Have you considered home solar power? What is stopping you from switching to the clean renewable energy source? If you are like most homeowners, there are several factors: cost, appearance and complexity. Yet, with solar shingles, its easy to let your roof cover your electricity bills!
Since 2005, solar shingles (also known as photovoltaic shingles) have been quietly making news as a low-profile way to install solar panels on your home. Typically only about 12X86 inches in size, solar roof shingles can be stapled directly to roofing cloth with an appearance much like regular roof tiles.
Free solar electricity is simple when you have solar shingles on your home. Simply stated, here is an overview of how they work: a semiconductor layer made of crystalline silicon (the same factor in PV panels) is laminated to a single roof shingle surface. When UV light strikes the shingle, solar electricity is generated. Each solar shingle can produce 50-200 watts of energy. With an entire rooftop, you’ll be able to power your entire home.
Unlike regular roof tiles, solar roof shingles may last up to 40 years (compared to 20-30 years). Not only can you bypass electricity bills for this period of time, but your roof itself could last longer! In addition, excess solar electricity generated by solar shingles can be stored in a battery, or fed back into the grid for extra utility credit through net metering.
With respect to solar roof shingles: Wikipedia says:
“Backup storage, in the form of batteries, is expensive, adds complexity to the installation, and is uneconomic in any large scale. Battery backup units require an array of additional hardware. This includes batteries, battery enclosures, battery charge controllers, and separate sub panels for critical load circuits. However, grid power is only useful as a backup system if it is available when solar power is not.”
The cost of solar shingles is not extraordinary, especially when compared to traditional PV panels. There are generous local, state and federal tax incentives to help defray the cost. In addition, money you save on annual electricity bills adds to the value of your home. Consider this: For every $1 in annual electricity bills that is saved by installing solar panels results in an equivalent $20 rise in property value. So, a $1200 savings per year (a very modest estimate) is automatically $24,000 added to the value of your home.
In addition to free solar electricity and an increased property value, solar shingles can also give you peace of mind. That’s right… when the power goes out around town, you may still have electricity at your home with solar energy. Think of the safety and security aspects of these benefits!
If we haven’t already convinced you to install solar shingles on your home, consider this: they can be installed in 10 hours (about 1/2 the time of traditional PV panels). Companies that make solar shingles include SunPower Corporation, Solar Components Corporation, Atlantis Energy Systems, and Dow Chemical.