An emerging market for solar cells integrated into rooftops, windows and other building facades is poised to quadruple in value in the next five years, according to a report from Pike Research.
The annual value of the so-called BIPV market will grow from $606 million in 2012 to more than $2.4 billion in 2017, according to the study. If Pike Research's forecast pans out, it could provide the building and solar panel industries--both of which have suffered over the past year--with a new revenue stream.
The total capacity of BIPV systems worldwide will grow from just over 400 megawatts in 2012 to 2,250 MW in 2017, a more than five-fold increase, said Pike Research.
There are 53 companies in the BIPV industry right now, according to Pike. And there were most certainly other defunct companies which failed to survive the consolidation within the solar industry. For instance, Global Solar Energy, a Tucson, Ariz.-based manufacturer of thin-film solar products laid off about 95 employees and halted operations earlier this month. And in June, Konarka Technologies, which developed plastic that converted light into electricity and could be manufactured into a number of end-use products including curtain walls, shut down.
Pike Research says the BIPV industry will move beyond "overhead" applications, such as solar shingles. In the future, manufacturers will develop BIPV products that put the entire building to use, allowing the structure to produce its own power and feed additional power into the grid system, Pike's research director Kerry-Ann Adamson said in a release accompanying the report.