Solar roofing shingles are photovoltaic cells that are designed to meld with conventional asphalt. First produced in 2005, the material has since undergone significant changes in design and manufacture. Solar cells used to come in shingle-sized solid panels in a semi-rigid design that featured multiple shingle-shaped silicone cells. Today, roofing shingles made from thin solar cell technology are designed to match the look of asphalt shingles a whole lot better than before.
The solar roofing shingles on the market today come with a system that converts direct sunlight into electricity. The benefits of this technology are already being enjoyed by homeowners the world over. Here are some of them:
- They offset your energy costs. Each roofing shingle is estimated to produce around 13 to 63 watts. Major manufacturers report that a typical installation can save you around 40 to 60 percent off your energy bills. How much you save depends on where you live, how much sunlight the photovoltaic system gets, your roof’s configuration, and your local utility provider’s rates.
- They enhance curb appeal. You may have seen solar shingles atop your neighbor’s house without realizing what they really were. These shingles are built to integrate with your roofing system, which minimizes visible visual breaks and disparities. You don’t have to worry about heavy profiles or compromised traditional roof lines.
- They raise your home’s market value. If you are thinking of selling, solar shingles can help you close a sale successfully. With the rising popularity of the material, buyers will definitely consider it a plus to be able to move into a new home that can already equip them with their very own source of solar power.
Some types of solar shingles are also engineered to withstand the elements – and for a long time. Experts say solar products only lose about half a percent per year in efficiency. Also, solar shingles cost considerably less than solar panels.
Making the most out of your investment in solar shingles, however, takes special care and caution. Mind these factors before commissioning an installation.
Roofing requirements. Unlike solar panels, solar shingles require specific technical conditions for them to work. Your roof, for one, should be angled to receive direct sunlight. Some types may also require specialized equipment for installation. Others need a different kind of roofing felt or substrate. And, your roof needs to have proper air circulation mechanisms.
Local building codes. Since solar shingles are integrated into a property (as opposed to just mounted atop it), installation has to follow specific building codes. States approach this differently, so it is important to find out about what your local area says about solar roofing installation.
Solid product. There are various manufacturers in the industry today, but some of them are better than others. Verify the reputation of the manufacturer before choosing your brand of solar shingles.
Technical expertise. Solar roofing is a relatively new area, and it demands specialized knowledge. Your chosen installation team should be licensed or certified, and it should also feature a partnership with a trusted manufacturer of solar shingles.
Also, schedule an in-home consultation with your potential contractor. In this way, you can properly determine whether solar shingles are a viable option for your roof.
This is a wonderful guest post from Gary Powers, the man behind Up and Above Contractors, LLC, a home improvement company that has been serving residents and businesses in New Jersey, Sussex, Warren, and Morris Counties since 1993. He uses his 20 years of experience in the home improvement and construction industry to deliver reliable and professional service to his clients.
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