Hybrid vehicles will be the first to be fitted with the system to recharge the batteries.

Hyundai and Kia have confirmed they will begin offering the option of a solar roof on select models from 2019.

The first-generation system, which be available from next year, will feature a silicon photovoltaic solar array attached to a standard roof on hybrid cars.

Under optimum conditions, Hyundai says the solar roof can recharge 58 per cent of a hybrid's battery on a summer's day, and around 30 per cent in winter.

This, the company says, will improve fuel efficiency, although it has yet to supply figures to quantify the improvement.

The Korean automaker hasn't specified which models will be available with the system, but the hybrid versions of the Hyundai Sonata and Ioniq, as well as the Kia Optima and Niro, seem to be good bets.

The second-generation system will have translucent solar cells embedded within a panoramic sunroof, allowing light into the cabin while also generating electricity.

Hyundai and Kia plan on fitting the panoramic solar roof to cars with conventional combustion engine drivetrains. Power generated from this type of roof could be used for the air conditioning and seat heating systems.

For the third-generation setup, solar panels will be fitted to the bonnet, roof and boot lid of "environmentally friendly" cars.

Both the second- and third-generation systems are under development, and no release dates have yet been announced.