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Solar Power Shingles - Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Roofing Panels
Since the roof of a house receives the most sunlight, it makes the
most sense to combine the advances of photovoltaic (PV) solar cells
with solar power shingles. This
photovoltaic roofing material provides weather protection, generates clean
electricity and is more aesthetically-pleasing than conventional solar panels.
These custom solar panels are manufactured to blend and complement
traditional asphalt roofing shingles and come in a variety of colors
to make a functional, and less-conspicuous, power solution.
The roof of a home is an ideal place for solar cells. It receives
the most unobstructed sunlight and is the least susceptible location from
vandalism and accidents (kid's bikes, rocks & soccer balls). If you're
planning on re-roofing your home this year, consider installing solar panel
shingles at the same time. Some advantages are:
- They can generate up to 30-50% of your household electrical needs
with free, pollution-free electricity. Talk to the shingle manufacturer
and roofing contractor to determine how much roof area can be dedicated
to solar shingles.
- Solar power shingles are an investment that will pay for themselves
in energy savings over a course of a few years (depending on your energy
- Conventional solar panels may not be architecturally acceptable
for your neighborhood and have unsightly wires running down the side
of the building. Solar shingles are less noticeable.
- Solar shingles have a life-span of about 30-40 years which is
similar to the life-span of good-quality asphalt shingles.
- Converting 20-30% of the solar energy into electricity will
lower the amount of solar heat penetrating through the roof and
into the dwelling below.
Some disadvantages of solar power shingles are:
- The cost of solar shingles is more than for conventional solar panels.
- The roof needs to be south facing and have an optimum pitch to maximize
electricity production for when the sun is at its highest in the sky. This
angle is dependent upon your location.
- Solar panels need to be clear of dust and debris but a roof installation
will make access more difficult. Solar power shingles are durable but cannot
support the weight of a human.
- These shingles are susceptible to hail and damage from strong winds.
Home insurance may be higher.
- This is not a do-it-yourself installation. A professional installer
is needed and finding a qualified one in your area may be difficult. The
shingle manufacturer may be able to recommend one to you.
Solar Shingle Installation
Roofing should be left to the roofing experts who are used to
working at heights and with steep roof pitches. The contractor
should start by following the conventional installation of the
asphalt shingles around the edge of the roof and work in the
solar panel shingles into the middle. A fire-resistant
underlayment (such as felt paper) is needed and the electrical
wires should to be passed into the attic through drilled holes.
An electrical contractor can then wire all of the solar power shingles
together in the attic and run them down to the power storage/conditioning
equipment in the house (charge controller, batteries, inverter and