I was watching "This New House" on the DIY network on TV and saw a product called Sole' Power Tiles. They are architecturally designed solar panels that match up with clay barrel tiles as you would find on a hacienda. They are a deep blue, made of car bumper plastic with a solar membrane overlay, and simply plug into each other to carry the power.
According to the show, they cost about $50/sq. foot installed, last 25-30 years, are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit, and have a 5-10 year payback. They look like a very cool idea. Much more attractive than normal solar panels.
But, I question the cost. The usual way to determine the value of solar is the cost per kilowatt. The company website doesn't give any information about how much energy these tiles are capable of.
Currently, they are only available in California, but they are rolling out national distribution soon. They don't match my house, but if you live in a Southwest style place, they might work for you. I'd have to see more information about their effectiveness and efficiency before I could make a better call on them.
I'm letting the company know about this post, and my questions. If I get the scoop from them, I'll be sure to let you know.
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