Solar roof shingles

Solar roof shingles

Posted by Solar energy guru | Filed under Solar panels & photovoltaic cells

Solar roof shingles are small photovoltaic panels that are used in place of regular shingles to provide free electricity. They are popular with homeowners who want to maintain the appearance of their homes while gaining the benefits of solar power. The notorious blue wall effect created by large solar panels is certainly unattractive, and its one of the main reasons homeowners give for not using solar power. Using solar shingles avoids this problem because they can be distributed across the entire roof, and even be arranged in attractive mosaic patterns on roofs with light colored shingles. Their deep purple color is ideal for blending in with asphalt shingles, and the large range of sizes and textures available increases the chances of finding a match for any roof.

Solar shingles that use thin-film technology have a low profile and can bend, eliminating the need for a bulky support structure. It also allows them to be formed into curved shingles, something other panels cannot do. They are encased in a tough housing that makes them resistant to hail and wind damage. The shingles typically have a warranty of twenty years, and the support systems usually have a minimum five year warranty. They require no maintenance other than occasionally clearing the leaves off them. They are silent and have no moving parts, unlike wind turbines, and they do not suffer from corrosion like solar hot water collectors.

Solar singles may take more time to install than larger solar panels but the visual improvement is certainly worth it. They still require all the electrical support systems that other solar panels use such as controllers, meters, inverters, and possibly batteries for backup power. There is considerable time and expense required to install any solar system, so checking with local authorities first is essential. Local building codes may require the homeowner to obtain approval before installing solar shingles, especially for heritage protected buildings. It may also be necessary to have them installed by a licensed builder, and have the support systems connected by an electrician.

Solar roof shingles

Once the original shingle is removed, the wires on the back of the solar shingle are pushed through the roofing felt into the cavity. The shingle is then nailed in its place using the per-drilled nail holes along the edges. Once all the shingles are in place, an electrician can connect their wires to a junction box, and then to the support systems, and finally the house switchboard. There is little danger from installing the shingles as their output voltage is so low, but connecting the support systems to the switchboard is potentially dangerous.

Many governments now provide subsidies for the installation of renewable energy products, including solar shingles. While this helps offset the cost, it is still more expensive per kilowatt than buying power off the grid. That will most likely change in future as carbon trading schemes increase the price of electricity generated from polluting power sources. Solar shingles can even make money in some places that allow excess electricity to be fed back into the grid, effectively making the meter run backward.

Solar roof shingles are attractive, easy to install, and save money on electricity costs in the long term. While they are more expensive than other solar panels and can take longer to install, many homeowners feel the cost is worth it to maintain the appearance of their homes. When the time comes to sell the home, the solar shingles make an excellent selling point, and can potentially increase the value of the home by more than the cost of installing them.


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