The Benefits of Building Integrated Photovoltaics

southport college with photovoltaic tiles

Photovoltaic technology is becoming increasingly popular and many people now accept that it will play a major part in ending our dependence on finite fossil fuels. In the past, photovoltaics were mostly used in the form of solar panels which could be added onto existing structures.


However, the concept of incorporating solar technology directly into the structural materials of our building has been growing in popularity in recent years. Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) are an ever more common option with both architects and home and business owners and there are several ways in which they can be used.


Photovoltaic roof tiles are by far the most widely used form of BIPV. Solar technology is most effective when it can be angled towards the sun and pitched roofs offer the easiest part of a building on which to achieve this. Solar roof tiles form an integral part of the roof structure, acting as both roof tiles and solar panels, and offer a subtler, more attractive appearance than traditional solar panels.


Some buildings, especially commercial buildings, are beginning to use photovoltaics in the facades that covers their sides. This is currently most often seen on skyscrapers and other modern, innovative buildings, however as the technology develops and becomes cheaper it is likely to start being seen more often in a domestic setting. One limitation with this kind of solar technology is that it can be harder to orientate a solar facade to the most efficient angle relative to the sun, meaning you will likely generate less energy per square metre of installed photovoltaic surface.


New advances in solar technology mean that it is now possible to create semi-transparent photovoltaics which can be overlaid onto roof lights and other windows. The disadvantage here is that, at the moment, the technology converts less of the light hitting it into energy compared to standard photovoltaics and this also cuts out some of the light passing through the window.

Metrotile are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of photovoltaic roof tiles which offer seamless integration with our other roofing systems. To find out more call Metrotile today on 01249 658 514 or use our contact form for a swift response.