U.K. business Roof Tiles Technology Ltd has developed a solar tile with a claimed efficiency of 17.5% and power output of 175 W per square meter. The companyâ€™s founder, Antonio Lanzoni, said a PV system featuring the product would cost 25-30% more than a standard solar rooftop.
May 29, 2020
U.K.-based Roof Tiles Technology Ltd has developed a solar tile featuring monocrystalline Perc solar cells which it says resembles a standard concrete roof tile and is suitable for new and renovated roofs.
The flat, dark grey, BiSolar tile has a power output of 18 W and efficiency of 17.5%, according to the manufacturer. â€śFor each square meter, 9.7 tiles are needed, with total output reaching 175 W,â€ť company founder and co-director Antonio Lanzoni told pv magazine. â€śThe solutions we came up with are patented and offer strong protection for the product.â€ť
The device is made of a PV-etched glass panel attached to a concrete roof tile and features 22%-efficient solar cells from a Chinese producer which is â€śwell established in Europe,â€ť said Lanzoni. Each tile includes a dozen 139 by 52.92mm cells.
The product carries a 25-year performance guarantee, measures 445 x 330mm and weighs 6kg, with the PV device contributing 1.2kg and including 3mm of satin tempered glass.Â
According to Lanzoni, a BiSolar tile installation is 25-30% more expensive than a standard rooftop PV array. â€śBut it looks a lot better,â€ť said the company founder, who added, installation costs for BiSolar are cheaper than for rooftop panels. â€śThe BiSolar tile can be installed by a standard roof installer like a normal roof tile, as they can be easily connected via simple MC4 connectors located under the solar panel,â€ť said Lanzoni.
The company began marketing the product late last year but the Covid-19 crisis slowed operations in recent months. â€śHowever, we are now supplying to a selected number of potential partners the first pilot roofs in a few countries,â€ť said Lanzoni.
Roof Tiles Technology wants to enter new markets and is said to be in talks with construction and roofing industry businesses about establishing production facilities outside the U.K. â€śPotential partners will benefit [from] the exclusive right to use our patent, an established supply chain and technical assistance, from the assembly process to roof installation,â€ť Lanzoni added.
The founder of the business said BiSolar installations outperform roofs fitted with conventional tiles in the Wind Driven Rain test â€“ which assesses the impact of rainfall on devices â€“ and he said the product could in future become cheaper and offer better performance.
Lanzoni said the product patent process was begun a year ago and first examination of the BiSolar tile has occurred. The patent requires the combination of PV with a concrete roof tile which does not alter the latter structure or enable water penetration. The product must also be a defined colour recognized for varnish, powder coating and plastics, with no blueing effect.
â€śPV panels are automatically glued to the roof tile surface in a very precise position defined by a robotic line,â€ť said Lanzoni of the production process. â€śSeals are fixed on three sides of the PV panels.â€ť
Roof Tiles Technology designed a production line with an annual capacity of 18 MW and Lanzoni said the fabrication equipment would be part of the package offered to partners who wish to manufacture BiSolar tiles.