Building-integrated photovoltaics systems, or BIPVs, combine solar cells with slate, metal, fiber-cement or asphalt roofing, which create the solar shingles. There are many options available, the most popular mimics the look of standard asphalt shingles. Other options available are flexible and can even be stapled directly into the roofing cloth. Solar panel shingles are able to generate electricity when the sun strikes a semiconductor layer, typically crystalline silicon which is laminated to the shingle’s surface. One shingle by itself doesn’t produce much power, just between 50 and 200 watts, but by adding the solar shingles across a large portion of your roof, you can then harness enough energy to power the entire needs of a home.
Beside the aesthetic appeal that shingles provide, they also offer other prominent benefits including the same protection and durability of traditional shingles while also producing electricity. Solar shingles come with special support structures that can withstand wind speeds equal to 80 mph, they are light weight, modular, easy to install and have relatively low installation costs, especially if you are already roofing your new home or are in need of a new roof for your current home.
Solar Roof Shingles vs. Residential Solar Panels
Thought both of these technologies bring renewable energy to your home in the same way, there are a few things to consider when choosing between them.
Solar shingles work most efficiently when installed on a south-facing roof. They also need a roof that has a substrait that can handle getting hot. These disadvantages generally rule out certain homes with weakly angled or flat roofs as well as roofs with improper air circulation. It’s best to have a contractor or installer out to evaluate your roof to see if it meets the requirements.
The main advantages of solar shingles over solar panels, is that solar shingles look just like a roof, without the use of bulky panels. And unlike solar panels, solar roof shingles not only provide electricity, but they actually protect your house from the elements like standard roofing shingles. So if you are building a new home or roof, or if your roof happens to be a good candidate, then solar roof shingles are a nice looking way to power your house with green energy.
The advantages of residential solar panels is that they are cheaper and larger with the ability to collect more sunlight. They are also placed on adjustable tracks which allow solar panels to go on roofs of various slopes, and are easy to relocate and removable.
Installing Solar Roof Shingles
Solar roofing shingles can be installed faster than standard solar panels with the initial cost estimated at around $20,000. They can be installed on both the front and back side of the roof because the system does not require direct sunlight to produce electricity.
They are installed like asphalt tiles and can be installed over new or existing roof sheathing. Solar shingles are put in layered form on the roof with 5 inches of the shingle exposed to sun. After the installation, wiring is connected to home electrical appliances by electrician or expert in solar energy systems.
Are Solar Roof Shingles Right For Me?
Though solar roof shingles may not be more expensive than standard solar panels, they cost around 12 to 13 dollars per installed watt, as solar PV technology continues to improve, solar roof shingles will no doubt become thinner, cheaper, and more efficient. Many consumers appear willing to pay a premium for solar power that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In the end, solar roof shingles offer a great option for those homeowners looking to achieve renewable energy goals with conventional aesthetics in mind. If you’re looking for the most affordable solar electric solution, you probably won’t find it in solar roof shingles, at least not yet. However, over the longer term, the technology of solar roof shingles is likely to greatly influence the way we think about, and look at solar powered homes.