4 Times Square, the 48-story skyscraper at the corner of Broadway and 42nd St, is a highly visible example of PV integration in commercial construction. The PV curtain wall, a photovoltaic skin that uses thin-film PV panels to replace traditional glass cladding material, extends from the 35th to the 48th floor on the south and east walls of the building.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) is a technology that converts sunlight (solar radiation) into direct current electricity. Used to generate and supply solar electricity in commercial and residential applications, PV solar systems have become a familiar form of renewable energy and technological advances are reducing costs, making these systems more affordable and further increasing the return on initial investment.
In addition to the traditional solar panel arrays, there are multiple products available or soon to be available that explore the many ways solar can be integrated into new and existing structures.
From flexible panels to thin-film solar cells to integrated roofing tiles and transparent PV glass and resins—PV is becoming a versatile and sustainable addition to the future of building materials, construction practices, and urban development.
Best Energy Power, a NYBuild2019 sponsor, has been a major force in both commercial and residential solar PV Installations in the New York Metro with the largest market share in the 5 boroughs of NYC. Many projects have considerable thought put into the use of sustainable and innovative building technologies/solutions to further advance performance and efficiency.
Building Code is being adapted and an increasing number of cities, local jurisdictions and even states have solar mandates of one form or another on new buildings. This has begun to normalize solar, but additional cost for photovoltaic (PV) systems remains a concern. Building materials and cladding products with photovoltaic capabilities could be more economical than purchasing the products separately.
Builders and developers have also begun to look toward building integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) as a means of integrating solar systems into the construction process saving time and money. Although the majority of BIPVs currently on the market are most applicable to new construction, there are still a large percentage of structures being remodeled or rehabbed and would require retrofitted solar products and systems.
Look for new products offering photovoltaic capabilities, like glass or panel railing, to provide solutions across a larger number of applications. As energy integration into the built environment evolves, new innovation and technologies will be developed…keeping the future looking bright.