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demand. However, the cost of BIPV is still expensive and uilding Integrated long term strategies have to Photovoltaic or BIPV is be adopted for Malaysia to an application where solar reduce the cost of BIPV PV modules are integrated namely (a) Establishment of into the building structures. BIPV Information Services, The integration could be Awareness and Capacity made by either installing the Building Programs (b) PV modules on top of exisDevelopment of BIPV ting structures or by using K.Sopian1, A.H. Haris2, D. Rouss3 Market Enhancement and the PV modules as part of the and M.A.Yusof4 Infrastructure Development building materials. PV 1 (c) Improvement of Policy Department of Mechanical and Material modules could also be used and Financial Frameworks Engineering, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia as building elements Supportive for BIPV Market 43600 Bangi Selangor - Malaysia (facades, roofs, walls, glass), Sustainability and (d) 2 and as non-building eleTNB Research Sdn Bhd Establishment of competitive ments (sunscreen, sunshade). No. 1 Lorong Ayer Hitam, Kawasan Institusi local BIPV manufacturing BIPV application will result Penyelidekan industries and R&D. The in the production of quality 4300 Kajang, Selangor - Malaysia outcome of these strategies electricity very close to the 3 will strengthen the industry, Enecolo Ltd, Lindhofstrasse 521 I CH 8617 demand points. This will consumers and policy/deciMonchaltorf I - Switzerland directly improve energy effision makers. These will ensu4 ciency and reduce electrical Mensilin Holdings Sdn Bhd re the increase of BIPV insdistribution losses. The prePetaling Jaya, Selangor - Malaysia talled capacity by 300% in sent installed capacity of the year 2010; thus, the longBIPV in Malaysia is 400 term cost reduction of the technology via the increase in kWp. A photovoltaic installation in Malaysia would yield demand, economies of scale and competitive local manufacaround 1100 kWh/kWp per year. The potential of BIPV in the turing. residential, commercial and industrial sector is estimated to Keywords : BIPV potential, energy yield estimates, strategies be 11,000 MWp or 11 GWp which could provide more than 12 for BIPV development. TWh solar energy covering 20% of the national energy


Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) in Malaysia Potential, Current Status Strategies For Long Term Cost Reduction

1. Introduction Photovoltaic technologies have significant long term potential to provide sustainable energy for the worlds needs. Photovoltaic are silent, clean in operation, highly reliable, low maintenance, and extremely robust, with expected lifetime of at least 20 or 30 years. They are also very modular, and can be adapted for many locations or easily extended. Solar electricity can also displace fossil fuel use with many environmental benefits. The energy involved in the manufacture of the panels can be quickly overtaken by the energy produced by the photovoltaic panels. One of the most attractive applications is the use of photovoltaic on buildings, commonly known as Building Integrated Photovoltaic or BIPV [1]. Photovoltaic has huge potential in this sector, offering several advantages. When integrated into the fabric of a building,

it can displace other material and replacing conventionally building material, thus saving some costs. A variety of roof tiles and sheet materials are also on the market, and there are purpose-designed mounting and integration systems to improve appearance and weather proofing as well as making the installation process easier. Building Integrated Photovoltaic needs no extra land, and it generates at the point of use, thus reducing transmission losses. If used for domestic electricity supply, it displaces purchase electricity, and exports the surplus to the grid. Net metering is an important issue in building integrated photovoltaic application. The owner of a grid-connected PV system can, not only buy, but can also sell, electricity. This is because electricity generated by the PV system can be used on site or fed through a meter into the utility grid. When a


K.Sopian, A.H. Haris, D. Rouss and M.A.Yusof /ISESCO Science and Technology Vision - Volume 1 (May 2005) (40-44)

home or business requires more electricity than the PV array is generating (for example, in the evening), the need is automatically met by power from the utility grid. When the home or business requires less electricity than the PV array is generating, the excess is fed (or sold) back to the utility. Used this way, the utility backs up the PV like batteries do in standalone systems thus eliminating the need for a battery bank that adds to the cost of the system. At the end of the month, a credit for electricity sold gets deducted from charges for electricity purchased. Unlike pioneering nations such as Germany or Japan, Malaysia need only to adapt and improve international findings, develop appropriate framework to facilitate and encourage the BIPV business chain development. This remainder of this paper is organized a follows, (a) solar radiation availability in Malaysia (b) potential for BIPV (c) current status in the application of BIPV and (d) strategies for the long term cost reduction of BIPV in Malaysia.

