PV photovoltaic skylights: energy production & UV reduction together

Image source: OnyxSolar, please visit their site below…

My long time buddy, and most excellent architect, John Odom forwarded me an interesting email about PV skylights. He tries to keep me abreast of the latest architectural trends and while “BIPV” or Building-integrated photovoltaics has been around for a while, it is DEFINITELY a popular topic today!

Here’s a brief intro to the subject of BIPV and its components:

Skylights – an integral feature of modern architecture

We are probably all familiar with skylights and their benefits:
+natural light source (healthy and natural as opposed to some forms artificial lighting)
+energy efficient (providing a good thermal barrier and lighting in the daytime, reducing heating/cooling costs as well as lighting costs)
+cool looking 🙂

Solar Panels – Clean Energy Production

Most of use are also familiar with “PV”, or perhaps more commonly known as “solar panels”, for generating electricity. You can find them in space on satellites and space stations… or here on earth powering solar farms, residences and skyscrapers.

I power both my home and office using solar power, and have done so since the early 90s. The ability to generate electricity from sunlight, and to do so for decades, never ceases to amaze me!

PV Skylights – the best of both worlds?

Building integrated photovoltaics combines the two into one seamless high-efficiency product. Before you could either have light and thermal protection (skylights etc.) or energy production (PV) but now you can have them both. 🙂 Also, many such building products probably qualify for tax credits in the US and abroad.

I was pretty impressed with the OnxySolar website, it is the one that John sent me and if you are interested the topic you should check it out:

Photovoltaic Skylight (For BIPV) - Onyx Solar - PV Skylight

Photovoltaic Skylight (For BIPV) – Onyx Solar – PV Skylighthttp://www.onyxsolar.com/photovoltaic-skylight.html The Skylight system ensure an optimized PV electrical generation adding multifunctional passive bioclimatic properties of thermal inner comfort since most of the UV and…

Here is a quote of their email which provide some more info (and marketing speak ;-))

Why should you install a photovoltaic skylight?

PV skylights are one of the most interesting solutions for green building. Contemporary architecture looks for cutting edge solutions able to integrate both energy efficiency and aesthetics, a double approach requested by customers.

A PV skylight system allows us to benefit from an optimized PV electrical generation for more than 25 years, and daylighting (semi-transparent systems), at the same time that we can control the solar heat gain entering the building. The system acts as a multifunctional solution, adding passive bioclimatic properties such thermal inner comfort, since 100% of UV radiation and 90% of IR radiation are harvested by the Silicon based material of the glass, and avoiding the aging of the interiors.

Depending on the project needs in terms of insulation, these PV skylights can be customized and modulated in different ways, going even for PV insulating glass units (PVIG) which count on chambers of air for the best U and g values which will enhance the energy efficiency of the building.

Distinction, innovation, aesthetics, leadership. Free electricity from the Sun, tax Incentives, rebates, LEED credits. Sustainability, energy efficiency. State-of-the-art for Green Building.

More info:

Wikipedia page demonstrates a broad range of BIPV products and applications:

Building-integrated photovoltaics - Wikipedia

Building-integrated photovoltaics – Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building-integrated_photovoltaicsBuilding-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic materials that are used to replace conventional building materials in parts of the building envelope such as the roof skylights, or facades…

Pros/Cons of BIPV

I do plan to research the topic a bit more as I still have some questions about:

  • The best BIPV manufacturers (I am familiar with traditional PV manufacturers, but not so much re: BIPV)
  • How does BIPV compare to traditional PV in terms of efficiency
  • How does BIPV cost compare to traditional skylights cost
  • Hos well does BIPV hold up (I have been extremely impressed with solar panel longevity, our panels have held up amazingly well over decades)

If you have any questions about BIPV or anything discussed here, just comment and I will do my best to find out the answers!

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