Journal of Energy in Southern Africa
On-line version ISSN 2413-3051
Print version ISSN 1021-447X
The installation of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) has been increasing rapidly throughout the world, yet little, if at all, has been reported in South Africa. The country has abundant solar energy resource estimated to be between 4.5 and 6.5 kWh/m2/day, yet solar energy contributes less than 1% to the country's energy mix. More than 90% of the country's primary energy comes from fossil fuels leading to an unsustainable per capita carbon footprint of about 9 tCO2e. Previous research has shown that photovoltaics can significantly augment the constrained fossil fuel generated electricity supply. This paper discusses the practical application of photovoltaics as a building element in energy efficient residential housing. The study also aims to determine the feasibility of implementing BIPV systems in the residential sector in South Africa. An energy efficient solar house was designed using simulation software and constructed. Ordinary solar panels were integrated onto the north facing roof of the house. A data acquisition system that monitors meteorological conditions and BIPV output was installed. It was observed that elevated back of module temperatures reaching up to 75°C on sunny days decreased module efficiency by up to 20% in the afternoon. The temperature profiles reveal that BIPV products can significantly influence indoor heating and cooling loads. The research seeks to raise awareness among housing stakeholders and solar industry policy makers of the feasibility of BIPV in South Africa.
Keywords : BIPV generator; energy efficient housing; capacity utilization; economic feasibility; payback period.