Solar Powered Shingles Gain Popularity As Price DecreasesAugust 21, 2013
Solar-Powered Shingles Gain Popularity as Price Decreases
What if your roof could do more than just protect you from precipitation, strange insects, and mammalian invaders? What if it could actually earn you money? Thanks to the increasingly popular solar-powered shingle, you can watch your electricity bill shrink and your bank account balance blossom.
What is a solar-powered shingle?
Solar-powered shingles are like a traditional shingle in that they do offer the same protection as their asphalt counterparts. They are esthetically pleasing and are designed to blend in with standard roofing.
What sets them apart is their ability to save you money. Consisting of photovoltaic cells, they possess the ability to convert sunlight into electricity.
Why do you want them?
Electricity costs are on the rise, so why not install your own mini-power plant? The power created by solar shingles can be used in your home–saving you up to 60 percent of your electricity bill. Furthermore, you can sell any excess power that it produces back to your local power provider. Yes, your roof will be able to get off its lazy trusses and get a job.
And, you don’t have to worry about being powerless should a black cloud linger over your home for too long. As long as you’re still on the grid, you can still access that power source as needed. If you want to abandon the grid altogether–and the money-making option of selling excess power back to it–batteries provide energy storage and backup.
Why is “now” the right time?
Forty years ago, “going solar” meant installing hideous panels the size of garage doors to your roof. Yes, it was considered light years ahead of its time–earning your home adjectives like “futuristic” or “exotic.” But they were also “hideous” and “distracting.”
Now, manufacturers have devised solar-powered shingles that blend in with your home’s stylish exterior. People’s eyes are no longer drawn to the monstrosity on your roof.
There are several other factors that have contributed to their increasing popularity as well. Solar power is a great way to reduce one’s carbon footprint and steer away from using non-renewable resources. Consistently increasing electricity costs, state and federal government incentives, and an increase in marketing have also played a role.
But one significant factor is the falling costs associated with purchasing and installing solar-powered panels. Some sources state that these costs have fallen almost 95% since the 1970s. This coupled with potential savings in electricity has made going solar a much more fiscally feasible option for many.
What is an ideal location for these shingles?
The most logical spot to locate your solar shingles is the part of your roof that is free from shade and receives the most amount of continuous sunlight. The south side is usually the sweet spot. If that isn’t doable, you can opt for somewhere that faces east or west.
The size of the area to be covered in solar-powered shingles depends on the size of your home. A small house can usually get away with a 10′ by 12′ area. A professional installer will be able to tell you exactly what options are best for your particular home and location.
If your electric bill has you dreading your next trip to the mailbox, solar-powered panels may be right for you. You work hard for your money–maybe your roof should too.
What are your thoughts on solar-powered shingles?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. “Frugal” is her middle name–as evidenced by her second hand office furniture and addiction to refurbishing vintage pieces.