Could Our Roofs Become One Big Solar Panel?


The future of solar technology seems to be moving away from simply attaching solar modules to rooftops.

Instead, concepts have been developed to integrate solar panels with the roofs themselves, reducing what many believe to be the ugliness of bulky solar panel modules sitting atop an existing roof.

Tesla CEO and SolarCity Chairman Elon Musk announced earlier this year that these two companies are due to merge, and as a result will be releasing two new products by the end of the year.

One of which, Musk confirmed, was the concept of a solar panel-integrated roof.
"I think this is really a fundamental part of achieving differentiated product strategy, where you have a beautiful roof,” Musk told Business Insider.


“It's not a thing on the roof. It is the roof, which is a quite difficult engineering challenge and not something that is available anywhere else," he said.

Musk likened the new product to a Tesla car. He said the customer will be given custom preferences and then sent to the customer as a kit so that it can be installed.

Rather than entering the market by canabolising existing roofs, the aim for solar panel roofs is to represent as a new product which can be adopted when an existing roof needs replacing, or when a new home is being built.

“If your roof is nearing end of life and you have to get a new roof anyway, why not have a solar roof that is better in many other ways as well," Musk said.

Musk with Tesla and SolarCity is keen to get this project off the ground and into the mainstream, but he is in fact not the first to try his hand at this revolutionary technology.


SunTegra solar - comparing against traditional solar panels.

New York-based company SunTegra Solar Roof Systems (formerly Integrated Solar Technology) has already installed integrated solar systems in the northeastern United States and California.

SunTegra’s research into the market reveals that three out of four homeowners would prefer an integrated solar option. Their tile can produce 67 watts, and their shingle can produce 100 watts. Solar tiles and shingles also utilise around 50% fewer parts than traditional rooftop solar panels, and can be installed more quickly.


SunTegra's product shows how the solar roof may be the way of the mainstream future.

With solar roofs already in circulation and plans from other companies like Tesla eager to get in the game, roofs with integrated solar technology may very well be the way of the future for every home.

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