A Strategy for Building-Integrated Photovoltaics in Canada
7 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2013 Last revised: 27 Jan 2014
Date Written: October 2, 2012
Solar photovoltaics (PV) have become an increasingly important part of the global energy landscape over the past several years. As jurisdictions around the world continue to encourage the deployment of PV systems, module costs have plummeted and vastly improved the competitiveness of PV. As a result, the PV market has grown immensely, reaching $93 billion in global revenues and surpassing 29GW of installed capacity in 2011. The total global capacity of PV installations now exceeds 69GW, with fairly robust growth expected in the future. However, prominent bankruptcy and restructuring cases point to the fact that the PV industry has entered a turbulent phase. As the market continues to mature and government support is ratcheted down, consolidation is expected to intensify and firms will need to innovate even more aggressively in order to succeed. Governments, attempting to promote industrial development, salvage fledgling domestic PV industries, and deploy clean energy systems, are now faced with navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by this rapidly shifting industrial landscape.
It is within this context that innovative PV designs and technologies are emerging and prompting discussion around future system designs and appropriate policy support. Building-integrated PV (BIPV), in particular, is attracting increasing attention as a promising niche for further investment and development.
This policy insight paper considers the public interest grounds for supporting the development of a Canadian BIPV industry. More precisely, this paper presents an overview of societal benefits relating to this technology as well as opportunities and challenges to deployment and industrial development. We conclude by providing broad policy insights for the development of an appropriate national strategy for unlocking the potential of BIPV.
Keywords: building-integrated photovoltaics, BIPV, solar, energy policy, greenhouse gas reduction, low-carbon innovation, energy systems
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