Solar Shingles

Solar Roof Shingles - A Great Start to Your Solar Energy Journey

Solar shingles can be installed on an existing conventional home or designed into new construction. Homeowners who desire to enjoy the benefits of solar energy are opting for solar roof shingles rather than simply solar panels to provide power to their homes.

For some homeowners, solar power shingles are their first investment into solar energy, whereas others already employ some form of renewable energy and want to add that much more to their home. Solar panels are seen as aesthetically unattractive to some, so these amazing shingles are the perfect solution.

What is a Solar Shingle?

Solar roofing shingles are small versions of photovoltaic panels that appear just like conventional shingles. The deep purple color of these shingles blends nicely on almost any home and is therefore very attractive to homeowners from an aesthetic point of view.

Solar powered shingles are relatively new in the marketplace, but we will begin seeing more of them as more people are realizing their benefits.

Fun Design Options With Solar Power Shingles

It’s possible to create visually interesting designs on the roof by alternating solar shingles with slate or cement shingles, depending on how much power you need to generate. There are several textures and sizes available to create a roof that fits your home beautifully.

Different Types of Solar Electric Shingles

There are three types of solar roof shingles:

  • Solid panels that are the size and shape of regular shingles

  • Shingles that come in strips

  • Thin film solar technology

How Do Solar Roof Shingles Work?

Solar power shingles capture the energy from the sun, producing anywhere from 17 to 50 watts of electricity per shingle. Once you begin adding that up, you realize very quickly that an entire roof of solar shingles can generate quite a bit of energy. You may even find that you’re generating surplus energy that can be “sold” back to your local energy company.

If you want to use the grid as a backup system, then once the shingles and solar inverter are installed, you’re set. The inverter will convert the sun’s energy into electricity that can power your appliances, cool your home, and heat your home. This is the most inexpensive way to add solar power to your home.

However, if you would prefer to go off-grid, you’ll need to invest in backup batteries and all of the hardware associated with that, which is the most expensive route to go (but sometimes necessary in some areas of the world).

The solar roof shingles are installed over brand new or existing roof sheathing. Many homeowners take this on as a do-it-yourself project.

However, after the shingles have been attached to the roof, an electrician must come in and install the wiring necessary to connect the shingles together and connect the power to your home’s electrical system.

Benefits of Using Solar Roofing Shingles

  • Generate free electricity, which lowers energy costs

  • Attractive

  • Clean source of power

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Durable enough to withstand 80 mph winds

  • Home value is increased

  • Fully integrated shingled roof

  • One-time investment

  • Rebates available from government

There are a few drawbacks too…

Limitations of Solar Power Shingles

  • Cost prohibitive for many people at a basic cost of $20,000 to start (more for larger roofs and the addition of backup batteries, if desired)

  • No power is generated if the sun isn’t shining

  • Can take longer to install than traditional shingles

Of course, homes in sunnier areas of the world will benefit the most from the addition of solar powered shingles to their home.

Geographic location can make a difference also from the standpoint of how much you'll actually save on your energy costs. For example, electricity costs more in the larger cities than it does outside large metropolitan areas, so if your home is located in a suburban or rural area, you may not save as much by switching to solar as someone in a big city would save by making the same switch.

You might decide that the initial investment would be too costly even over the long term when you estimate how much you'd save by installing solar shingles on your home. It would be wise to do the math before signing on the dotted line.

But, if you’re looking to build a brand new house and want to “go green”, these cost-saving shingles should at least be a consideration for long-term benefits.

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