Whole systems appraisal of a UK Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system: Energy, environmental, and economic evaluations

Geoffrey P Hammond, Hassan A Harajli, Craig I Jones, Adrian B Winnett

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73 Citations (Scopus)


Energy analysis, environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) and economic appraisals have been utilised to study the performance of a domestic building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system on a 'whole systems' basis. Energy analysis determined that the system paid back its embodied energy in just 4.5 years. LCA revealed that the embodied impacts were offset by the electricity generated to provide a net environmental benefit in most categories. Only carcinogens, ecotoxicity and minerals had a small net lifetime burden. A financial analysis was undertaken from the householder's perspective, alongside cost-benefit analysis from a societal perspective. The results of both indicated that the systems are unlikely to pay back their investment over the 25 year lifetime. However, the UK is in an important period (2010/11) of policy transition with a move away from the 'technology subsidies' of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) and towards a 'market development policy' of feed-in tariffs. Representing the next stage on an innovation S-curve this is expected to facilitate rapid PV uptake, as experienced in countries such as Germany, Denmark, and Spain. The results of the present study clearly demonstrate the importance of the new government support scheme to the future uptake of BIPV.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


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