Tesla is not the only company innovating in the thin-film, building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), solar tile, solar blinds, and solar roof sector. Other contenders such as SunTegra or Forward Labs, which is now taking reservations for its product for 2018, are also worth looking at.

Forward Labs, a startup based in Palo Alto, California, has developed a standing-seam style solar roofing solution that aims to blend in, rather than stand out. In fact, at first glance, it looks like nothing more than a normal metal roof, and could probably pass muster for even the most conservative HOA covenants, and yet it could provide decades of low-cost renewable energy. And not only that, it’s not just a solar tile or panel, but rather a layered system of components that combines a tempered glass surface and solar cells and a concealed racking system into “a brave new roof for our brave new world.”

Forward Labs solar roof

The company uses monocrystalline solar cells which have a claimed higher energy density than other solar roofing products, reaching 19W per square foot (compared to 11W per square foot for competitor’s offering), and according to the company, it could cost up to 33% less than a comparable solar roof from Tesla, while still producing the same amount of electricity.

The company has paid special attention to cost savings by using more affordable materials than their  competitors and employing  standard manufacturing processes.They have also paid attention to environmental issues and in an interesting circular economy twist, the company also states that it is “partnering with emerging asphalt recycling facilities” to deal with the roofs it removes as it installs the solar roof systems.

Read the full story at Treehugger and Forward Labs



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