Combining solar technology with standard roofing materials, solar shingles are one of the hottest building-integrated photovoltaic products (BIPVs) on today’s market. Integrating seamlessly into a roof, they’re ideal for homeowners who want to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy but don’t like the look of conventional solar panel arrays. As attractive as they are, however, their growing popularity has more to do with economics than aesthetics.
While there are a number of solar roofing options for residential installation, if your home is in need of a new roof or will need a new roof in the next few years, solar shingle technology is the most cost-effective home photovoltaic (PV) solution available today. You’ll save 15 percent or more by installing solar roofing that if you install a new roof and PV system separately.
For new construction, a solar roof is a no-brainer. The advantages of solar shingles are too plentiful to consider any other option when constructing a new home.
Savings Through Incentive Programs
As a residential PV system, solar roofing installations are eligible for generous tax credits and rebates offered at the federal, state and local level. The federal incentive program alone can reduce the upfront cost of a solar roof installation by as much as 30 percent. Public utilities are mandated to invest in renewable energy, and most utilities partially meet these mandates by offering rebates to customers who install solar products, by crediting customers for any surplus energy that the system produces or by purchasing the extra electricity outright.
Durable and Reliable Energy Efficiency
Solar roofing products must meet strict standards to certify them as both a roofing and solar product. The best have a Class A fire rating, an outstanding snow load capacity and are certified to withstand hail, wind and rain. Depending on which solar roofing product you chose, you’re likely to enjoy a 20-year warranty that will cover expected life of the roof. Most systems pay for themselves in less than 10 years. After your investment is recovered, you’ll enjoy many years of free electricity.
As solar installations are modular in nature, you can choose to offset as much conventional electricity as you like. The larger the system, the more that you’ll save over the long term through reductions in monthly energy bills. Each system comes with an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) that solar cells generate into the alternating current (AC) that homes use. Some systems come with monitoring systems that allow you to track your energy usage and savings.
Over 75 percent of homes in America have roofs that are great candidates for solar shingle technology. The Energy Information Administration predicts that worldwide energy consumption will double by 2035. Residential PV systems offer insurance against rising conventional energy costs. With solar shingle technology, you can transform a roof from a deprecating asset into one that continues to save you money for many years to come.
Photo by Ben West