What if your roof didn’t just protect your house but also helped power it? That’s the idea behind the solar roof, an innovation that’s slowly starting to catch on in the United States.
Solar panels on the roof are not a new idea—they’ve been around for years. But recently some companies are working to make the solar roof more accessible. Solar shingles are a new development that help a solar roof look much more like a regular roof as compared to bulky solar panels.
What are solar shingles?
Solar shingles, also known as “building-integrated photovoltaics” or BIPVs, are designed to make solar roofs more cost-effective and more unobtrusive. There are a few different options on the market from companies like CertainTeed, Forward, SunTegra, and Atlantis. They all function on the same general principle though.
Though some manufacturers have toyed with other technologies, most of the solar shingles are made up of silicon solar cells. Shingles tend to be slightly less energy-efficient than the equivalent square footage in panels, mainly because no air can circulate under the solar cell. They have the benefit of blending in with the regular roof though. Some (including CertainTeed’s) can be installed directly onto roofing felt, while others go on top of an existing roof.
What other solar roof options exist?
There are some manufacturers who offer other solar options, too. These include both fixed and flexible solar panels. These are usually slightly cheaper than solar shingles, but they need to be installed on top of an existing roof and directly screwed to the rafters or trusses.
Is it worth the cost?
The answer to that question depends on where you live. Solar roofs are not cheap—they usually come in between three and six dollars a watt. In some states like Massachusetts and California, there are tax credits and incentives that can help offset the cost. There is a 30 percent federal income tax incentive that applies anywhere as well.
Once they’re installed, though, they can be surprisingly durable. Most solar tile companies offer a warranty between 25 and 30 years, with some offering an even longer warranty.
If a solar installation were to be damaged by a hail or wind storm, it should be covered by insurance, but it’s worth checking with your insurance agent before investing in a solar roof.
Solar roofs in Oklahoma
Land Enterprises Roofing offers solar roof installations for CertainTeed, and we personally have a backup solar system at our house. Here in Oklahoma where wind and sun are common commodities, renewable energy can cut your bills back by a fair amount. In the case of an ice storm or tornado that knocks power out for a couple of days, a solar roof can be a nice alternative to a generator.
If you’d like to learn more about solar roofs, there’s an excellent piece on EnergySage that lays out the basics. Interested in discussing a solar roof? Call 405-359-3951 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can see if a solar roof is the right fit for you.