- The market grows as the world moves toward renewable energy
- Tesla purchased solar panel manufacturer in November
- Panasonic invests $255 million in SolarCity plant
Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technologies are forecasted to reach $4.3 billion in value by 2021, according to BCC Research. This represents a compound annual growth rate (GAGR) of 12.2% between 2016 and 2021.
BIPV products are used in solar power applications, replacing conventional materials when building roofs or installing windows. Adding BIPV materials to buildings would eliminate the 11% average power loss along transmission lines from solar power plants.
The market has tremendous room for growth. BIPV materials are used on a small percentage of buildings. However, 40% of all energy consumption is from buildings with lighting taking up 30%.
Market growth is fueled by reduced costs and is little affected by an uncertain global economy. As the world moves from fossil fuels to renewable energy, the BIPV market will continue to grow.
Tesla and Solar Panels
In November, shareholders approved to the sale of SolarCity to the Tesla Motors for $2.6 billion. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk negotiated for two years with SolarCity before a deal was completed.
SolarCity purchased fellow solar panel manufacturer Silevo in 2014 and promised it could make solar panels 22% more efficient than Silevo’s. So far this promise hasn’t been fulfilled. Nevertheless, Panasonic Corp. has pledges to invest $255 million in SolarCity’s Buffalo, New York facility that manufactures modules and photovoltaic cells.
Production will begin this summer, with a 1 gigawatt capacity forecasted for 2019.
Tesla and Panasonic worked out the details of the partnership in October but it was contingent on SolarCity shareholders approving the sale to Tesla. Tesla agreed to a long-term purchase agreement with Panasonic while Panasonic covers the capital costs.
In addition, Tesla and Panasonic will work on developing new photovoltaic technology at SolarCity’s Fremont, CA, plant.
“When production of the solar roof begins, Tesla will also incorporate Panasonic’s cells into the many kinds of solar glass tile roofs that Tesla will be manufacturing,” Tesla said in a blog post.
This isn’t the first time, Tesla and Panasonic have partnered. The companies have partnered to fund the Tesla Gigafactory under construction in Reno, NV. The facility will manufacturer grid storage battery cells and electronic vehicles.
In the U.S., solar-panel installation costs have dropped 50%. More customers would adopt the technology if financing were available, the government says.
- Some examples of BIPV materials include colored window walls that emulate modern art, power-generating street furniture and skylights that admit light.
- The largest segment in the BIPV market is standing seam metal roofing. It was valued at $676.8 million in 2016. By 2021, it is forecasted to grow with CAGR of 7.5% and reach $972.5 million in value.
- The facades segment also is expected to expand at a CAGR of 1.8%, increasing from $690.5 million in 2016 to $754.2 million by 2021.
- All but 25% of the world’s BIPV products are manufactured in China and Taiwan.