Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), with which energy can be generated on housing facades, is becoming increasingly important. In order to implement customers’ design wishes and nevertheless be able to produce small quantities cost-effectively, the BIPVpod research project is focussing on the industrial research and development of improved methods for the production of BIPV modules. The project aims to optimise the production of customer-specific "Panels on Demand" of a fixed PV size and colouring for small production batches at low additional costs.

The basis for the technology being developed in the research project is the subsequent processing of semi-finished photovoltaic panels. Based on this, the DLR – Institute for Networked Energy Systems – in Oldenburg is working on the subsequent colouring of photovoltaic thin-film modules for building integration. In addition, innovative laser processes are being researched at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK 5) – Photovoltaics, in Jülich, that will enable the monolithic module interconnection for mass production. Finally, 3D-Micromac AG in Chemnitz is developing laser technologies to adapt the PV modules in variable sizes, as required.

In order to assess the potential of this technology, four different BIPV applications are being developed and tested as part of the joint project: a facade system, a roof system for new buildings, a roof system for the renovation of existing buildings, and PV in double insulating glass.

BIPVpod is a SOLAR-ERA.NET project launched in June 2017, consisting of a German and a Dutch consortium. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is funding the German consortium for a period of three years.