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If you're going to reap the benefits of solar energy on your roof, why not have solar panels that are installed just like conventional roofing materials? These flush-mounted tiles offer both power and heat, so you can use them for electricity and hot water at the same time.

SolarCentury is attempting to make solar energy as user-friendly as possible, integrating its components into conventional construction. While the company's site mentions that you can have these tiles for as little as $12,100, that's not going to cover a complete roof or come close to getting you off the grid.

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Therein lies the problem with this solar technology: it's too expensive to be cost-effective, yet. If the price of these tiles can be lowered to something close to that of conventional roofing materials, the idea might get some traction. Until then, it's just a science project. That is, unless the flow of "cheap oil" suddenly stops.

Product page [via Treehugger]