Photovoltaic roofing shingles made their appearance in the market only as recently as 2005, the reason why many people still do not know much about them. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.
Photovoltaic roofing shingles are just like traditional shingles but have a layer of solar cells on the upper surface. These serve as a renewable energy system to power your house and a convenient and aesthetic alternative to the huge solar panel that you might have seen mounted on rooftops.
These can be installed fully or partially on roofs designed for shingles. Earlier photovoltaic roofing shingles contained several silicon solar cells, the same that were used for making solar panels. Newer systems using copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS), commonly known as thin film solar cell technology match conventional shingles in size as well as flexibility.
How Do They Work?
The process is the same as solar panels, only for the fact that the shingles are less cumbersome. The solar cells are attached to metal conductors. Sunlight absorbed by solar cells, is converted to direct current (DC) voltage. The wires under the shingles are extended and led to an inverter, which converts direct current to alternating current (AC).
Is It Worthwhile To Install in Areas That Get A Lot Of Cloudy Days?
Solar energy can be captured even on cloudy days. You may have to cover a larger area but it is worth the extra expense. There are very few areas where clouds can keep the sun from providing enough energy to power a medium sized house regardless of whether the system is used as a standalone or supplementary power source.
Is It Affordable?
There is no doubt that the initial cost of installing photovoltaic roofing shingles is higher. However, the cost must be viewed in light of the state and federal tax credits, net metering, the money you save on monthly energy bills and your concerns for a greener planet.
Is There Any Maintenance Required?
Apart from keeping the photovoltaic roofing shingles free from debris, leaves and snow, this renewable energy system will power your house without requiring any maintenance from your side.
Is Financing Available?
If you are making a new house, there should be no problem as you can easily factor it in the total cost of the house when applying for home finance. Otherwise, installation of photovoltaic roofing shingles comes under the ambit of home improvement projects and eligible for home equity loans.
What Does Net Metering Mean?
If you are connected to a power utility, it will install a separate meter to measure how much electricity the system produces and how much of it you use. If the electricity produced is more than you consume, it goes into the grid and you get credit for the energy pulled from your system.
Besides, you will have to gather information about what is a good roof for this kind of system, wattage per square feet of covered area and building codes in your area before you decide to install photovoltaic roofing shingles.