With renewed interest in the solar market, this boom for consuming solar products has led to the manufacturing of commercial and residential solar shingles that can replace conventional shingles with the advantage of producing energy.
Producing energy with conventional photovoltaics means placing solar cells above the roof. In the case of solar shingles, the cells have been adapted to take on the function of conventional asphalt shingles as well as being efficient energy generators.
Atlantis Energy Systems offers a photovoltaic solar shingle that produces some 13 watts of electricity while United Solar-Ovonic (at Uni-Solar.com) shingles produce around 17 watts.
Both products withstand wind and rain of up to 80 mph and can be implemented either completely or partially on any conventional asphalt shingle roof.
PV shingles are made with a special thin film technology, making them far more durable than the conventional solar PV which would normally be protected with glass.
Solar technology is advancing and now the homeowner has access to a cleaner and more efficient way to power the home that formerly was reserved to only commercial and industrial buildings.
But at present the demand for these solar shingles is so high, and the supply so limited, that currently these solar shingles cost around U$ 12.00 per watt, making a full PV shingle roof a little too expensive for most US residents.
Technically these are just one more building material and legislation has not yet been modified to provide a wide spread national incentive in this area, so the homeowner or business owner are the ones who still have to put in the initial investment.
Solar shingles have the same warranties as other solar panel products which is five years and having an expected life span of at least 20 years.
However high cost aside, they may not take so long to pay for themselves at current US energy costs, which for the common household could be perhaps between five to seven years.
Every year, prices go up, and although a solar shingle roof, may not completely take a person off the citys electrical grid for 20 years, it will create a far more stable electricity bill by generating more energy than needed in the home during summer months, and all the energy needed during the daylight hours in winter months.
Any extra energy produced by a home with todays current legislature is most commonly redirected back to the grid and discounts are given for future usage later in that year, for both private and commercial buildings alike.