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.