Home exhibiting Tesla solar roof. Image by Tesla.

Last month, Elon Musk announced the availability of Tesla’s new solar roof. These solar roofs are made to masquerade as tasteful, modern shingles; their attractive panels offer roofs from sleek modern to French slate. The solar panels are hidden in a pane of glass which contains a hydrographic coloring–a process that uses water to apply printed designs– to provide texture.

But, these shingles must not only look good, like all solar panels, they must be tough enough to withstand elemental threats.

Wind, rain, snow, sun, extreme temperatures–these are all stresses to any structure, especially solar panels. Because solar panels serve as an energy source, there is no room for failure in the field. The bonds that keep them together such as bonds between dissimilar materials, bonds on low energy polymers, coatings, laminates, and seals, must withstand the stresses as well. That’s why solar panel manufacturers turn to the Surface Analyst.

The Surface Analyst has helped manufacture solar panels at several steps in the production process to produce a strong, reliable product. The first step is assessing the initial surface cleanliness level: the Surface Analyst measures incoming supplier parts to verify they are up to the manufacturer’s specifications.

The next step for the Surface Analyst is monitoring surface treatment processes prior to bonding. Whether it’s bonding of low energy polymers, dissimilar materials, coatings, or laminates, the Surface Analyst confirms the surface is ready to successfully hold a bond. Verifying and monitoring surface cleanliness gives manufacturers the confidence to guarantee their product can hold up in the field.

As the necessity to turn toward alternative energies gains prominence, solar companies continue to evolve and the Surface Analyst is right there to facilitate improvements and the engineering of smarter products.