You can now acquire solar shingles that look like your existing asphalt shingles. They have a comparable matte finish and are the same size. The big difference is that they are covered with thin film solar cells that collect sunlight and turn it into electricity. The thin film technology means you will not have to build a large structure (an array) on top of your roof to hold solar panels. And the solar shingles will collect the same amount of energy as a solar panel array, but are much less visually intrusive.
Some homeowner associations won’t consent to solar panel arrays to be built on a rooftop or in a back yard. And even if you still have to get your homeowner association to allow you to install solar shingles, it will be much easier to persuade your neighbors (and board members) to say yes to solar cells that look just like the shingles on their roofs.
Solar shingle systems can be off-grid or tied to the grid. These means they can be used with a solar energy system that is self contained (off-grid) or that is tied into the public utility system (tied to the grid). The thin film technology works basically the same way as the bigger panel systems. Sunlight is still being captured by photovoltaic cells and converted into energy. but the materials used in manufacturing the solar shingles are smaller. Advancements in solar technology have allowed improvements that reduce the size needed to produce the same amount of energy. The smaller shingle-sized cells are now efficient enough to produce the same amount of energy as the larger arrays.
Besides the visual appeal, another nice feature of the solar shingles is that they can be replaced as easily as traditional shingles. They’re made to last for more than 20 years, depending on the manufacturer. And they’re built to withstand harsh weather like hail and high winds. But if they do need to be replaced, it’s as straightforward as replacing traditional asphalt shingles.
Still, these solar shingles are pretty new on the market, so you may have to do some research to find a supplier close to you. You will also need to find a honest installer who is familiar with the product. your best bet is to search online for solar shingle manufacturers and suppliers. they will e able to refer you to a professional installer in your area.
While solar shingles may not be the right choice for every homeowner, they can certainly offer an attractive alternative to traditional solar panel arrays.
A source of energy that should not be overlooked is wind power. Many homeowners have reduced or eliminated their electricity bill by building their own windmills. More information can be found at www.GreenLivingRocks.com