The monthly average daily solar radiation in Malaysia is 4000 - 5000 Whr/m2, with the monthly average daily sunshine duration ranging from 4 hr to 8 hr [2]. Chuah and Lim (1981) have performed statistical analysis of solar radiation data for three cities namely Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Baru [3]. The analysis shows that days with low radiation occur scarcely in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Of these two, days with high solar radiation occur more frequently in Penang than in Kuala Lumpur. However, Kota Baru experiences a larger variability of total radiation, extremely low solar radiation for long periods occur during the north-east monsoon season, while high radiation for long periods occur during the south-west monsoon. Estimates for the urban areas are important for building integrated photovoltaic applications, It can be seen, that the region Klang valley (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Seremban) has the lowest irradiance value. Around Penang (Georgetown, north-west coast) and Kota Kinabalu were the highest values. Figure 1 shows the annual average daily global solar irradiation for Malaysia.


Malaysia lies entirely in the equatorial region. The climate is governed by the regime of the north-east and south-west monsoons which blows alternatively during the course of the year. The north-east monsoon blows from approximately October until March, and the south-west monsoon between May and September. The period of change between the two monsoons is being marked by heavy rainfall. The period of the south-west monsoon is a drier period for the Peninsula since it is sheltered by the landmass of Sumatra. In general, Sabah and Sarawak receive a greater amount of rainfall than the Peninsula. Hence, heavy rainfall, constantly high temperature and relative humidity characterize the Malaysian climate. Much of the precipitation occurs as thunderstorms and the normal pattern is one of heavy falls within a short period. Generally, chances of rain falling in the afternoon or early evening are high compared with that in the morning. The country experiences more than 170 rainy days; however, an area may have a greater number of rainy days and yet receive a lesser amount of rain in a year than another area with smaller number of rainy days but receiving its rain in heavy spells. Ambient temperature remains uniformly high over the country throughout the year. Average ambient temperatures are between 26.0 to 32.0 C. Most locations have a relative humidity of 80 88%, rising to nearly 90 % in the highland areas, and never falling below 60%.


Ideally, the orientation of a photovoltaic panel must face south towards the equator, but Malaysia being close to the equator offers an advantage for innovative architectural ecstatic and sensible design with varieties of building orientations and shading considerations. Table 1 shows the estimates for the annual energy yield from photovoltaic installations located at the various locations. A solar photovoltaic installation in Malaysia would produce energy of about 900 1400 kWh/kWp per year depending on the locations. Areas located at the northern and middle part of the Peninsula and the coastal part of Sabah and Sarawak would yield higher performan-

Figure 1 Estimates of the Annual Average Daily Global Solar Irradiation


K.Sopian, A.H. Haris, D. Rouss and M.A.Yusof /ISESCO Science and Technology Vision - Volume 1 (May 2005) (40-44)

ce. An installation in Kuala Lumpur would yield around 1100 kWh/kWp per year (Alamsyah et al, 2004).

