Solar panels are a known entity of sustainable design. I would venture to guess that most people could identify a solar panel on a roof or in a field, which speaks to the solar panels distinctive look. While the iconography of the solar panel denotes sustainability and an awareness of energy use, it is a very specific look that is not always in character with the surroundings. In some residential communities solar panels are not allowed, or they are limited to non-visible portions of the roof. This is problematic in bringing solar panels into the mainstream, as well as prohibiting them from being properly positioned to work effectively.
Tegolasolare’s Terracotta Solar Panel.
Tegolasolare is an Italian company that is working to bring historical architectural language into the modern world through solar panels. By combining tradition and modernity, they have developed a roofing tile made from a red clay spray-dried ceramic mix that looks like tradition terracotta tile, but with an embedded photovoltaic panel. Italians know better than anyone the constraints of building regulations at work in historic centers, so who better to offer a solution.
The basic “Tegolasolare” tile is a true roof tile, in both form, material and installation. A solar power panel containing four photovoltaic cells is installed on the roofing tile with ceramic body mix. The panels are then linked together to create a photovoltaic field, which may cover the whole roof or a small portion. The nature of the tile allows for the replacement of one or more damaged panels, or if necessary, higher-technology panels can be introduced over time. Oddly enough, Tegolasolare’s return to history is a huge step forward for the solar panel industry.