rooftop tiles (PRNewsfoto/Hanergy Holding Group Ltd.) Courtesy Hanergy

A Chinese firm has developed a glass-topped solar roofing tile that should go on sale later this year, reports Green Building Advisor's Scott Gibson. The company has opened a California sales office and plans on national distribution this year.

Made of thin-film photovoltaics and high-transmittance glass, HanTiles from Beijing-based Hanergy could be a potential challenger for Tesla's Solar Roof. They can also replace conventional roofing.

For now, the company is staying mum about most of the details. The announcement posted on the website PR Newswire says each tile weighs about 11 1/2 pounds, and Shubert adds that each tile could generate up to 35 watts of electricity. But no pricing information has been released, and even the physical dimensions of a tile are under wraps.

Like Tesla solar tiles, HanTiles come in two versions — one that produces electricity and one that doesn't. Solar and non-solar tiles look exactly the same, Shubert said, so the electrical output of the roof can be adjusted without any obvious visual clues. The single layer of glass on top of the thin-film collector is in a wavy pattern with three distinct arches.

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