BIPV Solar Tiles Pass Testing, But are They Ready for Your Roof?
This time last year I wrote about the introduction of a new breed of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV): the Sol Power Tile. This unique midnight-blue roofing tile is the first-ever solar product specifically designed for curved roofing systems, according to its manufacturer, SRS Energy. The PV tile is not designed to mount onto a roof, but to seamlessly incorporate into it, creating clean solar electricity while maintaining the homes overall aesthetic.
All PV products must go through testing by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to prove their ability for reliable performance. This is especially important in California, where solar products must be UL-listed to qualify for state rebates. The Sol Power Tile recently passed UL testing, which, considering that it is meant to integrate into curved clay tile roofs very common to sunny California, opens it up to a whole new market and millions of potential rooftops.
SRS Energy even partnered with US Tile, the largest manufacture of clay roof tiles in the U.S., to ensure seamless integration. US Tile designed a non-solar tile that matches the relatively odd blue color of the Sol Power Tile.
Also, passing its UL 1703 testing is important for proving that it can perform well, but that still leaves questions about durability. Solar panels will almost certainly be producing energy in 40 years. Can anyone say that about the Sol Power Tile?
Of course, if SRS Energy can get that efficiency up to, say, 10 percent in future product generations, then I think well find a decent amount of people wanting to try them out, which will lead to their being proven in the field.
It should be noted that if theres any market you want to go into with a fresh, rebate-eligible product, its California. There, residents have proven time and time again that theyre willing to lead the way in renewable technology. Perhaps the Sol Power Tile can ride that wave.
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