Solar Roofing Costs and Questions
Innovative solar technologies are reinventing the way the world thinks about solar power. Today’s products rely on glass thermal tiles, modular arrays, and solar-cell-enhanced shingles, so you can finally say goodbye to ugly arrays. Slick new solar shingles are elegant, easy to install, and almost invisible.
What is a Solar Roof?
In days of yore, panels ruled the solar market. They were ugly, inefficient, and heavy on real estate. Thankfully, solar shingles have taken their place. New fabrications take on the aesthetic of traditional shingles while simultaneously capturing solar heat. They can produce as much as 350 kWh for every square meter.
More inventive products use solar cells instead, transforming your shingles into an integrated solar roof. That doesn’t mean solar arrays have become redundant. Modern panels rely on modular power systems that can adjust to capture more sunlight. Flexible products unfold over your existing roof, achieving an impressive 11% energy conversion rate.
The Pros and Cons of Solar Roof Units
Solar roofing is available in grid-tied, off-grid, and hybrid systems, so there’s plenty of flexibility to work with. It can integrate into an energy storage unit and act as a standalone power system. Solar roofing provides a few important benefits:
- It’s smaller than traditional panels. A photovoltaic shingle weighs just 13 pounds per square foot and takes up 12 X 86 inches per shingle.
- It’s easy to customize, so you can use it to reduce your power consumption or increase its coverage to move off-grid.
- Thin-film solar shingles are made from a semiconductor called copper indium gallium selenide—one of the most powerful energy converters on the market today.
- Solar shingles are slim and sleek, pushing your curb appeal to new heights.
- Some products can be detached, so you can take them with you when you move to a new property.
How Much Does a Solar Roof Cost?
The solar market has exploded with new products, so you can choose from a range of price points. You can expect to pay $14 to $19 per square foot for a basic Tesla solar roof. A conventional 10 kW system will set you back about $19, 000. That number will grow and shrink according to the complexity and slope of your existing roof. Tesla solar roofs replace your existing roofing, so their heavy price tag might be worthwhile if your shingles have reached their sell-by-date. Initial outlay doesn’t tell the whole story, though.
Studies show that a roof replacement has a 71% return on investment, so much of your outlay will crawl back into your pocket. Add federal tax credits and power savings to the mix, and you might earn more than you pay on that new solar roof. The latter will require a simple sun number score or solar panel calculator. Sun number score ranks your rating and enumerates your potential solar capabilities. To arrive at an accurate number, you need to include:
- The total space your roof can dedicate to solar panels
- The slope and direction of your roof
- Your neighborhood’s electricity costs
- The cost of your desired solar installation
- The existence of obstructions such as shade trees and tall buildings
- The amount of sunlight your roof is exposed to, measured in square meterage
A solar installer can help you to calculate your score, but if you’re the independent type, an online solar system calculator can give you an idea of the amount of power you can generate.
How Many Solar Panels Can I Fit on My Roof?
Square footage might be less important than it once was, but it’s still a consideration. Rooftops come in all shapes and sizes, though, so a basic calculation won’t help you. The angle of each slope and number of roof sections will change your figure. As always, it’s best to ask the professionals.
Is Solar Right for My House?
Not all houses are solar candidates. Panels require you to have durable roofing materials and a relatively young roof. Your home also needs to receive a respectable amount of sunlight, so you’ll need plenty of south-facing roofing. Shade trees can also harm your chances. You might need to say goodbye to that gorgeous old oak you climbed as a child.
Can You Install Solar Panels on a Tile Roof?
Slate and wood shakes aren’t ideal for solar panels, but asphalt and composites are good candidates. Even so, a professional roofing company can make the most of your tiled roof by removing some of your roofing or adding solar shingles instead.
Solar rooftop technologies are enjoying their heyday. There’s simply no better time to leave the grid behind. Even the simplest panels offer lifetime savings of over $10, 000 while shrinking your carbon footprint. It’s time to turn to renewable energy, not just for the sake of your pocket, but your conscience, too.
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