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Building-Integrated PV Systems

PV systems are a great solar option for those interested in minimal changes in a building's appearance.

PV (photovoltaic) cells can be integrated directly into your property's buildings — making them a good fit for residential homes, retail centers, office buildings and other facilities.

Designing a building-integrated PV system requires a careful consideration of your property to identify how and where to put solar components. For this reason, your choice of an installer is critical.

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Benefits of Building-Integrated PV

In a building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system, solar components form a key part of your facility. Typically, this involves the use of PV panels instead of conventional roofing, window or scaffolding materials, though alternative design possibilities are constantly evolving with the introduction of new technology.

BIPV offers a number of benefits when compared to conventional solar panel installations:

  • In a BIPV system, PV cells are less bulky and obtrusive. Treating the solar installation as part of the building itself, rather than as an add-on, allows for a more unified look and feel that retrofit panels can’t offer. This also helps you work around homeowners associations’ rules and related bylaws limiting the use of rooftop solar systems.
  • BIPV systems allow for maximum exposure to sunlight and, as a result, maximum energy generation. They can have a larger surface area than conventional rooftop installations, particularly when building a new project from the ground up. BIPV panels can also be installed where weight or other concerns would limit the potential for mounting directly onto your roof.
  • BIPV panels are excellent multitaskers. By serving as both a solar panel and a building component, BIPV systems generate energy, provide insulation, deaden noise and contribute to the overall structural integrity of your property. This saves you money and reduces the waste involved in manufacturing and installing separate roofing, wall or other components.

Building-integrated PV systems can be expensive however, and thin-film materials used in certain BIPV applications lack the efficiency of conventional solar panels. To determine whether or not the use of building-integrated PV components is the right choice for your facility, contact Empire to arrange a consultation today.


Because they are integrated into the building itself, BIPV systems are typically only installed on new buildings, or when replacing a roof or other large component on an existing property. The amount of work and expense involved in retrofitting an otherwise fine building with a BIPV system usually prohibits its usefulness in these situations.

BIPV systems are most commonly found in new housing as well as forward-thinking commercial and non-profit facilities. As with any type of solar installation, smart engineering and quality products play a key role in the overall effectiveness of the system.

If you’re considering adding BIPV panels to an upcoming project, we’ll work directly with your team every step of the way, from design and purchasing to overseeing the installation.

Workng with Empire

At Empire, our engineering team has more than 120 years of combined experience performing solar installations for both residential and commercial clients of every size. Whether you simply want to bring solar to your home in a way that minimizes aesthetic disruption, or you want a complete commercial system that drives ongoing value for your organization, we can help.

It all begins with a comprehensive site assessment, where we’ll discuss your options with you in great detail, and develop a plan for moving forward. To learn more about the benefits an integrated PV system can bring to your property, contact our team today.

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