The Solar Roof Has Come of Age

  • Infinite warranties are now offered.
  • Design and colours to suit every taste.
  • Cost is getting cheaper than conventional roofs.

There was much hub aloo when Tesla announced their solar roof tiles a few years back. They have since diversified their offering by adding a second style available for pre-order. Added to their textured black glass tile is a smooth grey tile. The tuscan and slate have been available on the USA market since the beginning of the year.

The costs have also come down to match the cost of a conventional roof and in some cases cheaper when you factor in the energy savings plus any government rebate or incentives. Tesla also offers and infinite warranty on their solar tiles. “We offer the best warranty in the industry—the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” Tesla confirms. The Tesla Solar Roof comes with their Powerwall 2.0, which is a battery storage device with a built-in inverter. It connects to your home’s electrical system, enabling a house to go 100 percent off-the-grid.

While Tesla gets all the attention for being the first to enter the solar roof market, other suppliers are fast catching up. Forward Labs has been hammering away at their own solar roof technology – and not only is it 33% cheaper that Tesla’s offering, but it can be installed in half of the time. Forward Labs’ design blends right in with traditional roofs, and it’s made of monocrystalline solar cells with a higher density that other solar roofing options.

Pic: Forward Labs one large 5 layered piece: durable tempered glass, optical chromatic cloaking, silicon solar cells, galvanised metal panels and concealed racking system.

Whereas Tesla’s solar roof is made from individual shingles, Forward Labs’ standing-seam metal roof is made up of one large, layered piece. It has a tempered glass surface, with an “optimal chromatic cloaking” layer right below. The roof comes in 8 colours right now, but thanks to the chromatic layer, any colour is technically possible.

Installation can be done in just a few days – about half of the time as other solar roofs. The system is passively cooled via air gaps below the panels, and if a panel breaks, it can be popped out and replaced by a new one. The roof looks identical to other metal roofs, so it could easily pass a Home Owner’s Association’s muster, and each installation can provide decades of solar power.

It will not be long before these solar roof products will be available on the SA market.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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