Safety of laminated BIPV glasses: progresses towards product qualification

Bonomo, Pierluigi and Parolini, Fabio and Frontini, Francesco (2020) Safety of laminated BIPV glasses: progresses towards product qualification. In: Engineered Transparency. (In Press)

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One of the most used products in the construction sector is the glass. The increasing demand for decentralized renewable energy led to a growing demand for integrating photovoltaics (PV). Inte-grating PV in laminated glasses, today requires an accurate performance assessment in accord-ance with construction norms and PV standards, depending on the type of use in building. Per-formances of laminated glass or insulating glass, are well described in building regulations. Har-monized standards originated from the Construction Product Regulation (CPR) determine the product quality, the design principles and the certification strategies in the EU framework. Moreo-ver, these standards today refer to the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) where wiring or electrical connections are concerned. However, since standards derived from LVD are basically developed for conventional PV plants, there is still a missing gap if PV cells and related electrical components are included in a construction element. The regulatory framework for glass in building (ISO 12543, EN 12600 ) actually do not include any specific reference to electrical limit states or to the presence of PV cells (e.g. as defined in IEC 61730 and IEC 61215). Thus, when today a BIPV glass is tested for use in building, there is no information about the potential effects of elec-trical parts on glass classification, performance, etc. both in terms of safety and operation condi-tions. Vice versa if such a component was tested as a traditional PV module, all the building relat-ed performance wouldn’t be considered. Even though the EN 50583 made a first step towards a normative harmonization, the complex and costly testing approach deriving from the separated application of LVD and CPR, due to the lack of dedicated procedures for active building compo-nents, are the strong missing gap and barrier for the market. This work aims to provide an overview of the current normative framework in BIPV field, the definition of the relevant missing gaps, and the key-aspects for grounding a new testing approach with a focus on flat glass products integrat-ing PV cells. The paper will include hints for developing new testing procedures according to a performance-based approach and considering the aspects of multifunctionality. As a summary of the progresses under development in the H2020 BIPVBOOST project (, the safety-related performance of a BIPV glass will be discussed, referred to both building and electri-cal aspects. The implementation of such a new qualification procedures, as a follow-up of this pre-normative research, it is expected to provide a starting point for support operators and normative upgrading accordingly, ensuring a higher product quality and consequently a market pull of BIPV in construction sector towards a life cycle cost reduction

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