Solar Shingles Poised As Next Renewable Trend

3 Min Read
Solar Shingles Poised As Next Renewable Trend

People who want to take advantage of solar energy in their homes no longer need to install a bolt-on solar-panel system atop their houses -- they can integrate solar-energy-harvesting shingles directing into an existing or new roof instead.

Solar shingles are poised to be the next wave in residential solar installations, with a number of companies already offering these products to customers -- and interest in them on the rise.

Add this to the growing list of solar-energy-harvesting building materials -- coating for glass windows and concrete, among them -- and the completely solar-powered home of the future seems like it's not far off.

Among the leaders in the burgeoning market is Dow, with its Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles, which are currently available in 19 US states and counting. The shingle arrays can be fitted on a roof in custom installations depending on how much electricity a homeowner wants to generate, according to the company's website.

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"Across the country, Powerhouse has changed how people see their roof," said Cheryl Whitten, associate commercial director for Dow Solar, in a press release.

Indeed, shingles like Dow's are not your typical solar installation; they fit more aesthetically into roof design than a solar panel array, since they play a dual role as photovoltaic panel and traditional roofing material.

Another major player emerging in the solar shingle market is CertainTeed, which has a background in providing roofing materials and offers a line of solar shingles with Apollo II solar roofing system. The systems features modules each with 14 high-efficiency monocyrstalline solar cells.

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Solar shingles even come in more specialized versions to help suit the needs of different types of roofs. One of the smaller players in the space, Luma Resources, offers shingles for steeper roofs that come in a variety of sizes, from 2,400W to 8,640W systems.

The shingle systems functions similarly to solar-panel installations, connecting to a solar inverter that converts DC to AC and providing electricity into the home. Typical arrays of the shingles can offset about 30% to 60% of the electricity in a residential property, according to Dow.

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Another thing that's similar to bolt-on solar systems is pricing of the shingles, which are still on the expensive side for many homeowners. Generally, installations are about $25,000 for a typical family house of about 3,000 square feet.

To help alleviate some of this front-end cost, some companies like Dow are offering financing options. People also can receive government credits and rebates for supplementing their electrical needs with shingles just as they can with other solar systems.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and NYC. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga, and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano

Elizabeth Montalbano has been a professional journalist covering the telecommunications, technology and business sectors since 1998. Prior to her work at Design News, she has previously written news, features and opinion articles for Phone+, CRN (now ChannelWeb), the IDG News Service, Informationweek and CNNMoney, among other publications. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she also has lived and worked in Phoenix, Arizona; San Francisco and New York City. She currently resides in Lagos, Portugal. Montalbano has a bachelor's degree in English/Communications from De Sales University and a master's degree from Arizona State University in creative writing.

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