The bulky solar panels used to be your only option when considering harnessing solar power. You either had to have the proper roof space or ground space to place these panels
Two new companies are integrating photovoltaics into smaller and more aesthetically pleasing roofing materials such as terra cotta roofing tile in the Southwest and gray shingles of NE cottages.
Here are two of the leading manufacturers:
SRS’s Solé Power Tiles
The Solé Power Tile™ is an electricity-generating “barrel-style tile” installed alongside US Tile’s traditional clay tile roofing. Their light-weight performance polymer construction results in easy handling.
Solé Power Tile
By the Numbers
Solé Power Tile™
* 32.25″ wide
* 18″ long
* 30 tiles per 100 square-feet, with 3″ lap
* 240 pounds per 100 square-feet
* 500 watts per 100 square-feet
The Solé Power Tile™ is a long-term energy solution with benefits starting on day one. About 20-25 percent of the average roof would feature the Solé Power Tile™, with the remainder utilizing authentic clay roof tiles by US Tile. By choosing a solar upgrade, the entire roofing system will pay for itself.
SRS Energy rigorously tests the Solé Power Tile™ under harsh conditions for durability, including long-term UV stability, color fastness, wind resistance, electrical output, safety, and extreme mechanical stresses. The tiles ship, stock, and install just like traditional roofing, but are even lighter than their ceramic counterparts.
Global Solar Energy
Photovoltaics, the transformation of radiation or solar energy into electrical energy, takes place in solar cells. As soon as solar radiation strikes them, a current is generated. In conventional thick-film technology, these cells are made of crystalline silicon doped with phosphorous and boron.
To produce the cells, highest grade silicon is melted and drawn into crystalline blocks, which are then sawn into small discs called wafers. They are the basic component of crystalline solar cells, which in turn make up the solar modules that generate electric current on roofs and in outdoor plants.
To make them, several solar cells are connected to form larger units and then laminated. They are then framed in aluminum or stainless steel and the front side is sealed with glass. The highest grade silicon required to manufacture cells is produced in a capital and energy-intensive process. Capacity expansion involves a long lead time. Only a limited number of manufacturers possess the technological expertise required for production.
[via Wall Street Journal]