Just under two months ago during SolarCity’s second quarter earnings call, Tesla CEO and SolarCity Chair Elon Musk offered some tantalizing teasers about the company’s plans going forward, when he said: “It’s a solar roof as opposed to a module on a roof.” But now it looks like ZEP, a Dutch company will beat SolarCity to the rafters with its photovoltaic roof tiles.
The company has integrated ceramic roof tiles with solar cells, which ZEP said is the world's first solar roof tile. The company presented its black solar roof tiles last year but the official unveiling will occur on Oct. 7 when they will reveal a black solar roof that's installed on the protected Priesnitzhoeve farmhouse, which was built in 1870 in a town called Rheden.
In addition, ZEP will showcase its red rooftop solar tile. The company said the black and red photovoltaic tiles are designed to be invisible so they integrate into a building seamlessly.
"A lot of people have been waiting for this," said Joost de Graaf of ZEP. "For instance people who think solar panels on their rooftops are ugly. This solar tile combines the shape of a roof tile with the benefits of solar panels. This is the solar energy of the future.”
Indeed, many are projecting that the future of solar will be more building-integrated and will come in unique forms like paints or clear window treatments. But for now many of the same people are conjecturing that silicon-based solar is the lead option for solar power.
While ZEP said its solar tiles are a first, other companies have developed different types of solar rooftop tiles. For instance, Dow Chemical had introduced a rooftop solar tile that’s more like a tar rooftop tile. However, that company announced it would stop making its PV tiles just days before Musk made his announcement.
ZEP said the solar rooftop solar tiles also create a more efficient system for dealing with rooftops that include features like chimneys, dormers or skylights because the tiles can more easily fit around such features than regular-sized photovoltaic panels. The company already has projects in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia.Tweet