Q&A2021-10-12T17:16:38+02:00
What is BIPV ? What is BAPV?2021-10-11T08:22:03+02:00

Still little known in France, Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics (BIPV) is however widely known and practiced in our European neighbors. Behind this acronym there is a real architectural, functional and aesthetic approach to the integration of photovoltaic solutions. The principle consists in replacing the materials traditionally used in the realization of the envelope of buildings and urban equipment, by their photovoltaic equivalent while ensuring the same function.
BIPV is the opposite of BAPV (Building Applied Photovoltaics), which consists of installing photovoltaic modules on existing surfaces by overlay. BAPV is not a replacement.

Why transform and exploit the unactive surfaces of buildings and cities?2021-10-11T08:23:54+02:00

The roof is often the first place to install photovoltaic panels. However, it is increasingly used to place the technical equipment required for the building’s operation, thus limiting the available surface. The rest of the building envelope, i.e. the facades, can therefore be an interesting addition and in some cases can even represent a proportionally larger surface area when higher buildings are constructed. To quickly get an idea of the potential, and without going into precise technical and technological details, we have simulated the La Défense business district. If we equipped all the facades of the buildings in the district with BIPV solutions, the electricity produced could potentially cover up to 25% of the district’s energy needs. So, without counting the other applications offered by the city, and although this simulation is utopian, we realize that the roofs alone will not be able to achieve this, and that the city, and at least the block, has a large amount of available and relevant surfaces.

What is the environmental benefit of implementing PV and BIPV?2021-10-11T08:25:40+02:00

Photovoltaic solutions applied and integrated in buildings meet current and future energy and environmental challenges. Depending on the project and the situation, up to 100% of electrical needs can be covered by active facade solutions, thus facilitating the emergence of near-zero energy buildings. Moreover, PV solutions contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of buildings over their entire life cycle, particularly during the operating phase, thanks to the production of renewable and local energy.

Similarly, when judiciously positioned in a curtain wall or skylight, photovoltaic cells can act as thousands of mini sunshades, thus limiting solar input for better thermal comfort and reduced cooling needs. Finally, these solutions do not require any land area, which frees up space to accommodate and develop biodiversity.

What are the applications of BIPV?2021-10-11T08:27:28+02:00

In most cases, BIPV panels are laminated safety glass in which photovoltaic cells have been encapsulated. They must therefore comply with photovoltaic electrical standards as well as building codes in order to be used on buildings and urban furniture. The durability of these solutions is therefore equivalent to the laminated safety glass traditionally used for other construction applications, and their performance is guaranteed for at least 20 years. Moreover, their implementation is not technically complicated, since BIPV solutions require the same integration systems as the traditional materials they replace.

BIPV solutions can therefore be installed in balconies, canopies, skylights, curtain walls and double-skins, opaque facades and spandrels, on roofs with PV tiles…

Which technologies are used?2021-10-11T08:29:16+02:00

Two major families of technologies co-exist, the “Cells” category, which represents about 95% of the market, and the so-called “thin film” category.

The “cell” category is based on the use of crystalline, monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon, whose performance can be optimized by combining various technologies such as “back contact cells”, PERC and heterojunction.

The so-called “thin film” category includes various types of materials that are usually deposited on a “substrate”, often glass, in a thin film, hence the term thin film. Among the various materials deposited in thin films are CdTe (Cadmium Telluride), CIGS (Copper/Indium/Gallium/Selenium), Amorphous Silicon (aSi) and other organic emerging materials (OPV) or Perovskite.

What are the available aesthetic renderings of BIPV solutions?2021-10-11T08:31:01+02:00

Unlike the photovoltaic installations of solar farms, which are now part of our landscape, in cities, where the urban environment is imagined by urban planners and architects, and particularly in France, where one can quickly find oneself on or near protected sites, aesthetic and landscape integration is crucial. The industry has therefore developed aesthetic BIPV materials, which can be semi-transparent, opaque, colored or patterned, thus enriching the palette of designers to give free rein to their creativity, without being limited by the image of traditional photovoltaics. In addition, photovoltaic solutions can be designed and tailor-made for the rehabilitation of historical heritage, for example, with aesthetic renderings that imitate the original materials used, such as brick, marble, stone, etc.

