The days of the boxy roof top solar panels are coming to an end with a new breed of innovative solar roofing systems. Below are a few companies pushing the boundaries and hopefully making solar roofing as common place as asphalt shingles. The roof is being redefined as not just rain protection, but energy producing, and at a cost competitive with traditional roofing materials.
SolTech’s Beautiful Glass Roof Tiles Heat Your Home With Solar Energy
SolTech Energy, a Swedish company selling solutions for clean solar power, has developed a unique home heating system contained within roofing tiles made out of ordinary transparent glass. The attractive house-warming tiles (somewhat ironically) give roofs a beautiful, icy appearance quite unlike anything else we’ve ever seen before.
The main output from Elon Musk’s solar roof, so far, has been news articles, rather than, say, electricity. GTM reporters and a slew of guest contributors have investigated the price, technology and necessity of Tesla’s proposed integrated solar roof. Some have suggested it could change the way homes are built and powered.
Elon Musk recently talked about a new product that might be coming out of SolarCity’s Buffalo factory soon: It’s a solar roof as opposed to a module on a roof. I think, this is really a fundamental part of achieving a differentiated product strategy – it’s not a beautiful roof that it is a solar roof, it’s not a thing on a roof, it is the roof.
When Elon Musk kicked off Tesla’s solar roof product in October, he left several open questions about how Tesla planned to enter the roofing market itself. Building a roof requires different expertise than putting solar modules on top of it.
Tesla and SolarCity developed a solar roof system that integrates the solar cells and modules inside the structure of the roof rather than just panels on a roof. They are is using a high-efficiency solar cell manufactured by Panasonic and covered with a “color louver film”, which allows cells to blend into the roof while exposing them to the sun above, and finally a tempered glass on top for durability.