1995 Residential






3,441,169 3,580,874 3,657,781 3,909,911 4,092,106 4,186,799

The potential of BIPV in the residential, Commercial 524,224 576,982 644,509 718,232 764,480 792,887 commercial and industrial sector is huge. For the residential sector, approximately 2,500,000 houIndustrial 14,174 14,669 16,655 18,689 20,584 21,235 seholds are suitable for BIPV. Some houses have Table 2 Number of Electricity Consumers in Malaysia obstacles on its roof, which makes PV not suiting. A rough building evaluation assumes about The recent energy efficiency (EE) initiative by the 1/5 are not suitable due to architectural constrains. A typical Ministry of Energy Communications and Multimedia roof surface of a household, bungalow is approximately 10 Malaysia (MECM) is to showcase an example of a low enerm2. In addition, about 5 % of the total residential consumers gy office. Hence, the new MECM building in Putrajaya, or are flats or apartments that are not suitable for BIPV. simply known as MECM LEO building (currently under Most commercial business is located in urban areas and a construction), would be the most energy efficient building in potential for PV application. Approximately 45,000 building Malaysia, with the aim to achieve less than 100 kWh/m2/year can be considered for BIPV. About 10% of these building are of building energy consumption. This initiative also brings in not suitable for BIPV due to shading or obstacles on the roof. expertise and transfer of knowledge from Denmark (through Shopping mall and a business park can be assumed to have DANIDA support). The outcome of the initiative is expected 1000 m2 available for BIPV. to further pave the way towards efficient energy utilization in buildings and towards sustainable building development. The industry sector is usually bordering the urban centers. Among others, it would also provide a possible opportunity They offer large roof areas (mainly flat roof) averaging 2000 to introduce zero energy-building concepts through integra2 m . Again 10% of the buildings are not suitable because of tion of solar PV into the building envelopes. influencing factors (shading, construction not able to carry Today, there are more than 400kWp of BIPVs installed in Peninsular Malaysia. These installations are mainly funded Hence, the total available surface for BIPV is by the Malaysia Electricity Supply Industry Trust Account 2 2 110,000,000 m (Residential = 2.5 x 106 x 10 m , Commercial (MESITA) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (local utility), or by 2 2 = 4.0 x104 x 1000 m and Industry = 2.1 x 104 x 2000 m ). the grant from Intensified Research in Priority Areas (IRPA). Considering only the lower value of 1 kWp for every square Some of these pilot grid connected systems are have photometer of available building roof surfaces in these sectors, the voltaic integrated into the building structure. The pilot grid potential is around 11,000 MWp or 11 GWp which could connected systems have be installed including the 3.5 kW provide more than 12 TWh solar energy. Today this would rooftop of College of Engineering, Universiti Tenaga cover 20% of the national energy demand. At todays prices Nasional (UNITEN), the 6.4 kW ground based at the Solar of RM25,000/KWp (or RM25 million/MW) the total BIPV Energy Research Park, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia potential of 11GWp presents a total business potential of RM (UKM), the 5 kW Solar Hydrogen Eco-House, Universiti 265 billion. Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), 15 kW installation at the CURRENT STATUS ON BIPV International Islamic University (UIA), and the 8kWp BP petrol station along the KESAS highway. The BP petrol staDespite the abundant resource, solar PV applications in tion was officiated by Her Majesty the Queen of England Malaysia are limited to mainly stand-alone PV systems, espeduring Her royal visit to Malaysia for the Commonwealth cially for rural electrification where the technology costs are game. NLCC Architects Sdn Bhd of Malaysia and highly subsidized. Other minor applications being promoted Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy of Germany have include, telecommunication, street and garden lighting and constructed a 3.19 kW BIPV project in SIRIM. Ministry of recently for powering parking ticket dispensing machines. Science, Technology and the Environment of Malaysia through the Industrial Grant Scheme funded the project. The Prototype Solar House has 3 PV Locations Penang Ipoh Johore Kuala Kota systems integrated into 3 different roofs Baru Lumpur Baru (Monocrystalline module 1.05 kW, Amorphous sili1286 1253 1171 1132 1229 Energy yield con PV module / thin film 1.02kW, and Polycrystalline module 1.12 kW). The installation Kota Kuala Kuching Bandar Baru Kuantan Locations is a typical size for PV installations on private living Kinabalu Trengganu Bangi houses (single family houses). It can produce a significant share of the overall energy consumption in the 1369 1235 1157 1072 1154 Energy yield household and fits in the typical roof area of such houses. Innovative mounting strategies have also Table 1 Estimates of Annual Energy Yield for Various Locations been incorporated in the project. The PV modules and in Malaysia (kWh/kWp) additional weight).


