An Australian home now has what is believed to be the world’s first solar panel roof that produces both electricity and heat for the home.
The $5 million project was developed by building materials firm BlueScope with support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The system includes thin-film solar panels which are set on steel roofing sheets to generate electricity.
This building-integrated photovoltaic-thermal (BIPV-T) system, on an inner-city home in Sydney, also has a thermal duct system warms and cools air to supplement air conditioning.
“Today we are witnessing an exciting new technology solution moving from the lab to be prototyped on everyday Australian rooftops for the first time,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.
“This new integrated PV system has been designed to provide a low cost system for Australian residential, commercial and industrial rooftops,” he said. “It has the potential to reduce installation and energy costs as well as reduce peak energy demands placed on the grid.”
The system replaces the home’s original corrugated steel roof, and has also been installed in another part of the country, replacing a tile roof.
“These first installations are an important step as the technology moves towards commercialisation and cost competitiveness with conventional rooftop PV,” added Frischknecht.
The system is made to not only replace existing roofs, but also can be used for new residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
“The roofing systems have been specifically designed for Australia’s climate and buildings, to ensure effectiveness and reliability, “ said Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Bob Baldwin.
Other cost-saving measures – aimed to make such systems attractive from a price perspective – include reduced packaging and transport, improved building energy efficiency and easy, low-cost installation.