SRS Energy’s unique thinfilm solar tile, the Solé Power Tile has just passed a key milestone. SRS Energy has obtained an ETL listing report certifying the Solé Power Tile has passed the testing associated with the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) UL 1703 standard. Passing this is the prerequisite for any solar photovoltaics to be approved by the State of California as eligible for CSI rebates from utilities. The second step is factory inspection.
In June, the factory will be inspected, and then the Solé Power Tile will likely be included on the CEC approved module listing on July 1st. At that point California solar estimators will have the data they need to design systems using the state’s calculator including ratings of expected performance and SRS Energy will be able to start taking orders for California roofs.
Thin film is always more inefficient – but usually cheaper – but these thin film tiles are even more so – with only about 5% efficiency – and are more expensive per watt, so this would make this a very expensive roof that is barely a power producer. R&D also needs to continue to solve major durability questions like long-term fire resistance, shape-changing in the summer heat, de-lamination, discoloration and brittleness from UV radiation, and long-term fire resistance.
Abby Feinstein from SRS Energy tells me that while roofing giant Petersen-Dean is looking at working with home builders to use the solar tile in housing developments, smaller roofing companies are also being trained to install and retrofit existing homes.
Dan’s Roofing, LaRocque Better Roofs, and Scudder Roofing are among the California tile roofing contractors being trained using the solar powered tiles for both new roofs, or retrofitting existing clay tile roofs.
SRS Energy is partnering with California-based US Tile, the largest clay tile company in the US, to produce matching blue tiles so the entire roof can have a consistent look, while only the tiles that need to produce power will be solar Solé Power tiles.
However, the solar tiles can also be retrofit onto roofs previously installed with the traditional clay tile, to upgrade the roof to solar power, because the solar tiles are the exact same size and shape as the old-fashioned clay tiles that US Tile makes.
Ironically, that is because the company’s clay tiles, that we see on so many California roofs, have been produced in the same low-tech clay tile production method (creating the same size and shape) for decades. US Tile’s low tech production-line is what enables the easy upgrade to high tech power-producing roofs in California.
Image: SRS Energy
Susan Kraemer writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate and GreenProphet and has been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design she brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention: solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times. Follow Susan @dotcommodity on twitter.