Most new home owners or those who are taking the well-being of our planet into consideration are familiar with the words, “solar roofs”. These roofs are made out of solar shingles or panels that get installed on the roof of ones house. Solar shingles can be called photovoltaic shingles and they look like and function as conventional roofing materials while providing your home with energy. They use the sun as power source to create energy.
Let get down to basics:
Commercial solar shingles were first available in 2005. Today there are several varieties of solar shingles and there are different mounting requirements for each model. Some can be applied directly to roofing felt intermixed with regular asphalt shingles while others may need special installation. Most of them come with a warranty of 20 or 25 years.
The colors of the solar shingle are dark, purplish to blue or black which are not appealing to everyone. As technology improves, so does their appearance, the Swiss firm SCEM has develop the world’s first “invisible” solar panels. With these glass-like solar panels the restriction of solar energy on rooftops will change.
Solar power in your house:
To take full advantage from a solar roof it is best if your roof is exposed to the sun most of the day throughout the year. Another thing is to make sure that your roof is in good shape, because if roof renovation is needed two year down the line with a solar system that has a 20 year warranty, you are going to waste money taking them of and putting them back again. If your roof does not fit the “good roof” profile or you are renting a home or apartment, you can still take advantage of solar power by looking into shared or community solar. This allows many customers buy a stake in a solar installation and receive credits on their electricity bills.
You can choose between photovoltaic that uses arrays of cells to turn sunlight into electricity or solar thermal, which uses sunlight to heat water or air for use inside. Solar thermal would be a better investment for homes that use a lot of energy for heating or where heating fuel is more expensive than electricity, but this kind of solar can be harder to find.
Solar power can be rented from a company, where they own the system and you pay them a certain rate for the electricity. This might be a good option for someone who is renting a home or who is indecisive about buying solar power. When you buy your own system it may cost more up front, but it pays off better down the line.
Almost everything that you have bought has been improved and upgraded in some way and there is no doubt that solar roofs will not as well. Technology is changing at a fast pace and the green movement is encouraging solar power to develop together with it in order for our world to become more energy-efficient. Solar energy can definitely help you save a lot on electricity and at the same time help the environment. Therefore solar energy is in fact for every one if your home fits a good profile. If however you discover that your home is enabled to full advantage of solar power, there are other things you can do inside or outside your house to support the green movement that can save you money along the way. It will not be long until solar power will become stronger, more attractive and capable to work in every household at lower cost.
Matt, editor and green home improvement writer for The Cool Roofing Company, Atlanta.