Environmental payback time analysis of a roof-mounted building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system in Hong Kong

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154 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the investigation results of the energy payback time (EPBT) and greenhouse-gas payback time (GPBT) of a rooftop BIPV system (grid-connected) in Hong Kong to measure its sustainability. The 22. kWp PV array is facing south with inclined angle of 22.5°. The hourly solar irradiance and ambient air temperature from 1996 to 2000 were used as weather data input. The annual power output was found to be 28,154. kWh. The embodied energy for the whole system in the lifespan was 205,816. kWh, including 71% from PV modules and 29% from balance of system (BOS). The percentage of embodied energy for silicon purification and processing reached 46%. The EPBT of the PV system was 7.3. years, and the GPBT was estimated to be 5.2. years considering fuel mixture composition of local power stations. This paper also discussed the EPBTs for different orientations, ranging from 7.1. years (optimal orientation) to 20.0. years (west-facing vertical PV façade). The results show that the 'sustainability' of a PV system is affected by its installation orientation and location. Choosing locations and orientations with higher incident solar irradiance is one key for the sustainability of BIPV technology applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3625-3631
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Energy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • Building-integrated photovoltaic
  • Embodied energy
  • Environmental payback time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Energy(all)


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