Vehicle-integrated Photovoltaics (VIPV) designates the mechanical, electrical and design-technical integration of photovoltaic modules into vehicles. The PV modules blend seamlessly into the vehicle exterior and are connected to electric loads or the drive battery in electric vehicles. Simultaneously, the PV modules replace other components of the vehicle, e.g. the roof or the bonnet. VIPV increases the mileage of electrically powered vehicles and improves their CO2 balance. The aesthetic expectations on integration into the vehicle design are especially high for cars. For utility vehicles (e.g. trucks and buses), particularly lightweight PV modules are needed to avoid restricting the load capacity. Further application areas include caravans and mobile homes, delivery bicycles, trams, trains, ships, aircraft and drones.
An application example is given by electric cars which are additionally equipped with PV modules. The applied PV modules usually meet additional aesthetic requirements, e.g. special designs and curvature are possible. The additional electricity generated on the vehicle can increase the mileage by several kilometres per day. In refrigerated vans, the PV electricity can be used for electric Peltier cooling of the load. In this way, the same cooling power can be generated with less usage of the refrigeration unit and the diesel consumption can be reduced. The integration of PV modules onto the refrigerated compartment requires particularly lightweight modules which do not compromise the thermal insulation.