Solar for Homes
With so many advancements in solar technologies and new materials available on the market, it’s no wonder more and more people are going for solar roofing in order to reduce their costs and maximize energy efficiency. But before you join the club, here are a couple of things you should know which could help you choose the perfect product and avoid unnecessary troubles.
Solar shingles work on the same principle like regular solar panels, using photovoltaic cells to harness the Sun’s energy and turn it into electricity, which can then be used to power home appliances or exported to the grid for a price. And unlike solar panels, which are mounted on top of a roof, solar shingles completely replace materials of the building envelope, allowing significant savings by reducing labor and installation costs and thus eliminating the need for separate racking equipment.
There are several types and categories of solar shingles available at the moment, with the best ones generating 6 watts of energy per a square shingle 6 inches wide. One thousand of these shingles would generate 6 kWh, which is so far better than average 4 kWh solar panel systems mounted on most homes. However, there is a downside to it. Each shingle requires a positive and a negative current connector, which means that 1000 shingles will need to be connected by 2000 wires, a time and money consuming process. To overcome this, manufacturers are now producing clusters of shingles that can contain from 10 up to 24 single cells. Also being introduced are “dummy” shingles, which serve to cover areas of the roof which can’t be replaced with solar ones. This means that not every square inch of the roof will be used to generate electricity.
Considering this, one may question whether it is viable and profitable to install such a system? An ordinary 6 kWh system will cost around £10,000 to install, which is considerably higher than the price of a conventional 4 kWh solar panel system mounted on top of a roof. However, it should be noted that thanks to its higher production rate, it will also pay for itself sooner. A 6 kWh system, placed on top of the rooftop facing the Sun, will be able to generate around 4,200 kWh per year, covering 90% of an average household energy consumption.
Combined with the Feed-in grant program, which enables households using solar and green technologies to receive government funds for each kWh they generate and/or export to the grid, it can be said that a solar rooftop can become a profitable investment after a period of 10 years. Businesses, companies and wealthier homes can accomplish even more than that, due to having bigger surfaces which can be used to generate power and thus slash electricity costs.
Solar companies have been investing heavily into new technologies and their people, to lower their costs. Solar panels now cost around half of what they used to cost about 7-10 years ago. This is good news for home owners looking to get rid of their monthly energy bills once and for all. “The reduction in manufacturing costs has helped companies like us reach more home owners over the past 3 years” saysPeter from solar engineering ltd panels
As technologies improve day by day, new solutions and products become available, and what was out of reach for an average family today, could become an affordable investment tomorrow. And given the fact that government grants for solar and green solutions get lower and lower each, now might be the perfect time to switch. After all, it’s not just about saving your budget, but also saving the environment and securing a better future for younger generations.