Since the start of summer, an Italian company has been producing traditional-looking roof tiles containing an invisible and innovative photovoltaic device.
Although photovoltaic panels can be easily integrated into modern constructions, it is almost impossible, or even prohibited, to integrate them in historical centres or on the roofs in cities whose cultural heritage is protected.
In order to enable old roofs to also make use of the latest technologies, Dyaqua, a small Italian company specialising in the aesthetic integration of renewable energy, developed a photovoltaic system that is invisible to the naked eye. Its name: Invisible Solar, an innovation that enables photovoltaic cells to melt into the background. A good way of combining the protection of heritage, and respect for the environment.
To achieve this, Matteo Quagliato simply made the solar panels look like traditional roof tiles, usually made from ceramic, a typical material used to roof houses in the Mediterranean basin. As it is obviously impossible to integrate a solar cell into a block of clay, the engineer decided to replace the earth used with a composite material, a combination of recycled plastics, dyed during the manufacturing process in order to achieve the desired appearance. On its website, Dyaqua states that the roof tile, although it looks opaque to the eye, lets the sunrays through unimpeded.
In practice, 15 square metres, i.e. 223 such solar roof tiles, are sufficient to obtain power equivalent to one kilowatt-peak. Compared to conventional solar panels, a larger surface is required to generate the equivalent amount of energy.
In terms of effectiveness, Dyaqua promises its customers that its roof tiles are as effective as conventional solar panels, and estimates their life expectancy at around 40 years.
The "Invisible Solar" roof tiles have other fine qualities: they waterproof and protect the houses, purify the air of harmful substances and their surface cleans itself!
After six years of research and development, the Italian engineer began manufacturing his product on a larger scale. He now dreams of replacing the roofs of his country's most beautiful cities with solar roof tiles. Starting with Rome, Florence and Venice. Particularly given that the roof tiles seem easy to install.