Solar Panel Shingles - What Are The Benefits?

The Best Guide To Solar Panel ConstructionSolar panel shingles are a relatively new addition (released in 2005) to the arsenal of solar materials, which further expands the conventional use of the solar powered systems. Photovoltaic shingles combine the benefits of solar power with the reliability of traditional roof shingles. Solar shingles enable turning the roof of any home into a source of renewable and environmentally friendly energy, rather than just using the roof as a protective surface. Nonetheless, solar shingles also represent durable roofing materials that provide your home with the same protection from the weather and elements that you would expect from regular shingles.

One of the main advantages of solar panel shingles is that they can seamlessly integrate into the exterior design of most homes. Solar shingles have a dark-blue color, making them look very similar to regular shingles. Homeowners who do not like the idea of mounting notable large solar panels on their rooftop can truly appreciate this virtually undetectable and aesthetically-pleasing solar material.

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Solar shingles come in several varieties: solid shingle-sized panels, semi-rigid silicon cells, and systems with thin solar film. Most shingles can be stapled straight onto the roofing cloth, and others can be intermixed with the conventional asphalt shingles. The shingles are often glued to each other, which keeps them from shifting in high winds. Solar panel shingles do not use glass for their protection, unlike conventional solar PV cells that are protected with glass.

The newer designs use extremely flexible and powerful thin film. Such solar panel shingles are much more effective in comparison to regular solar panels, due to their efficient materials, as well as the shingles generally cover a larger area of the roof and absorb more sunlight. Each photovoltaic shingle can produce around 13-17 watts of electricity.

The large amount of light absorbed by the shingles generally requires the use of the underlying ventilated plywood or under-decking. The wiring runs through the roof to the power inverter. The direct current (DC) power produced by the shingles is transferred to the inverter, which converts the DC power into alternating current (AC) for home use.

The generated electricity can be used in grid-tied or off-grid systems. Grid-tied systems are fed into the utility network, and are used to power home appliances and to sell the excess of power to the utility company. Stand-alone off-grid systems can power appliances, backup appliances at the time of a power outage, and store electricity in batteries for future use. Note that stand-alone systems with the use of batteries are more expensive and complex than the grid-tied systems. Battery backup units use additional hardware, including batteries, battery charge controllers, battery enclosures, and some others.

The initial investment with solar panel shingles may be too costly for some homeowners. However, new designs that use thin-film shingles can be installed twice faster than traditional solar panels, drastically reducing the cost of their installation in comparison to commonplace solar panels. Depending on the area, the shingles usually pay for themselves within the first several years of their 20-year lifespan.

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