When retrofitting an older building to take advantage of solar energy, new panels are more efficient, more versatile, and more aesthetically pleasing than ever before. But for new construction, it’s now possible to do away with panels entirely! New commercial roofing systems function both as solar panels and as the roof itself, combining construction costs to save building owners even more money.
Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels are the latest innovation to hit the solar market, increasing design and installation options for residential and commercial solar consumers seeking to achieve their energy goals. Unlike “traditional” solar installations, in which panels are mounted on frames on top of or nearby the building they provide power to, building-integrated panels blend seamlessly with other construction materials as part of the structure itself. Whether you are building a new home or commercial facility or retrofitting an existing structure, BIPV offers several exciting design possibilities.
Many solar companies have embraced BIPV innovation, creating products that function as both solar panels and construction materials, whether foundational or decorative. One product that we find particularly exciting is Solbrana’s Solar Roof System. It is a “standard commercial single-ply membrane roof system with a standard solar PV system” that functions “as an ‘inseparable engineered system’.”
Financial Benefits of BIPV
Not only do BIPV panels save consumers and builders on construction costs, but they are also helping owners access additional tax credits and incentives. In Solbrana’s case, the firm was “the first company to successfully receive a Private Letter Ruling (PLR), proving its solar solution of harnessing light reflected off the roof made the roof an integral and inseparable part of the solar array.” This allows for purchase and installation costs to “fall into ‘Section 48 energy property’” per the IRS’ tax guidelines, “and qualify for the investment tax credit (ITC),” which “allows for a substantial tax credit at the end of the year” because of immediate depreciation.
Traditional solar panels and construction costs have been classified as “Section 1250 Property,” which depreciates over a 39-year period, making them much less financially viable for many consumers. BIPV panels like Solbrana’s that qualify as “Section 48 energy property” therefore substantially increase consumers’ short and long-term return on their solar investment. Additionally, these products incentivize solar adoption by encouraging builders of new construction (or those replacing existing roofs) to consider adding solar to their plans.
Everything Solar Includes Commercial BIPV Solutions
Our new Everything Solar consumer solar solution enables our clients to maximize their return on investment in solar products by using solar energy more efficiently to power their home or commercial, residential, or industrial building. By combining access to a diverse array of solar solutions, including battery storage, we make it simple for consumers to achieve their ideal solar project, enhancing comfort, control, and savings. In addition, by focusing on comprehensive solar technology solutions such as the Smart Home and the Internet of Things (IOT), we’re working to make them more accessible and understandable to solar consumers.
To learn more about Everything Solar, BIPV products, or our expertise in solar design, construction, project management, and consulting, contact us today!