Power Trends: Taking on the solar tile market - SunTegra: Page 2 of 4

November 22, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
As Tesla completes on the acquisition of SolarCity and its solar tile technology, Nick Flaherty talks to Oliver Koehler, an industry veteran with over 15 years of experience on the market and technology challenges.
a more integrated solution if its within 10 or 20% of the standard solution – the fact that Elon Musk is going in this direction underlines this reality, that people want solar integrated with the way they live.”

Part of meeting the cost challenge comes from the design of the tiles. “We have a patented vented system so that when the panels fit together they also provide paths for the heat out as it rises and that helps our systems run cooler and more efficiently,” said Koehler. “Because we know that cost is important, our shingle is 100W, our tile is 67W, compared to 50W and below, so that helps us get to a better price point. We also have integrated wiring with small corner junction boxes with short cables so when you lay the products down you don’t have to do a lot of wire management and we make sure the wires don’t get pinched – it’s designed for the roofing trades to install and they don’t know anything about electronics

Amorphous and polycrystalline cells aren’t good enough either, he says. “Our technology strategy is based on using the best technology and that at the moment is monocrystalline cells - that helps us get our cost down. Other products have tried to do with thin film – the problem is that although they have sold a lot of products, its far away from a volume production. The biggest barrier is it’s not as flexible for different form factors and its capex intensive so it’s a manufacturing issue, you need huge scale to make it work and its hard to get that scale. In the future it might work but I think it would be insane for anyone to focus on thin film for an integrated product.”

“We source our cells form third party producers – Asian and US suppliers

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