The less-than-charming appearance of solar panels is a deterrent to some homeowners interested in generating their own clean energy, and many people go to great lengths to hide residential solar arrays on the ground with decorative hedges. Spanish slate company Cupa Pizarras promises to change all that with a new product that seamlessly integrates thermal cells into natural slate tiles. The Thermoslate system seamlessly hides energy-generating thermal cells that charge up solar thermal ‘batteries’ that heat water, which can be used to warm the interior of a home, or funneled into a swimming pool, or simply used as-is for bathing, washing clothes and the like.
Harnessing the sun’s warmth to heat water is an approach fading in popularity in many places where solar power is already used, but it still makes sense for especially sunny places like Spain. Because natural slate is dark in color, it attracts the sun’s heat, and a rooftop sheathed in Thermoslate tiles can, according to the company’s website, provide up to two-thirds of a home’s hot water needs annually. Other homes with Thermoslate rooftops are reducing energy consumption by as much as 85 percent annually.
The tiles can be used for an attractive roof covering, a beautiful slate floor, or even outdoor wall cladding. For rooftop applications, there are two different options for installation method—one with nails, much like traditional roof tiles, and another using hooks that make it possible to slide the slate tiles out. The hook method allows for easier maintenance and repair because, although natural slate is quite durable, roof tiles can become damaged over time.
The innocuous appearance of the Thermoslate system make it a good match for historic renovation projects because, once installed, it’s nearly impossible to detect a difference from a traditional slate tile rooftop.
Images via Cupa Pizarras