“SILEO roof tile is a roof tile with the best mechanical characteristics. They are available in more than 200 colours in order to completely adapt to the aesthetics of the environment and, moreover, their frame is degradable while it is at the same time suitable to every weather condition imaginable,” says Mateja Miško, co-founder of the family start-up SILEO. Miško was a guest at April’s INNOtalks that took place at ABC Accelerator. According to her, the name SILEO comes from the Latin phrase for “new beginning”. In the spirit the name, the company itself was established by Italian and Slovenian partners. Their product comes as the result of many decades of learning from experience, their team members having worked especially in the car industry.
The team behind the project SILEO patented their product, a “marsiglies” style roof tile, that has four black solar cells. In other words, their product combines a roof tile with a photovoltaic system for the production of renewable energy. Their product is made as compact as any building material. Its installation is very simple, and it can be adapted to any type of roof with at least 5-degree incline. The frame of the roof tile is made out of high quality technopolymers, which are used primarily by high-end car industry.
Photovoltaic roof tiles work in the same way as solar panels and can be installed by a fitter or a tiler alike. With their product SILEO aims to establish themselves in the niche market of wealthy clients and owners of buildings that are protected by cultural heritage laws. “Latest trends show rapid growth in photovoltaic installations and we believe that we can fill that desired niche. That is something that manufacturers of conventional solar panels cannot achieve,” Miško adds.
Red solar panels are sexier than black ones
“Red cells are a lot more difficult to obtain than black ones. Recently, however, we have managed to get a producer of the red cells. Yet there is preparation of the samples and testing to be done before we enter the market with them, which can delay it for many months,” Miško says and continues, that their company is very particular about the efficiency of the red cells, since the black ones are more effective to begin with. “I do find the red ones a lot sexier than the black ones,” she says laughing.
Miško mentions that today’s technology is ever-changing in all of the areas. Consequently, it is costly to lose time, especially in business world where certain people have great ideas but hesitate with their realization.
SILEO’s team is currently also searching for a new strategic partner that would enable them to automate the production of their product.
With their sales they are targeting the global market, currently they are concentrating on B2B segment, especially to the architects and in a smaller margin B2C. Their vision is that in couple of years SILEO will be established as an international company: “as we speak, we are getting inquiries from South American countries and others, for example, Ukraine”.
Their main competitor is Elon Musk
It is worth mentioning, that SILEO was awarded 2nd place in a national competition PowerUp! that took place at Ljubljana Castle. At the time, SILEO’s team stated, that their photovoltaic roof tile product came as a solution for people living in the city. It often happens that local regulations do not allow installation of standard solar panels on historic buildings. With SILEO’s product, anyone can have solar panels installed on their roof top and take full advantage of renewable energy, still preserving the aesthetics of their rustic home.
The main competitor of the start-up company is Elon Musk, whose photovoltaic roof tiles are not available at the moment. But as Miško concluded at InnoEnergy PowerUp! competition: their competitors, however, do not offer the same functionality as SILEO’s product- the competitors’ quality is lower, while the price is higher.