CBC Interviews Katherine Zhou, Solar Shingle Canada Founder June 2, 2021

Solar windows, shingles and cladding? The building itself is now the solar panel

On June 2, 2021, CBC’s reporter Emily Chung interviewed Katherine Zhou, Founder and President of LDK Technologies Inc., which operates under the trade name Solar Shingle Canada. The interview focused on the emergence of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) technologies, building elements that generate electricity from the sun, as alternatives to conventional rack mounted solar photovoltaic panels. Solar Shingle Canada invented its long-lasting steel-based and very attractive photovoltaic roofing in 2016 and since then has been supplying homes with this iinovative technology.

Wasser Resources helped launch this Canadian CleanTech and has provided support including marketing and sales support since them. Although the primary market for solar shingles are homeowners who want both energy independence as well and high reliability and great appearance, solar shingles are increasingly being sought by farmers, cottagers and for remote northern communities.

The following are some excerpts from the June 2, 2021, CBC interview:

BIPVs can simplify installation and potentially save on costs.

PV Technical Services, based in St. George-Brant County, Ont., has been installing traditional solar panels for more than a decade. Co-founder Katherine Zhou said customers started asking why they had to hire one contractor to re-roof their home first and another to install the racks and panels on top — especially since the rooftop penetration required for the panel installation voided the roof warranty. 

So the company developed its own solar shingle in 2016. Now, for a cost that Zhou estimates is similar to a metal roof installation, her company can put in solar shingles that both protect the roof from the elements and generate power. “That saves a lot of headaches,” she said.

They can potentially last longer than traditional building materials.

Andreas Athienitis, a researcher at Concordia University in Montreal who studies BIPV, said that while asphalt shingles typically last about 15 years, solar panels can last 30 years, with only a small decrease in efficiency. (Many solar shingle systems, such as the one from PV Technical Services, are “smart” and allow you to monitor and replace individual shingles, if necessary.) 

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