentials for organisations, etc

These drivers do not have the tsunami-like power of the FiT, but they were nevertheless evident before the latter smashed into our market shores and subsequently retreated.

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) is a technology which did not seem to feature very highly in the many discussions on ‘best bang for buck’ we had with clients last year. Now that we are no longer all totally focussed on fast profits and FiT deadlines, perhaps there is room for reflection on some of the advantages BIPV has to offer in terms of enhancement of building aesthetics, solar gain control, thermal insulation, roof or facade material replacement, enhancement of passive ventilation; oh, and generating electricity! PV which is properly integrated and forms a natural part of the building has got to be the future – it’s just that not many of us are thinking that way yet.

If you’d like to know more about BIPV, pick up a copy of “Building-integrated photovoltaic systems – challenges and opportunities for manufacturers and specifiers”, ref IP11/12 from the BRE bookshop: www.bre.co.uk/bookshop , or come along and listen to the experts at our annual BIPV conference on 17th October at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.