Roofcorp has written many topics about the new forms of solar power on tops of roofs. Most of the articles have dealt with the use of panels or solar shingles as a way to convert solar energy into electricity. Most of these solar roofs retain that single ability of converting that energy but an Australian company has released a new roofing system that combines thermal heating and energy conversion. This system is said to be the first to combines both solar panels and solar thermal technology.

The roof combines both the technology of building integrated photovoltaic shingles and building integrated photovoltaic materials. It also combines the efforts of both the solar energy and the steel industry. Bob Baldwin, Australia’s parliamentary secretary to Federal Minister Industry was on hand to announce the new technology. Mr. Baldwin stated that the technology was, “An example of industry leveraging government funding to make breakthroughs that may lead to advanced manufacturing and export opportunities.”

The project was headed by the steel manufacturer BlueScope and was subsidized by the Australian Renewable Energy Association, the final bill came at a cost of $5 million Australian which converts to around $4.7 million US. The Australian Renewable Energy Association covered the cost of around $2.3 million of the project.

The roof is seen as great progress in utilizing the two technologies in one single cohesive unit. The Australian Renewable Energy Association is hoping to see widespread use of the hybrid materials in a more commercial setting by the near future. BlueScope, the company responsible for producing the roof, believes that the photovoltaic thermal materials are the way to build a better roof and drive the responsible manufacturing of renewable energy sources.

The roof itself was constructed on a very typical suburban Australian household in Sydney. The metal roof of the house was completely replaced with the new solar and thermal system. The house can not only now generate its own electricity but the thermal system allows the home to use the roofing material to also heat and cool the home.

Both BlueScope and the Australian Renewable Energy Association hope to see the products utilized more frequently in residential and commercial settings.