Ever since they first appeared in the market, solar photovoltaic shingles have become extremely popular with people concerned about rising energy costs and making this planet a better place to live in.
Solar photovoltaic shingles can be integrated into asphalt shingled or metal covered roofs. They are lighter and easy to install but there are certain things that you should know before going ahead with the project.
Solar photovoltaic shingles have thin photovoltaic cells on the upper surface and can be merged in a pattern with regular shingles. They can resist wind of up to 80 mph velocity and are water resistant. The installation guide that comes with your order for shingles recommends that you call a contractor and an electrician. The contractor will install both regular as well as solar photovoltaic shingles. The electrician is for attaching the whole lot of wiring that has to be led into an inverter. However, if you are used to manual labor and know something about shingling and electrical work, you can choose to install on your own.
Solar photovoltaic shingles may be stapled on an underlayment that has fire-resistant fibers. It can be an asphalt saturated felt or a synthetic underlayment. You need to keep in mind that solar shingles produce less electricity, nearly half of conventional solar panels. This means that you will be required to cover almost twice the area required by a solar panel system.
There are two systems that you can choose from, off-grid and grid-connected photovoltaic power system. Off-grid systems can produce a substantial amount of electricity and in some situations more than what you need. There will also be times when the system is producing power but it is not being consumed, for example when you are out. An off-grid system may be a power backup or a standalone power system for all your energy needs. However, many states allow you to connect your system to the grid. In that case you are charged according to net metering, which means you get credit for the power that was pulled from your system when you were not using it.
Solar photovoltaic shingles convert sun’s energy into direct current (DC) electricity. The wires from the shingles have to be extended to an inverter in the basement or attic, as the case may be, where it is converted to alternating current (AC) used in lights and electrical appliances.
Solar photovoltaic shingles cannot produce electricity at night. For this purpose, there is a need for storing electricity in a battery for use when the system is not producing electricity. This can work for small to medium homes but not for large houses. If it is a standalone system, it requires judicious use of energy when the sun is not shining. This is also why it is recommended that homeowners opt for grid-connected photovoltaic power systems so as to benefit from net metering or use it as a backup system.
If you are building a house and want to save on energy costs, you can do two things; design an environment friendly house and install solar photovoltaic shingles.