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Sunday, July 11, 2010

What Are Solar Shingles?

Solar shingles, otherwise known as photovoltaic shingles, are a fairly new solar technology product. Solar power shingles resemble regular asphalt shingles. However, these tiles are able to collect the sun's rays and convert them to energy. Only 3 known manufacturers produce them.
Solar shingles are perfect for the homeowners that want to enter the world of renewable energy. They can do this by way of probably the most common renewable energy, solar energy, and still keep the aesthetics of their home the same. From a distance solar power shingles look like regular roof shingles but up close they have a slight blueish/purple tinge.
So, how do they work? Well, each shingle is like a miniature solar panel collecting energy from the sun's rays. As soon as the rays hit the photosensitive receptors on the shingle from its silicon crystalline semi-conductor layer, it creates electricity. This electricity is fed from the solar power shingle and into your home's main electrical system. This solar energy is then converted which is then used to power your home.
Just like regular solar panels, the more you have tightly packed on your roof, the more energy is generated. This is obviously due to the increased surface for energy capture. Since buying solar shingles and installation can be somewhat costly, most companies allow you to complete a section of your roof at a time. This will allow you to slowly complete a full solar shingle roof to fit your budget.
Solar shingles that do not have battery backup systems means that your home will have to be grid tied. This means you would have to be tied in with your traditional electrical utility company. This is actually an ideal set up ensuring that you have access to an uninterrupted supply of power on the days where little sunlight is captured.
For solar power shingles equipped with an auxiliary back up batter supply, the excess electricity is gathered and stored within the batteries providing between 6 and 8 hours of power. This is independent from the power grid and great for insulating you from potential power outages.
If you want to "get your feet wet" in the area of renewable energy, solar energy might be the way to go. If solar shingles are a little out of your price range, just try doing them little by little, like we discussed earlier. Or you could consider something a little less expensive but still effective by purchasing a solar power kit and assembling it yourself. This is a great way to save money on your energy bills while exploring the benefits of solar energy and all it has to offer.
For more information on solar shingles and other forms of renewable energy, check out Renewable Energy Advantages.

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Solar Shingles - A New Revolution in Solar Panels

Solar power is a great investment for the home, but the problem has been the tedious installation and the bulky panels. However, take one look at the new solar powered model home, and you will wonder where the panels are hiding. Truth is, they are there right in plain sight - and they are called solar shingles.
Blending In
Solar shingles are a new form of solar panels. Unlike the big roof panels of the past, these small panels fit together just like roofing shingles, thus blending into the background, making it seem like they're not even there! And because of the way they are made, they are more efficient than the old panels too.
You see, these solar-power generating shingles are amorphous silicon, which means they absorb more light than the regular photovoltaic panels before them, thus producing much more energy for the home to use. And due to their extra durability, they can be safely used as roofing materials.
Installation Notes
Now this extra efficiency comes with a price: so much sunlight also equals immense heat, so when the solar shingles are being installed, they are attached to a ventilated plywood under decking. Through the plywood also runs all the tiny cables and wires, which end up at the power inverter. Any electricity the shingles form into direct current (DC), the inverter converts to alternating current (AC).
Once the shingles are placed, they are glued down with a heat activated compound that can withstand the heat the panels will be creating. The shingles overlap each other just like the normal asphalt roofing shingles, thus providing the same protection from weather, small animals and other such housing problems. Also, due to the heavy-duty EVA compound, the shingles will not and cannot shift in high winds, which will help them last longer than typical roofing shingles.
Long Lasting
The average time that the shingles last and work well is approximately twenty years. But if you actually stay in the same house for more than twenty years, you should have no problem replacing any necessary shingles with all the money you will save (and even some you may possibly make by feeding the power company any of your excess energy the small panels create).
Once installed, the solar shingles blend in flawlessly with all other roofing materials, such as the suffet, gutters, and so on. This makes the shingles virtually undetectable as solar panels, making the home appear more traditional instead of overly technical. Due to this very reason these solar panels are truly on the cutting edge of new technology, and are beginning to revolutionize the alternative energy sources more than ever before.
Still A Bit Pricey, But Worth It
Due to the newness of these amorphous solar shingles, the price to obtain them, and the added cost to install them can be a bit steep for the average person. However, some banks will try to help you with the financing to do so in hopes of making a more green community. These solar panels can also lend you some tax credits and rewards for working on making our planet a better place to live.
Click the link now to get the definitive Green DIY Energy review. To find more excellent tips about DIY alternative-energy strategies, check out

