Written on the 10 August 2012


ROOF tiles have protected buildings from the elements for centuries.

A Gold Coast entrepreneur has now developed tiles that also harness the sun’s energy.

Tractile has formulated tiles with built-in solar panels that the company says produces enough electricity to eliminate the need for a traditional roof-mounted solar hot water system.

The company’s integrated photovoltaic thermal panels recently won a prestigious innovation award, which gives Tractile access to an upcoming trade show in Singapore expected to attract more than 25,000 vendors.

“In the industry, this is a pretty big deal,” says Tractile CEO Jason Perkins (pictured).

“We get notoriety and fame because it creates a lot of publicity, with a lot more people aware of our product.”

Tractile, owned by B-Pod Pty Ltd, is starting to make a habit of winning awards.

The company won a Commercialisation Australia proof of concept innovation award worth $200,000 and won a similar cash award from Urban Energy in 2010.

Perkins hopes to turn the accolades into sales.

“We are looking to raise capital to fund the roll out of the product. We are interested in talking to potential investors because we are ready to sell the product – we are taking orders now,” he says.

It is six years since Perkins invested in the business. Plenty of research followed and Perkins says Tractile has not finished innovating.

“We were looking for ways to make cladding offer more value – could we include more technology that could provide other benefits?” he recalls.

“These are light-weight, high-performance tiles incorporating photovoltaic panels that can provide solar hot water and also provide energy for the home.”

Tractile manufactures two types of solar tiles, the Horizon, with an output of 55 watts per tile and the Eclipse that can create up to 95 watts of power.

Three test projects have been completed using the Tractile tiles. Ergon Energy funded the manufacture and installation of two 1.5KW systems while Bond University used the tiles on its 6-star green rated School of Sustainable Development. Townsville City Council used the tiles on an eco-efficient new depot.






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