Eco Investor July 2014

Pre-Revenue Securities

Steel Roofing with Photovoltaics and Heating

Dyesol could have some competition in the early stage built-in photovoltaics market with BlueScope Steel completely replacing the roof on a home in the Sydney suburb of Glebe with what it says is the first integrated PV thermal system in Australia. The roof combines steel roofing with cutting-edge thin-film solar panels, and is generating reliable renewable energy for the residents.

The COLORBOND pre-painted steel sheet roofing system captures solar energy as both electricity and heat. It can produce 1.4 kW of electrical output and 3-6 kW of thermal output depending on how the system is operated. It also has a streamlined, aesthetically pleasing appearance.

The $5 million project was undertaken by BlueScope Steel with $2.3 million in support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

"We are witnessing an exciting new technology solution moving from the lab to be prototyped on everyday Australian rooftops for the first time," said ARENA chief executive, Ivor Frischknecht.

"In addition to PV panels, an innovative thermal duct system warms and cools air to supplement air conditioning in the homes. This new integrated PV system has been designed to provide a low cost system for Australian residential, commercial and industrial rooftops. It has the potential to reduce installation and energy costs as well as reduce peak energy demands placed on the grid," he said.

As well as the first integrated photovoltaic (PV) thermal system in Australia, BlueScope has also replaced a tile roof in the Illawarra region with just the integrated PV system, demonstrating its versatility.

"These first installations are an important step as the technology moves towards commercialization and cost competitiveness with conventional rooftop PV."

The BlueScope solar roofing at Glebe in Sydney.

BlueScope designed the system to be durable and robust in Australia's climate. It is trying to reduce system costs through improved PV modules and roofing designs, reduced packaging and transport, improved building energy efficiency and easy, low-cost installation.

A inverter is being developed in parallel for grid management of the electrical output of the building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) and building-integrated photovoltaic-thermal (BIPVT) systems.

Given that the built-in photovoltaic market is so new, it may be some years before both BlueScope and Dyesol have products on the market. At this stage Dyesol's product is for the BIPV market while BlueScope's is for both the BIPV and BIPVT market. Given these markets are huge it may be some time before the products may, possibly, come to compete. Unless one has a big advantage over the other, the presence of more than one system is likely to help grow the market for both.

Dr Rob Scott, manager Building and Construction Applications Sales, Marketing, Innovation and Trading at BlueScope said "BlueScope is technology agnostic around the PV technology, whether it be applied as a laminate or direct to the steel. Our focus is on the roofing design and back-end integration solutions to drive the cost effectiveness of the BIPV and BIPVT outcomes."

The roof system was launched by Bob Baldwin, the parliamentary secretary to the minister for Industry - the same government that is closing ARENA. (ASX: DYE)

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