When was Activskeen created and why?2021-10-11T08:32:13+02:00

Although the solutions and their industrial suppliers exist for nearly 15 years, BIPV represents a niche sector in the photovoltaic installation market, but many factors tend to show that these solutions will expand rapidly in urban environments. To boost the market, ActivSkeen was created in 2018 by the Soletanche Freyssinet Group (VINCI) to support decision-makers, developers and designers as well as builders & specialists to integrate these solutions in a sustainable and optimized way.

How is ActivSkeen positioned in the PV and BIPV ecosystem?2021-10-11T08:33:28+02:00

ActivSkeen is a technical and engineering photovoltaic office specialized in BIPV. We work as well on the design and dimensioning of classic photovoltaic installations on roofs as on BIPV integration in the building envelope.

For us, the building as a whole represents an interesting photovoltaic potential to exploit. Our know-how and our expertise allow us to study it in detail according to its environment but also to the programmatic and economic objectives of our clients.

Why contact ActivSkeen for your PV integration project?2021-10-11T08:34:56+02:00

Numerous photovoltaic design offices exist, but we are certainly one of the only ones to master the integration of BIPV solutions, which require the mobilization of skills not only in photovoltaic engineering, but also in electrical engineering and façade engineering.

By habit and ease of dimensioning, the roof is largely privileged to the detriment of the other surfaces available on the building, but at ActivSkeen we do not oppose PV on the roof vs. BIPV since we are capable of imagining, designing, dimensioning and aesthetically integrating both.

Moreover, aware of the role that the active envelope of buildings can play in the ecological transition, we also propose competences in building energy, thermal and luminous comfort and carbon footprint, in order to highlight all the benefits that these PV and BIPV solutions bring to your project.

When should I contact ActivSkeen to integrate PV on my project?2021-10-11T08:36:09+02:00

The sooner the better… as soon as you establish your program or the architect begins the sketch of your project. Why should you do this? Because not only the program objectives, but also the location, orientation and morphology of the building will influence the performance of the photovoltaic production and to ensure that you design solutions and systems that will comply with building construction and electrical photovoltaic standards and norms, thus avoiding any non-compliance situation in the later phases of the project.

What offers and services does ActivSkeen provide?2021-10-11T08:37:39+02:00

As a technical and engineering photovoltaic office, we can participate as project managers in the establishment of documents necessary for the design, procurement, construction and operation of photovoltaic systems throughout the project.

We can assist developers and main contractors in the development of their environmental and energy strategy related to the integration of BIPV and then ensure throughout the project, a single and comprehensive management, simplifying the interfaces between disciplines traditionally siloed.

Finally, we can intervene on an ad hoc basis depending on the progress of your project and the skills already in place within your team:

– With opportunity and technical feasibility studies from the sketch and before the submission of the PC: SolarCheck, SolarDiag and SolarExplo

– For the design of solutions adapted and specific to the technical and architectural constraints (design, prototyping, layout, 3D rendering…)

What are your opportunity and technical feasibility studies SolarCheck, SolarDiag and SolarExplo?2021-10-11T08:38:57+02:00

SOLARCHECK: PV opportunity study

From the brief stage of a new building or to assess existing assets, we investigate the photovoltaic potential of your entire operation with a simplified 3D model for a quick and decisive analysis

SOLARDIAG: Technical and economic feasibility study of PV & BIPV

On the basis of a conclusive SOLARCHECK, we carry out an in-depth technical and economic feasibility study of the integration of PV and BIPV solutions on the sketch of your project. On this basis, you will have all the information you need to take action quickly.

SOLAREXPLO: Environmental performance assessment of PV solutions

In addition to SOLARDIAG, we study the environmental benefits of PV & BIPV solutions for your project. We can thus analyze the daylight and thermal comfort, the energy balance, their carbon footprint and their contribution to obtaining environmental certifications.

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