The house of the founder of Freesuns is a stunning example of the 1960s Modernist architecture. Known locally in the village as “The Architect’s House”, it was designed by and the home of the architect Gilles Barbey. When purchased in 2014, the house was in desperate need of a new roof as the cement fibre tiles were at the end of their 50-year life and the roof was leaking water.
We immediately saw an opportunity to use the large, south-facing roof area for solar generation. However, putting up traditional solar panels on our roof would have ruined the aesthetics of the architecture. John, the founder of Freesuns, designed a solar tile which could be a direct replacement for the traditional tiles, thus maintaining the architectural integrity of the house, while allowing every surface of the roof to generate power.
In 2016, the roof of the house was lifted and 240 m2 of our new solar tiles were installed. The project tested installation techniques, integration with existing roofing components and the electrical systems for managing the power consumption and grid connection.