SunStyle, based in Switzerland, has been manufacturing its diamond-shaped solar roofing tiles since 2007, with hundreds of installations around the world. The company expanded its European operations and project pipeline with new offices in Switzerland and France, and now it is entering the US market by establishing an office in Chicago, Illinois
SunStyle provides an edge-to-edge, full-coverage solar roof that integrates well with any architectural style. TheUL/IEC-certified solar roof shingles are made with monocrystalline PERC solar cells, and the company reports that are more durable than most standard roofing materials, even in harsh weather conditions. The solar tiles meet both the industry standards for solar modules and achieve the highest possible ratings for hail (FM 4473 Class 4), fire (UL 790 Class A), and wind resistance (ASTM D3161 Class F), according to SunStyle.
The solar cells are embedded into a polyvinyl acetate layer. Six millimeters of hardened solar glass protects the face of the panels; the back is protected by a layer of fire resistant Tedlar (polyvinyl fluoride). Because the edges of the tiles are sealed to keep out moisture — much like a glass-glass solar panel — aluminum framing on the panel is not necessary. The polyvinyl layer is a highly textured “prismatic” surface, which traps photons within the solar panel that would normally escape from traditional flat solar panels. The result is an increase in the solar panel’s generation.
The company has already completed a few installations in the US, the most notable being a 7MW system on four rooftops on the Google campus in Mountainview, California, where 90,000 individual solar shingles generate enough electricity to cover around 40% of the electricity use in the buildings, known as Bay View and Charleston East.
“As Americans continue to embrace solar at a rapid rate, we believe it is the perfect time to make our solar roof available to the U.S. market,” said Gene Rosendale, CEO of SunStyle.
Despite uncertainty in the US solar market, strong forecasts are enticing companies like SunStyle to enter the market. Wood Mackenzie, for example, forecast that the solar industry will continue to break annual installation records every year for the next three years before the investment tax credit (ITC) fully phases down under current law.
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