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This company’s solar roof tile system boasts key patents that should prove instrumental in advancing the renewable energy advancement. Similar to what Tesla Solar Roof tiles project hopes to accomplish, this company’s roof tiles integrate design and functionality. Unlike Musk’s glass shingle tile, this easy to install system is comprised as an extraordinarily durable building material that may be walked on and utilizes the company’s patented installation system comprised of ‘plug and play’ components that seal and are able to withstand a CAT 5 Hurricane. The panels provide similar output to Tesla’s but are available at half of the anticipated cost. The tiles have clay or concrete tile shapes and are lightweight but durable. As a result roof reinforcement is not necessary and installation is straightforward as roofers already know how to cut and affix the tiles. Installation costs run $2.50 psf. By comparison Tesla’s tiles are difficult to install and some feel their shingle appearance is less attractive than a tile one.
If today’s mainstream external solar panel systems take a day to install, this firm’s panels may take 4-5 days, which is perhaps half of the time required for Tesla’s solution. Aesthetic preferences aside, the tiles provide the same output as Tesla’s with half the installation time and expense. Rather than Tesla’s shingles that are nailed on battens, each with electric connections, these tiles are installed like a traditional roof, with the necessary seals, ventilation and ‘plug and play’ connectivity. Unlike with Tesla’s solution, there is no need to cut glass when installing. Instead the material will resemble cutting asphalt or polypropylene when making a customized cut out around a window or ventilation pipe.
This business operates out of a small office, which is all that is necessary as manufacturing is outsourced to a final assembly facility nearby with significant capacity and efficiencies. As a result the enterprise may readily be absorbed or relocated. The company owns it production molds but does not maintain a significant amount of inventory, though doing so will be critical to any launch strategy. While the fire retardant tiles are completed in the USA, their solar components are sourced in Southeast Asia. Inspections have occurred and been passed in key markets - including California, Florida, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, New Jersey and in the New England states.
As the nation moves towards alternative renewable energy at an ever increasing pace with states like California leading the charge with tax credits and mandatory new construction requirements, the solar energy product market is vast and will continue to evolve. This integrated solar and roofing tile solution is a whole system that provides several advantages over current and proposed new applications. While at $4.50 per kilowatt it’s currently perhaps $1.5 per kilowatt more costly than external solar panels, the product generally still makes more overall economic sense depending on the circumstance since it also replaces roofing material (e.g. roof replacement or new construction vs. install on an existing roof). The tiles make up for their slightly less effective output by providing more comprehensive coverage without the adverse impact of making portion of the structure inaccessible or unsightly.
For solar energy production the company competes with mainstream external solar panel solutions and the wide variety of materials available for roof construction. Though the two products significantly differ aesthetically, once Tesla’s shingle is launched it is envisioned to become the largest competitor. The company welcomes this due to their aforementioned cost, durability and installation advantages. The sentiment is that Tesla will enter the market with a large splash and bring a great deal of notoriety to a modernized complete roof solution, but these power tiles will benefit when each of the differing systems products are thoroughly compared. Moreover, all government incentives apply to this solar system, with tiles included, providing the end-users an even more attractive value-proposition.
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