Australia trails much of the world in embracing solar power. As a result, the country may not be able to meet its commitments to the Paris agreement. This situation can be altered through the development of building-integrated photovoltaics, such as solar roof tiles. Roof tiles are more efficient than conventional solar panels. There are challenges, however, related to cost and long-term performance. A full life-cycle cost analysis of solar roof tiles is being conducted to help answer some of the questions about them. If the cost can be reduced as well, Australian homeowners will be able to make use of solar roof tiles.
- Only about 20 percent of Australia’s energy consumption — considerably less than in Europe or the USA — is associated with buildings, but there are still significant improvements that can be made.
- Building-Integrated PhotoVoltaics (BIPV) are projected to grow swiftly, but the technology is still costly to install and unfamiliar to many potential adopters.
- BIPV researchers at Western Sydney University are carrying out extensive testing to lower the cost of BIPV and get a better understanding of their long term performance.
“This is because the tiles can absorb heat energy more effectively than solar panels, meaning that the tiles’ surface heats up more slowly in sustained sunshine, allowing the solar cells more time to work at lower temperatures.”