The New York Times has an article on the rapidly evolving industry of BIPV (built In PV) solar panels - solar panels that are embedded into roof tiles - A solar powered home, without the panels.
Mr. Velosa said installation of built-in solar power was just starting in the United States, where the bulk of the installations were still experimental. But that will change, he said, because “we are seeing that the construction industry has realized that energy-efficient buildings are an opportunity for growth.” ...
Akhil Sivanandan, a research analyst in Madras, India, for the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, said that government subsidies would speed adoption of building-integrated photovoltaics in the United States, as they already have in Europe. “You need government incentives,” he said. “Even with drops in pricing and advances in technology, it is still too costly.”
In France, Germany and other countries, building-integrated solar markets are growing quickly because of subsidies and programs that pay homeowners for the electricity they generate and feed back to the power grid, he said. “In Europe, building-integrated photovoltaics already make up about 3 to 4 percent of the total solar market,” Mr. Sivanandan said, adding that the incentives help homeowners in repaying the systems’ costs in five to seven years.
But one other quality will be crucial to the popularity of building-integrated solar cells, Mr. Velosa said. “Aesthetics is key,” he observed. “They have to look good.”