You can now buy solar shingles that look like your existing asphalt shingles. They have a similar matte finish and are the same size. The big difference is that they are covered with thin film solar cells that collect sunlight and turn it into electricity. The thin film technology means you won’t have to build a large structure (an array) on top of your roof to hold solar panels. And the solar shingles will collect the same amount of energy as a solar panel array, but are much less visually intrusive.
Some homeowner associations won’t allow home solar panels to be mounted on a rooftop or in a back yard. And even if you still have to get your homeowner association to allow you to install solar shingles, it will be much easier to convince your neighbors (and board members) to say yes to solar cells that look just like the shingles on their roofs.
Solar shingles systems can be off-grid or tied to the grid
This means they can be used with a solar energy system that is self contained (off-grid) or that is tied into the public utility system (tied to the grid). The thin film technology works basically the same way as the larger solar panel systems. Sunlight is still being captured by photovoltaic cells and converted into energy. but the materials used in manufacturing the solar shingles are smaller. Developments in solar technology have allowed improvements that reduce the size needed to produce the same amount of energy. The smaller shingle-sized cells are now efficient enough to produce a significant amount of energy.
Besides the visual appeal, another nice feature of the solar shingles is that they can be replaced as easily as traditional shingles. They’re made to last for more than 20 years, depending on the manufacturer. And they’re built to withstand harsh weather like hail and high winds. But if they do need to be replaced, it’s as easy as replacing traditional asphalt shingles. More info on sun roof here
Still, these solar shingles are relatively new on the market, so you may have to do some research to find a supplier near you. You’ll also need to find a reputable installer who is familiar with the product. your best bet is to search online for solar shingle or building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs) manufacturers and suppliers, they will be able to refer you to a professional home solar systems installer in your area.
Solar shingles can be a good alternative to installing solar panels on the roof. They are made with flexible thin film photovoltaic solar cells that are not only lighter weight than solar panels, but will deliver similar solar energy. If you do not like the idea of a large solar array installation on your roof, and you are good with a hammer and nails and a measuring tape, you may even be able to do some of the installation yourself. Here are some facts that will help you decide whether you want to install them yourself or hire a pro.
Solar shingles installation
The design of your roof will influence how easy the job will be. The easiest installation environment is a large gable roof with composition shingles. This design provides large areas of unobstructed roof surface, and the thin film solar shingles can be easily integrated into the composition shingles. Since thin film shingles produce about half of the electricity of traditional solar panels covering that same area, you should estimate using about twice the surface roof area that a solar panel array would require.
Installing the solar shingles is very similar to installing traditional composition shingles, and you can even use regular roofing nails. But solar shingles contain wiring that transfers the electricity produced by the solar cells into the electrical system of your house. For each shingle, you will need to drill a hole through the roof, insert the electrical wire, and then connect it to the rest of the array from underneath the roof. The holes and wires must be precisely placed, which can make for tedious work if you are installing the PV shingles over a large area.
For this reason, it is important to plan ahead and know exactly where you will install the solar shingles. Also keep in mind that they cannot be cut like composition shingles, so there is much less room for error during installation. But if you are willing to take the time and effort, you will have an attractive roof that delivers clean and inexpensive solar power to your home.