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Commonwealth Biogas/PV Mini-Grid Renewable Resources RD&D Program:  Building Integrated PV Testing and Evaluation Project

Part of the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, this PV system evaluation project, managed by Endecon Engineering, provides side-by-side evaluation of available PV systems and component technologies..  The BIPV Test Project was initiated to provide the following:

Real-world performance data

Internet-accessible performance comparisons

Systems optimized for the California market; results applicable to all markets

Consumer Confidence Guidelines (Consumer's Report for PV)

Purchase guidance to Commonwealth's BIPV installation program

To compile objective, consumer-friendly information on the costs and performance parameters of typical commercially available PV systems and component technologies, the project performs side-by-side evaluation at two test sites, one in Southern California (commercial systems), the other in Northern California (residential systems).  Qualified objective performance information is not currently available from any one source and is needed by the PV-buying public. 

PV systems are installed on either a commercial building rooftop or a mock-up residential roof top and monitored for 12 months to provide real-world performance data relevant to BIPV applications. Installation and operational design features, flaws, weak points are evaluated and the information fed back to the manufacturer.  Factors affecting overall system value are assessed, including ease of installation, component selection, component failures, and performance.

This information is compiled in a Consumer Confidence Guideline that features consumer-friendly ratings and comparisons. Manufacturers and system integrators should also find this information valuable in selecting individual components as well as designing and installing PV systems. In addition, the project results will be used to provide purchase guidance to the other components of the Commonwealth Building Integrated PV Program.

System descriptions along with historic and real-time performance data are available online via the Commonwealth Program web site , along with reports and topical papers providing more detailed performance comparisons of installed systems.

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