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Lumeta expands solar roof tile production with Suntech

Building-integrated photovoltaics gets a boost with power-producing terracotta roof tiles.

Lumeta on Tuesday announced a manufacturing deal with Chinese solar panel producer Suntech for Lumeta's solar roof tiles.

Under the deal, Suntech will supply solar modules for Lumeta's building-integrated photovoltaic roof tiles.

A power-producing roof. Lumeta

Lumeta's Solar S Tile, launched earlier this year, looks just like terracotta concrete roof tiles but are covered with a solar cell that generates electricity. Lumeta, a subsidiary of DRI Companies, announced the supply deal at the Solar World 2007 industry conference.

The solar industry is pursuing building-integrated photovoltaics as a way to reduce the cost of solar electric installations.

One advantage of solar roof tiles is that they don't look any different from a regular roof. However, it is unclear whether they are as economical as traditional solar panels.