It is still the case that most PV arrays on buildings are installed for reasons that do not include cost-effectiveness. However, that could change if the cost of the PVs is absorbed into the overall cost of a building refurbishment.
The façades of most commercial offices are of the curtain wall variety, which can be relatively easily dismantled. Re-façading presents an ideal opportunity for employing building-integrated renewable energy. Integrating PVs into a curtain wall can be a cost-effective solution when the avoided cost of a conventional solution is taken into account. This is what persuaded the Co-operative Insurance Society to refurbish the service element of the CIS Tower in Manchester with PVs. It is the first example in the UK of a really ambitious commercial PV installation as a retrofit strategy with an estimated output of 180,000 kWh/ year (see Fig. 15.7).
Was this article helpful?
The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.