SILEO – The First Photovoltaic Roof Tile That Takes Cultural Heritage Into Account
Date: April 22nd 2019
Author: Alenka Lena Klopčič
"The SILEO roof tile has the best mechanical characteristics. It is available in more than 200 colours in order to completely adapt to the aesthetics of the environment and, moreover, the frame is degradable while, at the same time, being suitable for every weather condition imaginable," said Mateja Miško, co-founder of the family start-up SILEO. Miško was a guest at April’s INNOtalks that took place at ABC Accelerator in Ljubljana, Slovenia. According to Miško, the name SILEO comes from the Latin phrase for ‘new beginning’. In the spirit of the name, the company itself was established by Italian and Slovenian partners. The SILEO roof tile comes as the result of many decades of learning from experience. Members of the team have worked especially in the car industry.The team behind the project SILEO patented their product, a ‘marsigliese’ style roof tile that has four black solar cells. In other words, the product combines a roof tile with a photovoltaic system for the production of renewable energy. The tile is made as compact as any building material. It is very simple to install and can be adapted to any type of roof with at least a 5-degree incline. The frame of the roof tile is made out of high quality technopolymers, which are used primarily by the high-end car industry.
Photovoltaic roof tiles work in the same way as solar panels and can be installed by a fitter or a tiler. By launching this new product SILEO aims to establish itself in the niche market of wealthy clients, and owners of buildings that are protected by cultural heritage laws. "The latest trends show rapid growth in photovoltaic installations and we believe that we can fill that desired niche. That is something that manufacturers of conventional solar panels cannot achieve," added Miško.
Red solar panels are ‘sexier’ than black ones
“Red cells are a lot more difficult to obtain than black ones. We recently managed to find a producer of red cells, however, preparation of the samples and testing needs to be done before we can enter the market, which could delay the launch for many months,” said Miško. She continued by adding that SILEO is very particular about the efficiency of the red cells, since the black ones are more effective to begin with. “I do find the red ones a lot sexier than the black ones,” she said, laughing.
Miško mentioned that today’s technology is ever-changing in all areas. Consequently, losing time is costly, especially in the business world where certain people have great ideas but hesitate to realise them.
The SILEO team is also currently searching for a new strategic partner which would enable the company to automate the manufacture of its products.
SILEO is targeting the global market, although currently the company is concentrating on the B2B segment, especially architects and, to a lesser extent, B2C. The company’s vision is that in a couple of years SILEO will be established as an international company: "As we speak, we are getting enquiries from South American countries and others, for example, Ukraine."
Elon Musk is the main competitor
The main competitor of the start-up company is Elon Musk, whose photovoltaic roof tiles are not currently available. However, as Miško concluded at the InnoEnergy PowerUp! Competition, their competitors, however, do not offer the same functionality as SILEO’s product - the competitors’ quality is lower, while the price is higher.
This article is available also in Slovene.