Companies operating in this arena include: Kyocera through their solar subsidiary Kyocera Solar Corporation and XsunX, Inc., a developer of Power Glass -- a solar glass product that allows photovoltaic material in the form of photoelectric panels, to be incorporated into the design of buildings providing additional sources for power production, as well as national builder Centex Corporation.
Many believe that green building represents the future of construction, design and renovation as the industry, government and society moves towards the reduction of resources, energy independence and environmental protection. In addition, rising costs of heating and cooling, issues with health conditions due to poor air quality and disposal problems associated with construction waste and debris can be addressed as builders move towards green building techniques and materials. What was once considered to be a fad is proving itself to be here for the long run.
A significant component of the industry's increasing attention towards green building is the growing demand for Building Integrated Photovoltaics, which integrates the process for energy generation technology into building design and materials. In the use of BIPV technologies, the solar power elements actually become an integral part of the building, often serving as the exterior weathering skin, achieving two purposes -- producing electricity and replacing construction materials. XsunX's Power Glass technology is a current example of this as it provides glass manufacturers and builders with the opportunity to turn the glass skin of modern high rise and commercial buildings into massive power generating systems and the resulting power produced can be used to power lights, elevators and other building power needs, explains Mr. Tom Djokovich, XsunX's CEO.
Helping to drive the renewable energy market is the rising demand for electrical power. In the U.S., this demand is anticipated to grow substantially from less than 0.4 GW in 2003 to 200 GW by 2030.The growth in installed solar systems would equate to the same amount of new solar electrical production by 2030 as 40 new large nuclear facilities. As Mr. Djokovich explains, "Electrical power generation is rapidly becoming an issue of not how much fuel is needed to meet growing power generation demands, but rather the cost of building new power generation facilities, distribution networks, and dealing with the environmental impacts.''
Solar Photovoltaics (PV) has recently received added support from the Bush administration as part of the Government's Homeland Security initiatives towards energy independence and alternative resources. A budget proposal sent to Congress by President Bush included what the solar industry is calling "a promising new initiative" to advance the development of crystalline silicon solar power. The Crystalline Silicon Initiative seeks to re-establish U.S. market leadership and technology ownership in the PV industry. Many industry leaders believe the initiative will start solar power on a path to deliver half of all new U.S. electrical generation by 2025.
Growing interest in solar integrated products has also experienced a tremendous boost from the housing boom, which has accelerated installations of PV in residential and commercial buildings. California is at the forefront of this increased demand for real estate and solar products. Premier Homes, Pardee Homes, Morrison Homes and Davis Energy Group working with Centex Corporation (NYSE: CTX) are examples of builders integrating solar PV in homes and subdivisions within California, taking advantage of the declining costs of technology, and the rising costs of current energy sources. According to Claudia Chandler, the California Energy Commission's Assistant Executive Director, solar power in California is here for the long run. In 1998 California generated six megawatts from photovoltaic panels compared to current-day generation levels of 100 megawatts form both commercial and residential buildings.
It is anticipated that this trend towards the incorporation of energy efficient technology in the walls, roofs and windows of residential, commercial and industrial buildings will continue to grow and develop as the forces of increased demand for resources, Homeland Security and the ongoing housing boom continue to push the envelope. Building Integrated Photovoltaics finds itself immersed in this movement as it offers a viable alternative to overcoming existing energy shortages, rising construction and building maintenance costs and environmental risk.