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A Lifecycle Cost-Benefit Analysis of Low-Carbon Powerhouses in Buildings in China

Published in 2016 by
  • Usha Iyer-Raniga (Scientific and Technical)

Type of document: Scientific, technical, research

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) refers to photovoltaic or solar cells that are integrated into the building envelope to generate ‘free’ energy from sunshine. BIPV product development has been ongoing for the past 30 years, but their practical applications have been limited in China. Clients and end users lack knowledge of cost analysis, to make more accurate decisions on use of PV products.

Further information

BIPV cost-benefit analysis should include not only initial costs but also ongoing maintenance and repair costs throughout the building life. Moreover, the scope and factors of cost-benefit analysis should be extended to include the community and environment aspects. In a cost-benefit analysis, various risk and opportunity factors such as electricity price, and government support should be considered. However, up until now, there have been limited studies that analyzed cost-benefit factors of BIPV from a supply chain perspective. Most previous studies focused on the Building Attached PV projects. This research aims to gain an in-depth understanding on the costs - benefits of BIPV. A real-life BIPV case drawn from China was studied by using the life cycle assessment (LCA) method. The outcome of this research will contribute to revenue projections to the industry by understanding the investment risk and benefit of using BIPV in buildings. The original contribution of this study is a lifecycle cost assessment model of BIPV projects which include comprehensive cost and benefit factors during the project lifespan.