Will Your Next Roof Have Solar Shingles?

Most homeowners look for ways to improve their property, save money, and increase their comfort. One of the ways you can do this is by investing solar roofing. Not only is solar power one of the fastest growing energy sources, it is also one of the most affordable, efficient, and reliable sources as well. Solar roofing has come a long ways from the roofing panels you may remember from the 70's and 80's. Solar materials are now being integrated into the actual roofing materials, and it is often difficult to tell from any other type of roofing. These are called solar shingles. If a roofing project is in your near future, you need to look at solar shingles.

Why Choose Solar?

Solar roofing will be playing a major role in building projects in the next few years. California Energy Commission has already issued a mandate that went into place on January 1, 2014. This mandate requires all new residential and commercial buildings to be constructed with solar ready roofs. This does not mean that the roofs have to have solar installed, but they have to be constructed with the following:

  • Part of an angled roof must have southern exposure
  • Roofs must have as much unobstructed sunlight as possible
  • Chimneys and skylights must be able to be worked around a solar system.

While California is a front runner in creating these mandates, it is only a matter of time before other states follow in their footsteps.

Solar energy just simply makes a lot of sense. It offers a lot of advantages over other forms of energy. Solar power:

  • Is clean and there are no bi-products generated from the use of solar power.
  • Is renewable and lessens the countries dependence on imported fossil fuels.
  • Is price stable and relieves the volatility of surging energy prices.
  • Produces domestic jobs, as well as assists with domestic economic development. Currently, approximately 174,000 Americans work in the solar industry. Over 31,000 of these jobs were added in 2014, and another 36,000 are expected to be added this year.
  • Allows you to reduce your energy bills by requiring you to purchase less energy from the utility companies.
  • Saves you money through federal tax credits, and state and utility company discounts, and more.

What Are Solar Shingles?

Solar shingles are designed for homeowners who want the benefits of having solar roofing without having to endure the look of a solar system. Solar shingles are also sometimes referred to as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). These shingles look like ordinary shingles, cover and protect your roof like ordinary shingles, install like ordinary shingles, but help to collect the thermal energy you need to power your home.  They are actually tiny versions of photovoltaic panels. These come in:

  • Thin-film solar shingles - are one of the newest products on the market. They are constructed with solar technology which is then laminated in thin films on top of the shingles. While they are slightly less efficient than silicon-based shingles, they are less expensive and faster to install.
  • Silicon-based solar shingles - are created from CIGS solar cells and silicon. They do a superior job of converting solar energy, with some converting as much as 19.9%.

Both types can be installed on either new roofs or on existing roofs.

Not only will you be able to benefit from the installation of solar shingles, but your neighbors may be able to benefit as well. If you produce enough solar energy, you may be able to sell your excess back to your local utility company. This varies from company to company, as well as from state to state. Before you purchase any other roofing product, look and see what solar shingles have to offer. Then, talk to a local roofer, such as Allen Roofing & Construction Inc