K.Sopian, A.H. Haris, D. Rouss and M.A.Yusof /ISESCO Science and Technology Vision - Volume 1 (May 2005) (40-44)

inverters used were imported from various parts of the world. The system performances indicated that some of the pilot PV systems are capable to produce electricity of about 1,200 kWh/kWp annually. The Technology Park Malaysia (TPM) runs a 362 kW system at Bukit Jalil. It comprises of 4824 fixed mounted roof modules. The system is coupled with a UPS battery bank and a generator backup. The PV installation at TPM is claimed to be the biggest in Asia Pacific region. It also demonstrated Malaysian capability to handle and manage large PV installations. Other BIPV installations could be found at SIRIM Berhad, TNBRs nursery, universities, and a private school. Figure 2 shows example of the existing BIPV projects in Malaysia.


still relatively high as shown in Figure 3 [4].This is because the product is still very new and there is no local market demand for it. Furthermore, the local components and services tend to be overpriced. Additionally, the main components such as the PV module and the inverter are still imported.

Source: TNBR

Source: NLCC Architect & SIRIM Bhd

The widespread application of this technology can be enhanced if the long term cost of BIPV technology within the Malaysian market is reduce, which could subsequently, pass on to its neighbouring and global markets. Hence, several strategies have to be employed for the long term cost reduction of BIPV namely (a) Establishment of BIPV Information Services, Awareness and Capacity Building Programs (b) Development of BIPV Market Enhancement and Infrastructure Development (c) Improvement of Policy and Financial Frameworks Supportive for BIPV Market Sustainability and (d) Establishment of competitive local BIPV manufacturing industries and R&D. Moreover, these strategies should be addressed in an integrated manner. BIPV Information Services, Awareness and Capacity Building Programs will enhance the level of understanding and awareness in an extensive education campaign and capacity building program. The level of awareness for the public in general and especially policy makers will be raised to the point that they understand the technology, are aware of its true benefits and ecological significances, understand the purpose and appreciate the functions of the technology. Policy makers shall further appreciate the possibilities for the market and the industry and are able to introduce suitable policy, regulatory initiatives and special electricity tariff for grid interconnection. Activities such as establishing information services, seminars, workshops and capacity building program will improve the level of competency and quality of work of the service providers, architects, engineers and developers. In addition, establishment of the information resource centre, database and website will provide the end users the required information for installing BIPV technologies. BIPV Market Enhancement and Infrastructure Development will addressed the technical feasibility and economic viability of BIPV technology via implementation of a number of demonstration projects. These projects will further provide a wider level of acceptance and better understanding of the technology and its benefits. The demonstration projects will also pave the way for providing first hand experiences for improvements in the training and skills of the stakeholders as well as increased efforts in R&D activities. The demonstration projects (500 kWp) and a national kick-off roof-top program (>1 MWp) similar to many programs implemented in Japan and Germany will provide adequate knowledge and experience to architects, engineers, project developers, policy makers and other stakeholders for Malaysias future sustainable implementation of subsequent follow-up program. Relevant standards must be updated and new guidelines must be drafted providing technical assistan-

Source: TPM & PJI Holdings

Figure 2 Examples of BIPV Applications in Malaysia

Source: UKM & Arkitek Urbanisma

Presently, the cost of the BIPV installation is high. However, the total cost of a BIPV system is constantly decreasing. Within four years, the costs of the BIPV systems have reduced by almost 60%. However, the main cost of the BIPV system is still the solar PV module. In comparison to PV system in other parts of the world, the cost in Malaysia is

Figure 3 BIPV cost comparison per kWp (IEA-PVPS)


