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roofing is the popular term for the latest generation of ever-evolving
thin film photovoltaic (PV) laminate systems. Embedded with wiring and
PV cells they absorb rays from the sun and directly generate energy.
A south-facing roof with no shade is best – though a shadeless
roof facing east or west can still be manipulated to provide better
than 90% of the power a true south-facing roof does.
Advantages of solar roofing include:
• The same durability, protection and flexibility of asphalt shingles
• Designed to be visually appealing and blend in with existing
construction and standard roofs
• Replaces roofing material
• Low cost installation – though if you don’t have
electrical experience, hire a professional to do the wiring
A small home might use 10x12 roof area for a small PV system –
about 50 square feet. A larger home could use as much as 1,000 square
feet. But also realize the more energy efficient a building is the less
power it needs to generate. Higher energy efficiency equals a smaller
There is a variety of federal and local government incentives designed
to make it easier and less cost-prohibitive to install solar power systems.
Resources from the United States Department of Energy can help Americans
find incentives that apply to adding solar energy components to your
home. As a general (but by no means definitive)rule you can expect a
return on investment (or simple payback) on solar roofing or solar panels
after 10 years.
As the cost of solar technology drops and energy costs continue to rise,
you could see a ROI in fewer than 10 years. People who invest in solar
water heater technology usually see a return within 4-5 years –
and statistics show that heating water accounts for 25% of energy consumption
in the average home.
Don’t worry about your PV shingles in extreme weather –
some PV modules have even been shown to work better in cold weather.
PV shingles already offer outstanding reliability and durability and
can last 30 years with very little maintenance.
Whether you want to retrofit your current roof or are building a new
home, solar roofing is a great idea. If you’re doing a retrofit,
it’s the best time to install thinfilm solar PV shingles.
Before building or buying, consult a specialist who can assess and prioritize
your needs. Factors such as the amount of sunlight you receive in your
area, the positioning of solar roofing shingles or panels, and energy
usage habits of the household must all be calculated before buying or
building. Find local specialists using the Internet – they can
help you navigate the rest of the project.
Other typical features of a PV system include:
• Inverter – this converts the generated electricity from
direct current to alternating current so it can be used by most standard
appliances and computers.
Batteries – these are often added for emergency backup in the
event of power outages or in cases where a PV system is not connected
to the grid.
Be sure to check back here in our Learning Center for updated and new
information relating to solar power, solar panels, solar shingles and
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