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Solar Roof Shingles

Solar Roof Shingles
As compared to the traditional solar panels that are bulky, solar roof shingles are sleek and durable. Go through this article for a brief overview about these roofing shingles.
DecorDezine Staff
Every time you come across the word 'solar energy', the very first image that comes to your mind is of the big solar panels fixed on the rooftop. There are many people, who don't want to spoil the looks of their house by fixing solar panels. Now, it is possible to 'go green' without compromising the appearance of your home. The solution lies in installing solar roof shingles or photovoltaic shingles, instead of other roofing materials. Unlike solar panels, this type of roofing shingle is cheaper and easy to install. It serves two purposes at the same time - providing protection to the roof structure and producing energy by harnessing sunlight. They look like regular roof shingles.

What are Solar Roof Shingles?

Otherwise known as photovoltaic shingles, solar shingles look like regular roofing shingles; but solar power cells are incorporated into their structure. A solar roof shingle looks like any regular roof shingle, and cannot be distinguished easily. Once fixed, the warmth of the sun creates a strong bonding between the shingles, that forms a weather-resistant seal over the rooftop. It is claimed that, the special support structures that come with these photovoltaic shingles can withstand winds with a speed of up to 80 mph.

A photovoltaic solar roofing system consists of a PV module that produces electric current from solar energy, one or more batteries, an inverter for converting direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), and wiring. If it is a stand-alone system, a charge regulator may also be used. Small systems can be directly attached to appliances, whereas the big ones are used stand-alone to supply energy to the whole building. The size of photovoltaic shingles depends on the energy demands. Normally, each solar roof shingle can produce 17 to 60 watts of electricity, which can add up to significant amounts, if you consider the whole area of the roof.

Installation

Installation of solar roof shingles is easier, as compared to solar panels. For best results, you have to install these shingles on locations, where they receive considerable amount of direct sunlight. It has also been claimed that, enough daylight is sufficient for these shingles to produce electricity. Hence, these shingles are installed on both the front and back sides of the roof. Installation of solar shingles is almost similar to that of asphalt shingles. After installation, the wiring is connected to the appliances or lighting systems.

Benefits

Solar roof shingles are environment friendly. You have to bear the cost of the shingles and the installation charges. Once the system starts working, you can save up to 60% of your electricity bills. As there is no need of any additional layer underneath these shingles, you can save that expense too. Solar roof shingles look much better than the solar panels and are more stable. Being lightweight, it is very easy to install these shingles. Another benefit is that these shingles are easily replaceable. The value of your home may also go up, after installing these roof shingles.

If your house is under construction, you can easily install these photovoltaic shingles. Otherwise, you can replace the existing ones with solar roof shingles. In some places, government grants are also available for installation of solar roof shingles. However, you can also promote the 'go green' campaign by tapping solar energy through these shingles.
Fitting the panels
Image of solar panels on steep roof