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Do North-Facing BIPV Facades in Europe Make Sense?
A. Virtuani, A. Fairbrother, F. Lisco, L.-E. Perret Aebi, N. Wyrsch, C. Ballif
Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV), Carbon Footprint, Integrated PV (I-PV), Carbon Intensity
Finance, Markets and Policies
Subtopic: Policies and Scenarios for Renewables, Societal and Global Challenges
Event: 38th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 7DO.5.2
1608 - 1611
ISBN: 3-936338-78-7
Paper DOI: 10.4229/EUPVSEC20212021-7DO.5.2
0,00 EUR
Document(s): paper, presentation


In order to minimize unnecessary land exploitation and to allow PV to play a major role in the decarbonization of Europe, a massive deployment of PV in Europe should occur through the integration of PV in buildings and infrastructures, including the integration of PV on surfaces with a sub-optimal orientation. To assess the meaningfulness of installing PV on surfaces with sub-optimal orientations, we consider firstly the carbon intensity balances for PV. We show that for several cities (Milan, Frankfurt, La Valletta, …), it becomes obvious that a carbon intensity balance is largely in favor of PV not only for the optimal orientations, but also for less favorable ones: i.e. all the facades, including north-facing ones. For other cities/countries with a very low carbon footprint for the local electricity mixes (e.g. Oslo), the installation of PV may in principle not always be justifiable exclusively from a carbon balance point of view. We should however point out that in countries massively relying on nuclear power for their electricity supply – or planning nuclear phase-outs - other elements should be considered simultaneously. We also highlight the fact that installations in surfaces with less optimal orientations (e.g. north-facing facades) should possibly not be incentivized in the first place, but not expressly “prohibited” (or abandoned), as we have demonstrated that, in several countries, they are fully justifiable from the point of view of a carbon footprint balance. In addition, this may still help in promoting and creating “PV-awareness” among citizens and help architects in preserving building harmony/aesthetics.