Ashleigh AngellSeptember 20, 20186970
One of the complaints about solar panels is their appearance: they’re big, they’re bulky, and having several huge panels of glass on top of a roof isn’t the most eye-pleasing piece of home design. While the important thing is that they’re doing their job and providing the planet with green energy, many people still ask how we can mess with the design of solar panels to make them more aesthetically pleasing to look at. One of these innovations - though they have actually been on the commercial market since 2005 - is solar shingles, which, while looking nicer than a traditional solar panel, also has other advantages which we will discuss below.
What exactly are solar shingles?
One of the aesthetic benefits to solar shingles is how much they resemble the shingles of a normal household roof. While they are still comprised of solar panels, these panels practically blend in with the rest of a traditional rooftop. The color is, of course, different, and when one comes up close to the roof they’d be able to tell it’s comprised of panels and not traditional household material, but the overall ability of these panels to blend in with a traditional household design is one of the main advantages.
The solar shingle has three main layers - the cell, the film, and the glass. The cell layer is what allows the shingle to function. In this layer, cells absorb sunlight and convert that into electricity. The second layer of the shingle is made of colored louver. This louver is a thin film that allows sunlight into the shingle, but from the ground, the components of the shingle are invisible. The louver layer and the cell layer are then sandwiched between two sheets of tempered glass, which keeps the shingle in place.
What are the benefits of solar shingles?
As discussed above, the first benefit of the solar shingles is the aesthetic advantage they have over traditional solar panels. Their appearance allows them to practically blend in with a homeowner’s roof, making it less of an eyesore and more integrated into a home’s design.
They are also compact and light, which makes them much easier to install than a traditional solar panel. Not only does this ease of installation make the installation time faster, but it also means it’s cheaper for the consumer. On top of that, a roof evaluation isn’t necessary for solar shingles, which means even less time on the side of the installer and even more money saved.
Another benefit of solar shingles is the longer warranties. A traditional solar panel generally comes with a warranty of 25 years, but the solar shingles have warranties of up to a minimum of 30 years.
How many solar shingles will I need to install?
Because of their compact size, it is recommended that 40 percent of an average household should be covered with the shingles, while 60 percent of the remaining home should be covered with regular shingles. If you use a lot of energy, however, you can build up to 70 percent of your roof with the solar shingles (this is the limit, and building regulations will prohibit you from building any more than that). Figure out what your energy consumption is and how much you’ll need in your day-to-day life in order to calculate how much of your roof space should be covered.
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