Fire safety requirements for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV): A cross-country comparison

Yang, Rebecca and Zang, Yukun and Yang, Jiaqi and Wakefield, Ron and Nguyen, Kate and Shi, Long and Trigunarsyah, Bambang and Parolini, Fabio and Bonomo, Pierluigi and Frontini, Francesco and Qi, Dahai and Ko, Yoon and Deng, Xin (2023) Fire safety requirements for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV): A cross-country comparison. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 173. p. 113112. ISSN 13640321

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Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), which can be integrated into the surface of a building (roof or facade), replacing conventional building materials, offer significant contributions to the achievement of net-zero energy buildings. However, fire safety is of vital concern in using BIPV as a construction system in buildings, and it is essential that the application of BIPV as building facades and roofs does not adversely affect the safety of construction products, building occupants and firefighters. As multifunctional products, BIPV modules must satisfy the fire safety requirements of both electrical and building-related sectors. This paper provides a comparison of normative frameworks applicable to BIPV modules in different countries. The comparisons show that IEC 61215 and IEC 61730 are the PV standards used in almost all countries, while the USA and Canada comply with UL1703. Regarding building regulations, the fire safety requirements of BIPV must comply with national/local building regulations. In the countries investigated, each country has fire regulations to guide the fire performance of building elements to which BIPV modules could be applied, including external walls, roofs/skylights, windows and other openings, and ancillary elements/attachments. This report also points out future research directions which would help develop BIPV fire prevention strategies globally. The review of regulations and standards in this paper makes a contribution to the clarification of the performance requirements of fire safety for BIPVs in the investigated countries for BIPVs, which remain barrier to the development of BIPV around the world. Furthermore, the future research directions suggested in this paper will inspire further research in this field.

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