To the majority the main reason why they won’t install solar panels is that some can look well… ugly. Nobody wants to lose their curb appeal understandably BUT, you don’t have to get panels. You can get solar roof tiles and they look just dandy!
What are they and how do they work?
Solar shingles, also called photovoltaic shingles, are solar cells designed to look like conventional asphalt shingles. There are several varieties of solar shingles, including shingle-sized solid panels that take the place of a number of conventional shingles in a strip, semi-rigid designs containing several silicon solar cells that are sized more like conventional shingles, and newer systems using various thin film solar cell technologies that match conventional shingles both in size and flexibility. Solar shingles are manufactured by several companies by now.
Solar shingles are photovoltaic cells, capturing sunlight and transforming it into electricity. Most solar shingles are 12 by 86 inches (300 by 2,180 mm) and can be stapled directly to the roofing cloth. When applied they have a 5 by 86 inches (130 by 2,180 mm) strip of exposed surface. Different models of shingles have different mounting requirements. Some can be applied directly onto roofing felt intermixed with regular asphalt shingles while others may need special installation.
|Aren’t they just dandy?! There are all sorts of shapes and sizes that admittedly do aesthetically dance on the eyes more so than the panels!
So it is a no-brainer then; fit solar tiles instead of panels unless you want to make a statement to your neighbours with your solar panels. Well – as is often the case – it is not as simple as that. The main issue is cost or, more to the point, return on investment. Solar tiles are more expensive – often double the price – and less efficient – typically 10 – 20% less than than solar panels. And as solar PV systems are being presented as an excellent investment with the Feed in Tariffs this will have an impact on their popularity and applicability.
Solar tiles still may have a part to play in the sustainable design of our buildings however. For those that view the appearance of their roof as paramount or for whom cost is not a concern may still want to make the extra investment. Also with new build homes, it may be practical to install solar tiles instead of conventional roof tiles which will offset some of the cost and look great; particularly if they cover the entire roof pitch.
I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!