Slates that generate electricity

If you’re looking at roof covering options, why not consider slates that double up as photovoltaic panels?

After all the hype, it seems that building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products are finally making their way into Irish homes.

Danish manufacturer Gaia Solar already offers this product and Tesla just announced (12th May 2017) it was now taking orders for its ‘solar roof tiles’ – first installation is planned in the USA this year and delivery for the rest of the world is ‘slated’ for 2018.

Tesla is pricing the slates at $42/sqft and in terms of output, PV can generally supply, under Irish weather conditions roughly one third of the mean Irish household’s electricity needs.

Update May 2019: BIPV has been slow to enter the domestic market due to cost – due to the lower efficiency of the slates as compared to panels, it appears that it is still cheaper to slate the roof and then install PV panels on top.

In Ireland there apparently were no BIPV installers present at the 2019 SEAI Energy Show. In terms of product development, the larger players include RGS Energy’s Powerhouse solar tile (originally developed by Dow Chemical) and some slow progress from Tesla.

The good news is that if you plan on installing PV roof slates, you are eligible in ROI for the PV grant (existing homes only). For BIPV products, since there are currently a limited number of products in the Irish marketplace the scheme requires some additional information on the proposed product before determining whether or not it is eligible for the grant (as per section 4.3.1 of the scheme code of practice), but in general provided it can meet the requirements in the code of practice then it should be eligible.

What do you think?

Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email astrid.madsen@selfbuild.ie

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