Solar Shingles - An Introduction

At first glance, solar shingles look like common asphalt shingles. The only difference is they have a deep-blue tinted surface rather than pastel-colored ones. These cleverly designed solar panels can blend into the roof of any house. Therefore they can integrate into any architectural design easily.
Solar panel shingles are made by integrating a layer of special thin film photovoltaic cell onto pieces of roofing material. These types of solar cells are more durable than the usual photovoltaic materials used on conventional solar panels. Hence they do not need to be protected by a glass covering.
Solar shingles serve the dual function of sheltering the home (from wind and precipitation) and producing solar power for the household. This type of roof can withstand up to 130 mph of wind-driven rain. Needless to say, they are aesthetically pleasing so they make the best materials that a solar powered home can have.
There is, however, a downside to this material. Solar radiation tends to heat them up quickly for roofing materials retains heat pretty well. This threatens the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells to drop. Therefore the roof requires a well-ventilated under-decking to remove excess heat.
When you install these shingles on the roof, you have to interlock them as you lay them out. Heat-activated Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is used to keep them together so that they can withstand strong winds without shifting. Each solar shingle is adhered to adjacent ones as the sun heats the roof.
Although they look beautiful, solar panel shingles are more expensive than common photovoltaic panels. Each solar shingle costs about $12 per watt. (Each shingle produces between 13 to 17 watts of electricity, depending on the brand.) That means a piece of 13-watt shingle probably cost consumers about $156. This is a little above the average household budget.
Fortunately, while we have to pay more for solar shingles, their payback period is only between five to seven years. This is an obvious contrast to normal solar panels that often take more than a decade to payback. In this light, the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages.
Also, you can expect solar shingles to last for at least 20 years. And manufacturers often provide a 5-year warranty on their product. Therefore owners will possibly have about 13 to 15 years to enjoy the rewards of their investment.
On average, a roof fully installed with solar panel shingles is expected to provide more energy than necessary during the summer. The excess energy flows back to the grid and you may even get paid for your contribution, depending on your state's legislation.
As the demand for solar shingles increase, there will be more competition and this may drive the price down. Pretty soon the average household may be able to put solar shingles on their roof. By then, solar shingles will probably be so common that solar panels will probably be considered old fashion.
John Greenspan is an expert in do-it-yourself solar panels and has build numerous solar power generators in his spare time. Are you interested in building DIY Solar panels? Pick up your FREE "How To Build Solar Panels" eBook at =>

Solar Shingles - A New Way to Use Solar Energy That Actually Beautifies Your Home

