Panasonic integrates solar panel with residential roof

By Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute

Panasonic Corp has developed a new solar panel product that can be integrated with a residential roof.

It is one of the products in the "HIT" series of heterojunction solar cells, which combine monocrystalline silicon and amorphous silicon.

The new product uses a mounting system integrated with a roof.

The solar panel can be set up on a roof without making holes in the roof, thus enabling more effective use of the rooftop. It maximizes the amount of power generation with a limited space, the company said.

Also, because its cross-section has a corrugated shape, the panel is resistant to the load of snow and can be used in regions where the height of snow cover reaches 2 meters.

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So essentially what Tesla released a few months back?

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excellent news! ANY progress in the field of solar technology is good news. Now if only we could get the gov to financially support solar instead of nuclear...

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@Aly Rustom: They already do, have you seen the countryside lately in Japan? solar panels everywhere the government buys the power.... but for how long?

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People who have solar panels installed are now using the energy then feeding it back into the grid by installing batteries. These batteries are beneficial in two folds, it offsets peak energy needs and can be used as emergency back-ups in case of a black out.

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There was another press release/story about a company called Kaname doing this last week. It's not a large part of Japan, but conventional solar panels don't get a warranty if you use them in heavy snow areas (gosetsu chitai) regardless of how steep your roof is. 2m would qualify, so I guess these and Kaname's will be warrantied. In central Honshu, the area in question will be the Nozawa-Yuzawa-Myoko triangle and Hakuba/Otari. Most of Nagano and the Niigata coast doesn't get huge amounts of snow.

Part of the reason you'd want the warranty is that it protects you from electrical faults and freak weather, like hail or mega gusts of winds blowing heavy tree branches around, that can occur regardless of how much snow falls in your area.

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I think the tesla one's look much better.

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Even on the photo I can see a lot of shadow caused by the corrugation. Is it April 1st already?

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So essentially what Tesla released a few months back?

Tesla's solar panels are manufactured by Panasonic. Tesla just provides the nice covering.

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I've always said, every new home built, by law, must solar panels.

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They already do, have you seen the countryside lately in Japan?

I have gogo. I drive.

solar panels everywhere the government buys the power.... but for how long?

What I mean is, the gov doing more in terms of general solar support. For example, funding solar research, giving tax breaks for solar installation, things like that.

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@SenseNotSoCommon more surface area? and even in the shadow there will be some photons

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According to a Scientific American article (, solar roof 'shingles' have been out since 2005.

The concept is a bit of a no-brainer. Just need to wait until they become mainstream, and to wait for a way to deal with the triangular corners in my roof. Unless Panasonic can make the shapes to order, of course.

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Ah, it's like a surface of human's small intestine which effectively absorbs nuturition. Is it a biomimetic technology?

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@SenseNotSoCommon more surface area? and even in the shadow there will be some photons

Thanks. Arguably the edges optimize the amount of solar gain as the sun rises and sets. Do these incremental gains outweigh the extra cost (and does the consumer realize just how they're paying through the nose for solar compared with other countries)?

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To all the people saying that Tesla did it first. Prepare to eat crow.

It is a FACT that this product was offered by Japanese companies in various forms in 2010, and I have the catalogues to prove it. They were full-on products that I could have bought. I took a pass then and would do so now. When Tesla made their announcement that they had invented something new, I rolled my eyes because Tesla is always using their PR machine to do stuff like this. By the way, we all KNOW that Tesla did not invent the electric car, right? I am sure some people don't.

I have neighbors with integrated roof solar, one who installed in 2012, and another in 2014. So Tesla is just lying. And anyone who thinks this is NEW is not keeping up with the Joneses.

Anyhoo, Panasonic makes all the batteries for Tesla, so anyone who knows what is going on would know that Panasonic is simply trying to piggyback their marketing on Tesla's. In fact, Panasonic and other makers pulled out of the integrated roof market because sales were so bad. Just like Toyota pulled out of the EV market because it just is not that great. Now Panasonic is trying to get back in, and they will not be successful. Toyota is mumbling something about getting into EVs, but that is not going to be a winner either.

Oh. Why is this a dumb idea? Because solar panels are improving AND getting cheaper, but these people who installed solar roofing are saddled with these systems, well.... forever. With bolt on panels, you can change them or improve them, or even remove them. If you make the whole roof into a panel, then repair becomes an issue, liability... ugh.

Panasonic will have at least as many problems with this idea as everyone else already has.

The only interesting comments above have to do with WARRANTIES. This is just not an issue. Good companies back their stuff up and do inspections. My advice is to NOT go with the low bidder on stuff like this, and you will get all the service and hand-holding that you will need. If you try to cheap out, you will get Chinese workmanship, and no warranty will make it right. In my experience, solar is 100% trouble free. We even had a lightning strike that took out a transformer, but all the solar doohickies were fine.

Snow? If you live in a place where snow accumulates and does not melt for months, you are asking for trouble, simply from ice damage. I would not do it. Warranty or not. Moderate snow is no problem.

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