Installing Photovoltaic Roofing Materials
Photovoltaic shingled roofing refers to solar panels used to replace traditional roofing materials such as slate or asphalt shingling while producing electrical energy from the sun’s rays. While solar shingled roofing is becoming more popular for homes and smaller buildings, they are also used in industrial, commercial, and municipal buildings worldwide. Photovoltaic solar shingled roofing is the most technologically advanced form of solar roofing available on the market today. While these roofing systems are still more expensive and more wasteful than many other alternative renewable energy sources, the trend toward photovoltaic roofing is likely to continue and grow exponentially. With the ever-growing need for energy, the use of photovoltaic solar shingled roofing will only grow in popularity.
Photovoltaic solar shingled roofing, sometimes called photovoltaic shingles or PV shingles, have been around for decades, but only in the last few years have they become a trendy choice for homes and offices. While older PV shingled roofing systems were made with aluminum or steel, the newer, more efficient systems are made from materials such as silicon. Silicon is a semiconductor recently found to be extremely efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, making it the perfect replacement for clay, wood, asphalt shingled roofs, which produce 80% of the electricity wood-shingled roofs provide. In addition, because it is made from silicon, photovoltaic shingles are more efficient, durable, and easier to maintain than their clay-based counterparts.
Many homeowners are deciding to make use of photovoltaic shingles because they offer so many benefits. First of all, photovoltaic shingles can reduce your heating and cooling costs. Since they have low emissions and are unobtrusive, they can actually increase the value of your home as well. Another benefit is that these panels do not need to be painted, and if properly installed, they do not even need to be covered by the roof. Thus, they allow maximum sunlight exposure, which means more solar power for fewer energy costs for homeowners.
As with any home improvement project, the first thing you need to do is to calculate your photovoltaic shingles requirements. Depending on how many square feet you are planning to cover with them and the amount of sun you receive, this may vary slightly. Other factors to consider are the amount of light your roof can handle and what tiles you plan to use. The type of tiles you choose will also depend on your budget. For example, the cheapest and easiest to install are made out of fiberglass, whereas the most expensive solar shingle options are made from slate or ceramic.
When determining the amount of roofing material you will need to generate electricity, the number one factor is the length of your roof. However, when you want to generate enough electricity to eliminate your monthly power bill, you will probably have to go with a longer roof. For example, if you want to cover an entire attic with solar shingled tiles, you will need about 35 square feet of roofing material. The shorter the roof, the more power you can expect to generate. On the other hand, if you install too long of a roof with photovoltaic shingles and spans several stories, you will have to spend thousands of dollars on roof replacement.
While the number of square feet you need to cover your roof is important, the quality of your photovoltaic shingles is even more important. The cells’ efficiency to make up your roof shingling is determined by the material that the cells are made out of. This is usually silicon, which is the most commonly used material for photovoltaic shingles. Silicon is an excellent conductor of electricity, which is why it is the material of choice.
Unfortunately, not all photovoltaic roofing materials are made with silicon, and there is a wide variety of options to choose from. Some of the alternative materials you can use for photovoltaic shingles include copper, whose conductivity is much better than silicon and conducts electricity well. Another great alternative to traditional silicon is lead, which is still much less expensive than silicon and doesn’t conduct electricity. You can also use various types of polymer, which is inexpensive and available in a wide array of colors and patterns. These are generally inferior in terms of performance compared to silicon, however.
Photovoltaic roof panels can be installed onto any roof, with almost any type of slope. If your roof is flat and straight, you can install a panel high-up, which will allow the panels to capture more sunlight. Conversely, if your roof slopes at different angles, you can install panels closer together, which will allow them to capture a wider variety of sunlight. Whichever type of roof you have, you should consider having an installer install a matching panel since a matching panel will create a much stronger overall energy output. Having a strong matching panel will ensure that your overall energy output matches your electricity usage, which will ensure that you don’t spend unnecessarily on power bill expenses.