But for me, as an architect committed to buildings that gobble up less of that generated energy – or better still give back as much as they take – these big news always concentrate too much on the big items like fields of solar collectors working as centralised generators.
I personally think the real future is in building integrated photovoltaics, and the distributed generation which they make possible. Quite frankly, I think that a building with good integrated photovoltaics is just much more sexy than a great big field of concentrating collectors.Nevertheless, the central issue is how do all those dispersed BIPV integrate with the large-scale energy grid. So I thought it was a good excuse to point interested readers at a surprisingly readable source of information, on how much progress has been made in the world's most committed and advanced market.
The European Photovoltaics Industry Association has put out a short version of 'Connecting the Sun'. It is, as I say, a surprisingly readable report on the stuff that a normal architect, or possibly even a normal building engineer may dismiss as all too hard, all too big, and altogether too much somebody else's business. This report is not specifically about buildings. But if you want to bolster your faith in making the effort to integrate photovoltaics into a building that you design, it's well worth the added distraction to at least skim the eighteen pages or so.
Why the odd headline to this post? Well, I live in hope that all those climate change skeptics try reading this little report, too. At least then they would confine themselves to just arguing about the evidence of global warming, but would stop knocking the development of sustainable energy sources. They are good for the planet, and good for us, regardless.
Download the short version of the report here.