Solar Roof Shingles
What Are Solar Roof Shingles?
With the invention and innovation of solar roof shingles, it is becoming hard to distinguish solar-powered homes from conventional homes. Solar panel shingles use technology that enables homeowners to meet their energy goals without compromising on the aesthetics of their home. Solar roof shingles are modular photovoltaic (PV) cells that are disguised as roof shingles. These solar-powered shingles blend almost seamlessly in with traditional roofing materials.
Systems called "building-integrated photovoltaics," or BIPVs, combine solar cells with slate, metal, fiber-cement and even asphalt roofing which create the solar roof shingles. There are a variety of options available, even some that are black and mimic the look of typical asphalt shingles. Several are flexible and can even be stapled directly into the roofing cloth. Solar panel shingles generate electricity when the sun strikes a semiconductor layer, typically crystalline silicon which is laminated to the shingle's surface. One shingle by itself doesn't produce a whole lot of power, only between 50 and 200 watts which is only enough to power a window fan. But by adding the solar roof shingles across a large portion of your roof, you can harness enough energy to power a whole house.
In addition to the aesthetic appeal that solar roof shingles provide, they also provide other prominent benefits. Solar shingles offer the same protection and durability of traditional shingles while also producing energy. Solar roof shingles come with special support structures that can withstand wind speeds equal to 80 mph. Solar roof shingles have relatively low installation costs, especially if you're roofing your home or are in need of a new roof for your current home. Solar roof shingles are also light weight and modular and fairly easy to install and replace.
Solar Roof Shingles vs. Residential Solar Panels
Both of these photovoltaic (PV) technologies bring renewable energy to your home in the same way, but there are a few things to consider when choosing between them. Each is better suited to a certain type of structure, and this is likely to factor into your decision.
Solar Roof Shingles:
Solar roof shingles work most efficiently when installed on a south-facing roof. They also need a roof that has a substrait that can handle getting hot. These disadvantages generally rule out certain homes with weakly angled or flat roofs as well as roofs with improper air circulation. It's best to have a contractor or installer out to evaluate your roof to see if it meets the requirements.
The main advantages of solar roof shingles over solar panels, is that solar roof shingles look just like a roof, without the use of bulky panels. And unlike solar panels, solar roof shingles not only provide electricity, but they actually protect your house from the elements like standard roofing shingles. So if you are building a new home or roof, or if your roof happens to be a good candidate, then solar roof shingles are a nice looking way to power your house with green energy.
Residential Solar Panels:
The advantages of residential solar panels over solar roof shingles, is that residential solar panels are cheaper and bigger so that they can collect more sunlight. They are also placed on adjustable tracks which allow solar panels to go on roofs of various slopes, not to mention they are removable and easy to relocate without buying a new roof.
Installing Solar Roof Shingles
Solar roofing shingles can be installed faster than standard solar panels. The initial cost of solar roof shingles is estimated at around $20,000. You can install solar roof shingles on both the front and back side of the roof because the systems doesn't require direct sunlight but produce electricity as long as there's daylight, even on cloudy days.
They are installed like asphalt tiles and can be installed over new or existing roof sheathing. Solar roof shingles are put in layered form on the roof with 5 inches of the shingle exposed to sun. After the installation, wiring is connected to home electrical appliances by electrician or expert in solar energy systems. You can then go off grid entirely or feed the electricity back into your local power grid which you can then profit from.
Are Solar Roof Shingles Right For Me?
Though solar roof shingles may not be more expensive than standard solar panels, they cost around 12 to 13 dollars per installed watt, as solar PV technology continues to improve, solar roof shingles will no doubt become thinner, cheaper, and more efficient. Many consumers appear willing to pay a premium for solar power that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In the end, solar roof shingles offer a great option for those homeowners looking to achieve renewable energy goals with conventional aesthetics in mind. If you're looking for the most affordable solar electric solution, you probably won't find it in solar roof shingles, at least not yet. However, over the longer term, the technology of solar roof shingles is likely to greatly influence the way we think about, and look at solar powered homes.
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