Document Type

Technical Report


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Electrical and electronic engineering, Energy and fuels

Publication Details

Technological University Dublin, 2015.


PV Crops is evaluating the use of battery technologies such as Vanadium Redox within Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) applications. However, their inclusion into BIPV systems will inevitably raise the overall costs of such systems. As a result, PV Crops is looking at other measures in parallel to help lower the costs associated with such systems. One particular area of interest is the potential secondary re-use of battery technology from Electric Vehicle (EV) market as a way of mitigating high costs of such systems as well as a means of encouraging battery recycling.

The global installed capacity for Photovoltaic’s (PV) connected to the grid was 139 GW in 2013. This is expected to increase to an installed capacity of between 321 GW (low growth scenario) and 430 GW (high growth scenario) by 2018 [1]. Approximately two thirds of PV installations are connected to buildings, with the remainder accounting for large scale utility ground mounted systems. Like most renewable energies, BIPV generation suffers from intermittency and therefore when insufficient supply exits demand is met by importing electricity from the grid. Similarly, when supply exceeds demand surplus electricity is exported to the grid. The introduction of storage into BIPV systems negates the need for regular import/export of electricity from the grid which can lead to voltage and frequency disturbances. As a result, it allows for greater renewable energy penetration at the distribution grid by balancing supply and demand at a local level. Furthermore, integrating storage into BIPV systems can potentially assist the grid operator by facilitating demand response and frequency regulation which can help stabilise the network.

The secondary re-use of batteries within the automotive industry is also being considered as a mechanism to improve the affordability of purchasing such vehicles. Currently, the battery component within Plug-in Hybrid (PEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) represents a significant proportion of the overall capital costs. However, batteries that reach the end of their useful lifespan within the automotive industry can still be considered for other applications as between 70-80% of their original capacity still remains. In extending the useful lifespan of EV batteries for secondary applications such as BIPV, the re-sale value could potentially make EV purchase more attractive from an economic standpoint.