SUNNY SIDE UP

SUNNY SIDE UP

BUILDING materials developer B-Pods Holdings is preparing to launch a roof tile that generates solar power.

The KISSTile was a finalist in the 2006 Australian Design Awards and is now undergoing final testing at Bond University’s Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture and Townsville City Council’s Rowes Bay depot.

The product replaces standard concrete roof tiles with a technical package that generates both solar power and solar hot water for buildings. Research and development costs of around $2.3 million have been funded by power giant Ergon Energy. B-Pods Holdings CEO Jason Perkins, says the technology is now patented in 28 countries and a manufacturing-distribution partnership deal could be secured within months.

“We want to secure a major corporate partner for the Australian market to take advantage of their market size and existing marketing and distribution channels to ensure that the roll-out of the KISSTile is efficient and effective,” he says.

“This is a world-beating technology product and it is already attracting significant interest around the world. We are obviously intending to export the product and we will be looking to raise capital in the near future to help fund our goals.”

Bond University vice chancellor Robert Stable revealed the product to 60 of the nation’s leading building experts and academics at the Australasian University Building Educators Association conference last month. Less than 10 per cent of Australian homes are fitted with solar panels, but Perkins believes the product’s low profile design will be highly received by the consumer market.

“Our research shows that one of the major reasons why Australians are not installing solar panels is because they are ugly,” he says.

“The KISSTile is designed to look very much like a modern roof tile and not take away from the design of the house.

“Because BPod has gained the international patents over the technology, the nearest competition we have will be people selling separate packages of roof mounted solar power cells and roof mounted solar hot water systems.”

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