Most of us have never heard of solar shingles, however for anyone who owns a home, these can be a huge asset both for long term energy savings, and also for helping to benefit our beautiful Earth.
In today's world we are becoming more aware of the serious nature of the crisis in our environment, and the need for all of us to take positive action in whatever ways we can.
Many efforts are being made now, both by large corporations and also by individuals to lessen the amount of harmful waste materials released into the environment. Since many of these wastes come from the processing of fossil fuels, a bright alternative is found in the field of solar energy. One interesting development solar energy is that of solar shingles.
The sun is now being recognized as an ideal source of energy to support many of our residential and well as business needs. Photovoltaic shingles are one of the many new technologies that are designed to make use of solar energy for our homes and businesses.
Solar shingles look like the typical roof shingles but are actually small solar panels. Their photovoltaic properties allow them to collect the heat and light from the sun and to convert them into electrical power for use with devices and equipment that are run by electricity.
Physically, solar roof shingles are around 30 centimeters (11.6 inches) wide and 218 centimeters (7 feet) long. About 13 centimeters of their actual width are exposed for the purpose of directly absorbing the light from the sun. They are typically stapled to the roof of the house and are most of the time smaller than the regular shingles to promote the most effective placement.
The whole process of collecting solar energy to be converted into electricity started out with the use of solar panels. The earlier technology did not have a great appeal to most homeowners because of the appearance of solar panels which are bulky and conspicuous, and which some people find unsightly.
This challenged solar energy developers to create a more attractive approach to the energy collection process. In 2005, solar shingles were made available and are considered to be a major development in the goal of maximizing the potentials of the sun as an energy source.
Typical variations of solar powered shingles are actually created out of polymatrix material and can easily blend in with the existing shingle roofs. A very popular variation has crystalline solar cells with asphalt shingles. These have an output of around 50 watts.
While solar shingles may be more costly than the regular solar panels, a lot of homeowners value the aesthetic aspect of their properties and find it worthwhile to install solar shingles instead of solar panels.
For those who are still in the process of getting their home constructed, it is advised to have the contractors and homebuilders incorporate solar roof shingles into the home's design right at the start, in order to avoid further adjustments later on.
Solar roofing shingles work best when they are angled precisely in order to maximize the collection of energy form the sun. They can even be blended with traditional shingles to create interesting designs on the roof!
Solar shingles are a tremendously useful solution for creating an energy saving home that runs on the clean, renewable energy of the sun, without the bulky appearance of regular solar panels. Your home will look beautiful and you will enjoy not only lower utility bills (or even rebates from your utility company!) as well as benefit of knowing that you are making a positive difference for our environment.
M.S. Rochell is the owner of which offers education and inspiration on the benefits of going green with solar energy, DIY solar power, and affordable solar energy solutions. Please visit to see a video of solar shingles in action, and for our free Affordable Solar Energy eBooks.

Solar Shingles - A Solar-Powered Roof

With the rapid advancement of solar power we are now seeing new products enter the market containing "integrated solar panels". For example, solar shingles. Essentially, these are ordinary roof shingles which are made out of photovoltaic materials. They perform the same function as ordinary roof shingles, with the added capability of producing electricity. The advantage of these thin "solar panels" is that they can now be integrated right into one's building materials - so instead of having solar panels on your roof, you would now have a solar roof. Aside from being more desirable from an aesthetic standpoint, this also eliminates the need for bulky and heavy "traditional solar panels" to be installed.
How are Solar Shingles Made?
Advancements in solar power technology, such as the inventions of solar ink and other combinations of semi-conductors, have made it possible to combine or include photovoltaic materials in with a wide range of other products and materials. Solar cells no longer need to be made out of bulky heavy-weight silicon panels. They can in fact be printed on just about any type of material - such as metal, plastic, and others. Researchers have even found ways to produce organic photovoltaics, though that is at the moment still in a purely experimental phase.
Benefits of Solar Shingles
- Attractive style
- Fully integrated shingle roof
- Lower electric bill
- Free electricity
- Pollution-free power
- Increased home value
- Protects the environment
- Exceptionally durable
- Great investment
- Significant state cash rebates available
- Federal tax incentives available Costs and Financing To be honest, right at this moment solar shingles might still seem expensive to some, but as any new technology develops its products become cheaper with time.
However it does appear that the cost will be considerably lower than installing a comparable set of conventional solar panels. In one recent example, the entire cost of a home solar shingle installation was approximately $16,000, with a $12,000 tax rebate. This brought the entire cost to only $4000. That's considerably lower than the usual cost involved in installing a home solar power system - but one has to keep in mind as well that the cost of tiling or shingling a roof is covered at the same time. These are, after all, shingles as well as solar panels. Clean energy cash incentives and tax rebates are available at a federal level, and most states also have a clean energy or sustainable energy source rebate program. This, combined with energy savings, does make them affordable, and will in most cases pay for itself over time.
To find more information about solar energy, and to get a full understanding of solar power devices, see Facts about Solar Energy and Portable Solar Power
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