Panotron solar roof tile undergoes field test

Solar hybrid roof in Rapperswil, ­Switzerland, off to successful start

On September 1, Panotron AG unveiled their new solar-hybrid roof tile for its first public showing in Rapperswil. In the weeks to follow, this innovative product, which generates both heat and electricity, met with great resonance among professionals and practitioners. Within just a few days, Panotron AG received more than 100 pertinent inquiries. And now, the prototype is making its in-service public debut on a roughly 100 m² test roof from which practical-application insight will be gathered before series production begins.

Councilor Andreas Rickenbacher and other prominent representatives of government and industry were doubly happy about this pioneering achievement of Martin Bieri, the inventor of the solar roof tile. With reference to the company‘s importance for the Bern-based energy cluster, the Berner politician said: “This is a good example of how the economy‘s future lies in ecological transformation, and it stands as a document of sustainable economic growth.“

The solar roof tile generates two forms of energy from a single surface, hence making homeowners less dependent on the price of energy. As Rudolf Gasser from the Rapperswil brickworks formulated it: “Clean energy, a clean eco-conscience and good looks!“ In Gasser‘s view, that last attribute is the product‘s decisive advantage over conventional systems: solar roof tiles are inconspicuous and therefore well-suited for use in projects subject to strict design requirements, e.g., on heritage-protected buildings.

Panotron CEO Jürg Schwarzenbach is convinced that the new solar energy system‘s special flexibility will secure it a good market position. “The system is modular“, he explains, “so the roof can be tiled right away and the heating system connected later on. The photovoltaic modules themselves can also be independently retrofitted, so homeowners enjoy maximum latitude for their planning.“

Following an intensive 3-month test phase, series production is to begin in the spring of 2010. Additional prototype installations are also planned for Germany.



The Swiss Panotron AG in Kirchberg, Canton Bern, is producing a solar roof tile that generates both heat and electricity. The panotron solar energy system consists of a conventional clay roof tile carrying a photovoltaic module and a special aluminium channel for conveying water, electricity and data.

The solar energy system is of modular design. Heat generation (panotron Thermie) and power generation (panotron PV) can be installed independently of each other or at the same time. The system comes with appropriate control software and planning aids.

The controlling shareholders of Panotron AG are the Rapperswil brickworks and Erich Schenk, an entrepreneur from Büren an der Aare.


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