NDJ Sustainable
Engineering,  LLC

BIPVT

We are working toward net-zero energy buildings through harvesting solar energy and improving energy efficiency of building envelope!

Building Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal System (BIPVT)

We are conducting intensive research and development to validate the manufacturing and integration method.

    Introduction

    Building Integrated Photovoltaic Thermal System (BIPVT) Solar panels have been used in the building envelope. The majority of PV module production is based on crystalline silicon (c-Si) wafer technologies. Their energy efficiency greatly depends on the temperature. Between -40 and 85C current solar roof panels show a heat-related performance loss of about 0.4%/C. Without a cooling system, in-service surface temperatures are commonly 40-50C above ambient, resulting in 16-20% reductions in electricity generation. In addition, large diurnal thermal cycles limit the useful life of solar panels to about 30 years. Cooling the panels is expected to improve both the performance and design life of the panels.

    Conventional solar panels are attached to structural elements of the building skin, which is less than optimal. The power generating elements of such panels are typically adhered to a structural substrate, supported by a structural framework that penetrates the building's water proofing system. Traditional building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) cannot shield the building skin from wind loads and conventional configurations necessitate redundancies as the panel substrate and frame must be designed to resist the same wind and snow loads as the building envelope. Moreover, temperature variations and different thermal expansion coefficients of various material layers may cause damage in either the solar panel or the structural substrate.

    Our BIPVT technology is not a simple superposition of the materials and costs, but provides a viable solution to significantly increase overall energy utilization efficiency while alleviating the disadvantages of a single approach. It enables heat harvesting while improving the PV utilization efficiency by controlling the temperature of PV modules. This holistic design meets multifunctional purposes, including insulation of thermal, water, and air flows and acoustic separation; structural integrity under wind, rain, snow, and hail loading; mechanical strength for temperature and moisture induced stresses; material integrity under aging, weathering, and deteriorating environments, and also its aesthetical appearance. Because the demand for heat and electricity in a building is supplementary, a thermal and electrical hybrid solar utilization system may reach a remarkable efficiency while achieving the multi-functionality.
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    Introduction