Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is a growing area within the booming renewable energy industry. Research from NanoMarkets forecasts that the BIPV market is projected to surpass $11 billion by 2016.  Growing from 343 megawatts installed to 3.6 gigawatts installed by 2016.  That’s 3.6 billion watts!  According to an National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) technical report on BIPV, many stakeholders describe BIPV as a multifunctional product—one that acts as both a building material and a device that generates electricity (e.g., a solar shingle).

Most of the residential solar installations are Building Applied Photovoltaics (BAPV), meaning that the solar is a retrofit, added to the roof  after the structure is completed.  BIPV systems replace building elements instead of being applied over other elements.  In this case, we are speaking of carport arrays, and awnings designed to shade building structures.