Telangana-based Visaka Industries today announced it had been granted a patent for its ‘ATUM’ solar roof product by the South African Patent Office. The patent, valid for 20 years, has been granted for the invention titled ‘eco-friendly energy-generating roofs.’
ATUM is a solar power-generating roof with solar panels (made with poly or mono-crystalline solar cells) integrated on cement boards—a highly durable roofing material, making it the world’s first solar panel which can be directly used as a roof.
Unlike other solar panels that need to be separately mounted upon a racking system and placed on the truss, Atum is both the roof and the solar panel. It provides a sleek and simpler integrated solar rooﬁng system while increasing energy generation by 20-40% compared to convention solar rooftops.
Further, compared to galvanized steel sheets, ATUM solar roof minimizes the effects of heat and rain without requiring an insulation mat under the roof.
While granting the patent, the South Africa Patent Office recognized ATUM as a unique integrated solar product “[that] can be used as a roof, facade, or other building applications. It also relates to a method of preparing, designing, and producing the solar cement boards by integrating the cement boards with that of solar panels to form an envisaged single entity. The solar cement board comprises a plurality of solar energy capturing components like photovoltaic (PV) cells or the like, sandwiched over specially treated fiber cement board or the likes.”
The patent from the South African Patent Office paves the way for introducing ATUM in South Africa and other African countries.
“South Africa, due to its geographic location, receives large amounts of solar energy and is the largest solar market on the African continent. An integrated, solar energy generating roof like ATUM can enable distributed microgrids, which is the need of the hour in South Africa, and increase the country’s pace of adoption of solar energy. With the number of unelectrified in South Africa and elsewhere in the continent, the adoption of solar could be a gamechanger,” the company said in a statement.
Global safety science company UL has already certified ATUM solar roof as per the latest International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and UL standards for successfully passing the solar photovoltaic (PV) module tests. ATUM has also been certified by Campbell Corporation to take a uniform load of 780 lbs per sqft and a snow load of 2200 lbs. The jointing mechanism in the roof is a patented leakproof system as per American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM) standards. The roof is class A fire rated and designed to take wind speeds of over 150 kmph, making it hurricane proof.
ATUM has been successfully installed across many locations in India, including Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Mumbai (Maharashtra), and Hyderabad (Telangana), and in Sharjah, UAE.
Visaka Industries Limited received the patent for ATUM from the India Patent Office in September 2020.
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