K.Sopian, A.H. Haris, D. Rouss and M.A.Yusof /ISESCO Science and Technology Vision - Volume 1 (May 2005) (40-44)

ce to the industry. BIPV Policies and Financing Mechanisms Program will involve activities intended to enhance the capacity of policy makers in coming up with appropriate, proactive and integrated plans and policies that will facilitate the development of a conducive business environment for BIPV and thus enhancing further cost reduction of the technology. Based on various targeted research activities, a compilation of policy, legal, institutional, financial and fiscal measures will be proposed to the government of Malaysia. These frameworks will enable the formulation of a national BIPV target in the 10th Malaysian Plan (10MP) (2010-2015), supported with suitable and customized mechanisms for the local condition. Industry and R&D Enhancement Program will systematically strengthen and organize the human resource capacity in R&D and manufacturing. Partnership and/or joint ventures with international companies will upgrade local companies, R&D institutions and the technical infrastructure for testing and certification facilities will be established to ensure only high quality commercial BIPV products for the local and international market. These strategies are instrumental in the successful any future national BIPV program. The outcome of these strategies will strengthen the industry, consumers and policy/decision makers. These will ensure the increase of BIPV installed capacity and the long-term cost reduction of the technology via the increase in demand, economies of scale and competi6. Conclusions

tive local manufacturing. Therefore, the cost of BIPV systems and components for an installation in Malaysia will
70 60


50 40 30 20 10 0

Europe USA Malaysia

decrease as shown in Figure 4. and United States in Malaysia, Europe

Figure 4 Present and Predicted Cost Comparisons of BIPV







The cost of photovoltaic have fallen dramatically, and further reductions, down to a quarter of todays level, are confidently predicted, even without a major technological breakthrough. A high proportion of the total cost is still associated with the lack of awareness and experience of photovoltaic in the building industry, limited planning guidance and metering arrangements [5 , 6].

Photovoltaic has huge potential, offering several advantages. When integrated into the fabric of a building, it can displace other material and replacing conventionally building material, thus saving some costs. A variety of roof tiles and sheet materials are also on the market, and there are purpose-designed mounting and integration systems to improve appearance and weather proofing as well as making the installation process easier. Building Integrated Photovoltaic needs no extra land, and it generates at the point of use, thus reducing transmission losses. If used for domestic electricity supply, it displaces purchase electricity, and exports the surplus to the grid. There are over 400 kWp of BIPV installation in Malaysia. The potential of BIPV in the residential, commercial and industrial sector is estimated to be 11,000 MWp or 11 GWp which could provide more than 12 TWh solar energy covering 20% of the national energy demand. Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) applications are among the cost-effective solar energy applications in many developed countries. In Malaysia, however, BIPV technology has been left out as a viable RE application alternative due to its high cost. Several strategies must be adopted to reduce the cost as well as increase penetration of BIPV into the energy markets. The strategies will induce an increase of BIPV application to about 300% by 2010. Hence, the overall capacity (technical, policy, planning, institutional, financial) both in government and the private sector, to develop, design and make use of the energy potential of BIPV and to manufacture local products is significantly improved.

[1] Claus, J. 2003, Solar Architecture - Forerunners of the Solar City, Sun & Wind Energy, BVA Bielefelder Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Vol. 1. pp 16 23 [2] Sopian K. and Othman M.Y., 1992. Estimates of Monthly Average Daily Global Solar Radiation in Malaysia. Renewable Energy, Vol 2(3). pp 319-325 [3] D.G.S. Chuah and S. L. Lee, 1981. Solar Radiation Estimate in Malaysia, Solar Energy 26, 33 40

[4] Hadri, A.H., 2002, Final Report for a Pilot Project to Study the Performance of Grid-Connected Solar Photovoltaic System in Malaysia, TNB Research Sdn Bhd [5] IEA-PVPS, 2002, Trends in Photovoltaic Applications in Selected IEA Countries between 1992 and 2001, Task 1 Report IEA-PVPS T1-11:2002. [6] IEA-PVPS, 2001, Operational Performance, Reliability & Promotion of Photovoltaic Systems, Task 2 Report IEA-PVPS T2-02:2002.