With home solar power systems becoming more popular every year, some builders are looking for creative ways to incorporate this amazing alternative energy solution into their homes. Even though modern solar panels have improved over the years to be much more productive and durable, they are still a very obvious addition to a home that impacts the aesthetics of the design. Because of this many builders and homeowners are looking for alternative ways to build a solar power system into their homes that is less noticeable. Solar panel roof shingles allow a homeowner to enjoy the free power that these home solar power systems provide without the need to mount a set of solar panels on the roof.
Solar panel shingles have been in development for the past few years and there have been versions of them available commercially for some time. What set the recent wave of these solar power shingles apart from the earlier models are their durability and their mounting options. Older solar shingles were hard to add to a roof because of the way they mounted and connected to the homes electrical system. Most of these early models had to be mounted in large groups on the roof and because they were typically thicker than current models, they were about as obvious as a standard solar panel cosmetically. Modern versions of these solar roof shingles are thinner and can be mixed in with standard roof shingles to help them better blend into a roof’s design. They are also available in a wider variety of colors to allow you to match them to the color of the other roof shingles.
The mounting on these newer solar panel shingles is simpler as well and conforms to the nail patterns of a standard sheet of roof shingles. This makes it easier for them to be incorporated into the standard roofing materials. It also allows a builder to have them installed by the same roofing company that is doing the rest of the building’s shingles. This can save time and money on the installation and make these types of home solar power systems very affordable. The wiring for these solar panel shingles is run through the roofing material and the interconnections are done inside of the attic. This way there are no visible wires on the roof which males for a cleaner installation.
Besides the cosmetic advantages that these newer solar power shingles provide, they are also more durable than a standard solar panel installation. This is mainly due to the fact that a solar panel is typically mounted on a frame that is raised a few inches above the roofing material on a home. The gap between the solar panels and the roof allows rain, ice and debris to flow below the panel and off the roof. The challenge is that this gap also allows wind to flow beneath the panel, which creates a lifting action on the panel. In areas of high winds, this can be a concern and may damage a panel if it isn’t mounted securely. Also, areas that receive heavy snowfall present a hazard for conventional solar panels as well. The weight of the accumulating snow can twist and damage a panel that is not supported fully. Because the solar panel shingles lie flat on the roof, they are not subjected to these hazards and can last for years once installed.
While these solar shingles will not produce as much power as a typical panel of the same size, they are increasing their efficiency every year and are close enough today to make financial sense for many homes. When you consider the advantages they provide over conventional solar panels in durability and aesthetics, they are fast becoming the solution of choice for many homeowners.