Nothing says "afterthought" like a rectangle of solar panels slapped onto the roof of a house with no visual relationship with the rest of the structure. Swedish company SolTech Energy brings solar in a different direction with their roofing tiles, made from ordinary glass in the shape of (gasp) ordinary roofing tiles. Why has no one thought of this sooner?
The attractive tiles--which heat pockets of air that in turn heat water--were named "Hottest New Material 2010" by a Swedish construction industry magazine that, frankly, you've never heard of, but the proof's in the pudding; stack these up next to any other roof-based solar system and tell us which looks better.
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And are flattened tiles better? Cheaper, yes =)
I would asume that the curves in the geometry have more perpendicular points with the sun, as flatten tiles only have one plane, losing its impact when the sun doesn't shine directly on to it.
I realy adore well thought of designs, technicality is irrelevant.
I agree with the author, why did'nt anyone think of this before...
Even better, soon windows themselves will serve as totally transparent solar generators.
Working for SolTech, I'm glad that knowledge of our system solutions has reached far outside our home markets of Sweden and Spain.
In reply to Joel's comment of storing excess heat in the bedrock. In order to do this you initially need a groundsource heat pump that extracts stored solar energy from the ground. Sounds more exotic than it actually is. These kind of heatpumps are ordinary in Sweden with close to 500 000 installed today. Regenerating the borehole with the excess heat generated in summer may increase the efficiency and heat factor of the heat pump with as much as 30 - 50 %.
Regarding typhoops and hurricanes, this system works in any area where the use of ordinary rooftiles in concrete or clay is common.
The SolTech System was developed in Sweden to be efficient and economical for installation in climates such as the Swedish. However, we har also reached great interest in our integrated systems in Spain.
We chose a traditional shape of the tile initially in order to get easier and faster acceptance for the concept in a market (construction) known for it's conservatism and reluctance to test nes ideas. With the traditional shape, we can merge our tiles with ordinary tiles, according to the clients whishes and demands.
We hope to be able to offer our system in the US some time during 2011. Please follow our progress on: www.soltechenergy.com/en
Head of Business Development