Genius Or Bonkers? US solar company glueing solar to roofs to reduce installation costs.

Innovation in solar never ceases to amaze me. But I can’t decide if this particular innovation is genius or totally nuts.

US solar panel manufacturer Lumeta Solar have announced a new 175W solar panel design that is super thin, with no frame, a junction box on top instead of underneath, and get this: double sided sticky tape on the back.  The idea is that you simply peel the backing off the tape and stick the panel to the roof.

lumeta solar panels

Lumeta Solar Panels stick on to the roof with adhesive. (Pic: Lumeta Solar)

Obviously the concept is helped by the fact that most American roofs have flat shingles instead of tiles or Colorbond. But I’m sure it could be adapted to more roof types.

The Lumeta solar website claims that:

“the installation time for a Lumeta 5/kW residential system is 80% less than for traditional rack mounted systems, and BOS is nearly 50% lower”

But bear in mind that the same website claims that a traditional 5kW array takes a whopping 64 man hours to install. Which is frankly bollocks – it takes nothing like that long! But still, I can see that not having to install racking would certainly save a lot of time.

Here’s their installation video:

The real question mark over this innovation will be durability. How will the adhesive be in 25 years, how long will the junction boxes and cabling last exposed to UV for 25 years plus and how long will the flimsy looking panels last?

So what do you think folks? Stick on solar panels. The future or a very early April fools joke?

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

Comments

  1. Okies, stick them on the roof by all means..but what if down the track you have to for whatever reasons, replace a tile. No, if I get house one day covered with solar panels, it will be with the brackets etc, oh and not until we get more tariff for the money we put back into the grid. Till then, I will wait.

  2. Who were the idiots who stopped that scheme for getting more bang for your buck with the panels anyway, apart from conservative government members with their heads stuck firmly in the sand? Probably spurred on by the mainstream power companies not getting as much money from their customers anymore, because of the wonderful solar panels. If those companies are not careful, someone will design an absolute fail safe, and more compact form of storing electricity, better than the collection system invented in the last couple of years. As good as it is, it needs to be better again so we can hide it from everyone, who think the average person who has rooftop solar panels, are at night time reconnected to the mains supply.

    • Stuart Brown says

      For storage try manganese batteries, for installation, truck mounted robot arms would save a lot of money, especially when using adhesive, lots of small solar tiles, mesh style, might be a good idea. Combined with satellite imaging, computer aided design of the installation, the ever cheaper solar panels per kWh. Carbon based power, will find it hard to compete, with big silicon’s money, followed up by CF framework/Al body electric cars, the convenience of making your own power and car energy, not paying supply charges. Big carbon, will become sub prime energy, that’s too big to fail, how they conned the electorate into voting to try to stop a clean, independent, third industrial revolution, is well and truly beyond me, perhaps because they control a majority of the media.

  3. So how much does the 5kWp system cost compared to a traditional system with a 25year warranty?

    I think this is the typical US thinking – buy cheap and throw away when not working anymore.

    I think differently, what do you think? What about the footprint of the panels when they don’t last?

  4. “Cat on a hot tin roof” – I thought heat was a no-no for PV efficiency.

    • As they get cheaper, efficiency is less of a concern. To some people at least. Case in point – tilt frames are expensive and can be problematic – if panels are cheap enough, just go the simple route and put them all flush with the roof – then add a few more panels to make up the difference.

  5. Not for me!
    The brackets, rails, nuts’n’bolts etc. are all that’s preventing my roof from falling through the ceiling.

  6. My $0.02…

    “How will the adhesive be in 25 years?” – does it matter? Adhesive is dirt cheap. Just go back and re-stick them?

    “how long will the junction boxes and cabling last exposed to UV for 25 years plus?” Dunno – but couldn’t you engineer a cheap covering to go over them?

    “How long will the flimsy looking panels last?” Dunno – but (a) how long will existing solar panels physically last; (b) how long before existing solar panels become economically replaceable and (c) if they are very cheap, does it matter (from a household budget viewpoint of course) and (d) if you do end up discarding them can you recycle them?

    Cheers

    J

  7. Why not just replace Colorbond with Solarbond?

  8. Robert Carr says

    The Germans are developing a solar roof tile that blends in with the rest,and is laid in the same way.

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