Solar panels, and renewable energy in general, are the way of the future. But how do you implement them in a historical site without ripping a hole in the space-time continuum or at least without pulling visitors out of the experience?
Dyaqua’s Invisible Solar Rooftiles aim to blend into any historical context while providing clean power for sites like Italy’s ancient Pompeii.
Dyaqua is a small business operating out of Italy that produces LED Stone Lights, Luminous Pebbles, and Invisible Solar solutions.
The artisans of the company aim for “perfect aesthetic and architectural integration” with every site they serve, according to Dyaqua’s homepage. This is especially important for historic locations like Pompeii, where standard solar panels would stick out like sleek, glassy sore thumbs.
Giovanni Battista Quagliato, the founder of Dyaqua, made his first disguised solar panels back in 2010 but couldn’t secure funding for mass production.
So instead of mass-producing tiles, Dyaqua began by crafting each unique Invisible Solar Roof Tile by hand, which actually helps them blend into ancient terracotta roofs that much better. Each tile is specially made so that while it may look opaque, enough light can pass through to reach the solar cell inside.
The tiles can be made to resemble terracotta, stone, concrete, and wood. Dyaqua claims that they are strong, durable, eco-friendly, and self-cleaning. The company also asserts that the hidden solar systems are easy to install and can replace existing roof tiles.
So far, Dyaqua’s solar solution has been installed in a few places in the Pompeii Archeological Park including at a Thermopolium, where hot food and drinks would have been sold thousands of years ago, and at Vicoforte, a commune in Italy. Plans have been made to install more solar tiles atop Maxxi, an art museum in Rome, and on buildings in Portugal and Croatia.
Dyaqua is currently experimenting with solar wall and pavement prototypes. Solar pavement is often difficult to implement and likely won’t attain widespread use anytime soon.
Premium panels, Premium costs
It probably comes as no surprise that handmade, architectural solar panels are more expensive than standard ones.
An Invisible Solar system that can output one kiloWatt per hour at peak production costs 7,000 Euros, or around $7,485 dollars, not including tax or installation costs.
There are incentives in Italy that may lower this price. Still, according to Solar Reviews, the average U.S. cost per watt of solar is $3.00, so a similar system of standard panels would only cost $3,000.
But luckily, some historical sites are willing to pay a premium to utilize solar energy without disrupting ancient aesthetics.
Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.