Design Features of Product-Integrated PV: An Evaluation of Various Factors under Indoor Irradiance Conditions

Georgia Apostolou

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

1301 Downloads (Pure)


This thesis explores the field of product-integrated photovoltaics (PIPV), a term which is used for all types of products that contain solar cells in one or more of their surfaces, aiming at providing power during the product’s use. Product-integrated photovoltaics (PIPV) began to be widely introduced around 2000, although the use of PV systems in products dates back to the 70s. PIPV includes products such as PV-powered boats, aircrafts, cars, bicycles, camping tents, street lights, recycling bins, decorative lights, PV-powered watches, calculators, PV-powered lamps, sensors, chargers, toys, low-powered kitchen appliances, entertainment appliances or PV-powered art objects. The incorporation of PV systems in products could offer various benefits, such as enhanced functionality of the product as a result of energy autonomy, and independence and freedom of use due to the absence of a connection to the electricity grid, as well as the opportunity to reduce the capacity of batteries in portable products and therefore making them more sustainable. Furthermore, photovoltaic products represent a very reliable solution for the supply of electricity in areas, which lack access to an electricity grid.

This thesis is oriented towards the development of scientific and technological knowledge about product-integrated PV (PIPV), as it focuses on the aspects that designers need to take into consideration when designing PV products. This research is interdisciplinary by nature due to its embedding in the field of industrial design engineering, regarding the technological aspects of PV technologies in products and user interaction with PV products. It combines the technical knowledge of PV technologies, indoor irradiance conditions and performance of PV cells and PV products in environments with low irradiance together with the typical behavior of users with these products and the way this behavior influences the performance of the products themselves. Besides being directed towards researchers, results of this study are useful for industrial designers who are developing PV products.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Reinders, Angèle, Supervisor
Award date27 Jun 2016
Print ISBNs978-94-6186-662-2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Georgia Apostolou was born in November 15th, 1986 in Athens, Greece. She studied Mechanical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), where she graduated in 2010. She holds a MSc in Mechanical Engineering and her area of expertise is the alternative sources of energy and mainly solar energy and photovoltaics. In 2011 she moved in The Netherlands to start her PhD at the department of Industrial Design Engineering of Delft University of Technology. Since 2011 she is working together with Prof. dr. Angele Reinders. Her research focuses on photovoltaic products for indoor use, indoor irradiance conditions and users’ interaction with PV products.

Recently Georgia is working at the Center for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH) in northern Greece, Thessaloniki. She is doing research in building sustainability and she is working on the production of a concept product, which aims to reduce the energy misuse and educate users towards a conscious energy usage.
Georgia is also a musician, studying music for over 20 years. She plays classical piano and ney (wind instrument, typical in performance of Ottoman classical repertoire).


  • Photovoltaics
  • PV products
  • PIPV
  • Design Features
  • Users
  • Product's performance
  • Modelling
  • Indoor Irradiance
  • Low irradiance
  • Low power
  • User Interaction


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