New solar software to create greener buildings

Researchers at RMIT in Melbourne have developed software that allows architects and engineers to incorporate building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) into a building’s conceptual design phase.

BIPVs are building features such as roof tiles, cladding and windows that double as solar panels. They can cover larger areas of buildings than traditional roof-mounted panels, and capture more energy using different angles. Despite the potential, roof-mounted panels continue to dominate the solar market, because BIPVs are harder to source and there is a larger complexity in predicting their performance.

RMIT’s new software is designed to enable architects and engineers to source and cost BIPVs and include them in the design stage. Named BIPV Enabler, it is funded by RMIT and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and is the first of its kind to be designed using Australian data.

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