Switching to solar energy continues to be a popular trend throughout the United States. Homeowners today are making conscious decisions to invest in home upgrades that are better for the environment and their wallets. Solar power installation costs continue to decrease, and with the incentives available at a federal and state level, making this switch is more cost-effective than ever. For homeowners in Columbus, Ohio, there are several beneficial reasons for making the switch to solar shingles.
What are solar shingles?
Access to solar energy has made significant leaps in recent years. Solar options today are more diverse, allowing homeowners to have better control of how their solar options affect the look and feel of their homes. One popular option today is solar shingles. Solar shingles (aka photovoltaic shingles) are solar panels designed to look and function the same way as conventional roofing materials. Solar shingles are known as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Choosing solar shingles are a great option for homeowners who need a new roof but want to maintain the aesthetic of a traditional roof.
How solar shingles work
Solar shingles work like traditional solar panels. They utilize natural sunlight to generate electricity. Sunlight strikes the solar shingle that contains a silicon semiconductor. The semiconductor captures the energy and eventually, electrons from the particles of light get loose and move freely. These electrons travel through an electrical circuit to an area where other electrons are stored. The collection of electrons will be harvested to generate a current, which can be used for electrical power.
What’s the difference between solar shingles and solar panels?
Most homeowners are familiar with traditional solar panels. In recent years, solar shingles are gaining popularity for several different reasons. If you are considering the switch to solar energy, consider whether you want to choose solar shingles or solar panels. There are several differences.
Solar panels tend to be bulky in general. They are mounted to your roof and can take up quite a bit of space depending on a home’s energy needs. Many homeowners are choosing solar shingles because of their size and sleek design. Solar shingles are close to the same size as traditional roofing shingles. The average size is around 12 inches wide and 86 inches long. Solar shingles usually weigh 13lbs per square foot. The biggest appeal for homeowners is how thin this option is. Tiles tend to be less than an inch in thickness. In general, it takes around 350 tiles to complete an installation, though this depends on your energy needs.
Solar shingles are usually made from copper indium gallium selenide, which is a thin and flexible material. Solar shingles can also be made with monocrystalline silicon. This option tends to be more expensive but can also provide a higher efficiency rate. Solar panels are made with a variety of materials. The cells can be made with crystalline silicon or silicon nitride. The sealant is usually silicon rubber or ethylene-vinyl acetate. Panels also include back sheets of various materials, a metal frame, and a glass cover. Solar panels also require cabling made of aluminum or copper to connect the different solar panels.
Some homeowners are hesitant about solar energy because of how bulky solar panels appear. For those who really worry about the aesthetic of their home’s exterior, solar shingles are the perfect option. Solar panels must be mounted on top of the roof versus solar shingles that are installed the same way traditional roofing material is. Solar shingles can blend right into other roofing materials such as asphalt or concrete. This creates a uniform appearance and is essentially unnoticeable.
Power is the most important question for homeowners. When homeowners contemplate making the switch to solar, they want to have the confidence that they will continue to have the same reliable power as other methods of electricity production. The good news is that both solar shingles and solar panels can provide the power you need for any size home and demand. Solar shingles can provide anywhere from 13-63 watts of power. A typical solar shingle installation can save homeowners 40-70% on utility bills. For homeowners in Columbus, Ohio, this is well worth the initial investment.
Homeowners prefer making investments that are going to be long-lasting. Solar shingles are a great investment because they are highly durable. Unlike solar panels that are mounted to the roof using frames, solar shingles are an actual part of the roof. This makes solar shingles more resilient to harsh weather conditions, debris, and other wear and tear. Solar shingles are also completely fire-resistant.
Solar energy solutions are cost-effective due to how long-lasting they can be. Installing either solar panels or solar shingles along with new roofing material is recommended. This ensures everything ages together when it comes to longevity. Both solar shingles and solar panels have a long lifespan and can last up to 20 years depending on the manufacturer and installation process. Warranties can also vary, so it is important to discuss your options with a professional solar installation crew.
Installing solar options is a major investment. It involves professionals surveying your roof to get an understanding of its current condition, as well as gain an understanding of your power needs. They then help to determine how many panels, or shingles you would need to ensure your power demands are met. This all leads up to the actual installation.
When it comes to solar shingles, the installation process can take longer due to how intricately the shingles must be placed and layered. This process can take up to a week. When it comes to solar panels, the installation process can typically be finished within a day or two. This largely depends on how many panels you need for your home.
A popular trend that shows no sign of decreasing is the desire for homeowners to invest in energy-efficient options. Energy efficiency can help lower monthly utility bills while raising the value of your home. When it comes to efficiency, solar shingles offer great benefits, but solar panels have a better capability of outshining shingles in this area. In general, your level of efficiency depends on the sides of your roof. The more your roof faces true south, the better your overall efficiency due to the easy access to the sun.
When it comes to solar shingles, you will want to install them on the south side of your home and use regular roofing material for the north-facing side. Solar shingles are a part of your roof, meaning that their position is fixed. Solar paneling can have an advantage in this area because it can be adjusted for peak sun absorption. However, more solar shingles can be added, which allows for more energy that can be harvested.
Both solar shingles and solar panels offer homeowners a cleaner, renewable energy source. Both provide reliable power for any size home. The true differences come down to appearance, durability, and overall efficiency.
Solar shingle maintenance
A great benefit of solar installation is that it requires little maintenance and can even better protect your roof. Since solar shingles are like traditional shingles, they require minimum maintenance. You will want to do an annual inspection just as you would with your roof before installation. This inspection protects against any cracks or missing traditional shingles allowing water to seep into your home. It also ensures that there is no debris trapped on your roof that could be causing damage.
To clean your solar shingles, a simple garden hose will do the trick. There is no need to use any special cleaners to keep them operating at their best. Solar shingles are also exceptionally durable, so you will not have to worry about hail, heavy snow, or high winds. Even with little to no maintenance, your solar shingles can last 20-30 years.
The impact we have on our environment is a global concern. This has led to many different incentives provided through the U.S. government as well as state and local government entities. Now is the perfect time to consider solar shingle installation. With installation costs down, and several incentives and tax credits available, you could be paying little out-of-pocket costs to upgrade to renewable energy.
Are solar shingles worth it?
For homeowners in Columbus, making the upgrade to solar shingles is completely worth it. Solar shingles are cost-effective. With different incentives available, the installation will potentially be at minimal costs. In addition to those savings, homeowners can significantly cut their monthly utility bills. The prices of fossil fuels continue to rise, and with that comes higher and higher utility bills. With renewable energy, you will save thousands. If you are interested in your solar energy options, it is best to turn to a professional. A professional installation company can walk you through all your options, as well as their pros and cons. You will be able to determine how many shingles you’d require, the best placement, and how much you can expect to spend.