Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) describes solar panels that are integrated with a roof. The solar panels replace roofing tiles, and create a seamless appearance with the roof, other than the color, which is typically dark blue or black.
The benefit of BIPV is the appearance. That’s generally where the benefits end. The downsides are numerous:
- In most cases, it’s more expensive to integrate BIPV, even though the solar panels replace roof tiles.
- The energy produced is about one-fourth what is attainable using traditional solar modules (crystalline-silicon) in the given area.
- The return on investment is typically far lower.
- The 2010 Florida Building Code that goes into effect 3/15/12 places increased requirements on BIPV products, which may significantly increase the cost of a BIPV installation.
- BIPV installation requires special training that your average solar installer may not possess.
If your primary consideration is aesthetics and you prefer the look of BIPV, you might be a candidate for this technology. Hopefully the technology will advance to the point that it is economically competitive. For now, I do not recommend or sell the product, and I am not aware of any major local solar installer that does.