Solar shingles are an exciting new technology that replace existing roof shingles with solar shingle photovoltaic cells that convert the sun's light into electricity for use in your home. Solar shingles can save you money and help save the planet. Solar shingle generate no hydrocarbons. Solar shingle can reduce or eliminate your home use of electricity produced by CO2 producing power plants. And the energy source for solar shingle, the sun, is free!
Solar shingles look like conventional shingles and, generating electricity and keeping the look of your house, they protect the roof from rain and weather just like the old fashion kind of shingle. Solar shingles can save you tons of money in energy costs. In some cases, solar shingle can generate more electricity than you need that can be sold back to the power company. Initial costs are higher than solar panels, but many believe that the aesthetics more than make up for it.
Solar shingle are the result of the great advances made in solar cell technology in the past few years. Most solar shingles are about 12 inches wide and are laid in an overlapping pattern either grouped together in one area of the roof, mixed in with asphalt shingles in a patchwork pattern, or covering the entire roof. The solar shingles are connected to each other and then either into an inverter that converts the electric current into usable AC, or into a battery for storage to use after dark or on cloudy days. If a battery system is not used then the excess electricity the solar shingle produce goes directly into the power grid where it is sold to the local power company.
Solar shingles are more expensive to install than larger solar panels. However, when you take into account the savings on the roofing tiles that the solar shingle replace and the tremendous savings in energy costs, it can reduce the impact of the up-front costs.
Installing solar shingles on you roof is much easier and faster than installing solar panels. Solar shingles come in thin squares that are the same size as conventional asphalt shingle. They are layered in the standard shingle patterns.
Initial costs are high, about $ 30,000 installed for an envelope roof of solar shingle. But, most do not cover their endless roof with solar shingle, just a section or two, depending on how much they want to spend and their energy needs. However, an entire roof of solar shingles in a sunny area could power your entire home and then some. The excess is sold back to the power company (if you are not off the grid) and you can actually make money on the deal.
I would not recommend trying to install solar shingles yourself unless you have training from the manufacturer and roofing experience. Also, do not expect a conventional roofer to know how to install solar shingles, no matter what they might tell you. Go with an experienced installer. You can get a referral from the manufacturer or retailer, or you can find one in your area from an on-line contractor referral service.
There are two primary manufacturers of solar shingle. Atlantis Energy Systems and United Solar-Ovonic. The Atlantis Solarslate solar shingle produce about 13 watts each. The Uni-Solar Shingles produce 17 watts each. Expect to pay about $ 12 per watt by the time they are up and running.
The federal government offers a one time tax credit for solar energy installation. Many states offer increasingly generous credits and subsidies for home owners who install solar shingle roofs. Check with your state to see what kind of incentives they have.