A physics-based high-resolution BIPV model for building performance simulations

Juliana E. Goncalves (Corresponding author), Twan van Hooff, Dirk Saelens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems are considered a promising solution to increase the share of renewable energy in the built environment. To evaluate the BIPV performance at the building level, the implementation of BIPV models in building performance simulation tools is an essential step. This paper presents the development of a multi-physics BIPV model for the simulation of BIPV facades within the openIDEAS framework for building and district energy simulations. The model couples a high-resolution electrical model to physics-based thermal and airflow models. The combination of these two modelling approaches is not common in BIPV models, particularly for building performance simulations. The model predictions are compared to three months of experimental data from a naturally ventilated BIPV module installed in the facade of a test building in Leuven, Belgium. A good agreement is obtained in terms of both BIPV energy yield and temperature. The error in daily energy yield estimations is on average below 3 % and the error in the monthly energy yield is below 2%. The back-of-module temperature is predicted with a MAE lower than 2 °C and RMSE lower than 5 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-599
Number of pages15
JournalSolar Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


This work has been conducted within the EFRO SALK project, supported by the EU, ERDF, Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the Province of Limburg. Within this project, the authors acknowledge the collaboration with the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) from KU Leuven as well as with the research group PV modules and systems from imec. Regarding the experimental work, the authors also recognise the important role of our technicians Wim Bertels, Patricia Elsen and Jimmy Van Criekingen. Twan van Hooff is currently a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and acknowledges its financial support (project FWO 12R9718N).

FundersFunder number
Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen
European Commission
Fonds Wetenschappelijk OnderzoekFWO 12R9718N
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
European Regional Development Fund


    • Building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV)
    • Building performance simulation (BPS)
    • Energy yield
    • Natural ventilation
    • Temperature


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