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Solar Shingles get State of the Union Plug

Solar Shingles get State of the Union Plug

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Renewable energy has been a hot topic in politics and the economy, and in President Obama’s State of the Union Speech, he pushed to invest in future energy sources, including solar power. The president specifically mentioned a set of brothers from Michigan, Robert and Gary Allen of Allen Brothers, Inc., who took stimulus money and used it to create an innovative roofing product: solar shingles. While they are not the first to look into this alternative to traditional solar panels, they did create a product that has proven popular among consumers looking to make their homes more energy efficient. So what exactly are solar shingles and how do they work?

The Basics of Solar Shingles

More and more people have been trying to find ways to cut energy costs while simultaneously helping the environment. Solar energy has become a common solution, popping up everywhere around commercial buildings. But there have been fewer instances of solar panels seen in residential areas, mostly because installing them is extremely expensive. Solar shingles are a more economical and aesthetically pleasing way to utilize solar energy in homes.

Traditional solar panels are built into boxes and installed on the roof, protruding above the current shingles. Solar shingles replace current shingles, installing them directly onto the roof, blending them in with the other tiles. These solar shingles, also called photovoltaic shingles, come in a variety of sizes and wattages to fit different roofs. Wires are attached to the panels and pulled through the roof as the shingles are put into place. The wiring from all the shingles is tied together and then inserted into the house’s combiner box, or energy system. Electricity is then generated when the sun strikes the conductor layer of the shingles, creating energy for the house. One shingle alone cannot power more than a single window fan or lamp, but when combined with hundreds more, it can power a whole house.

Cost of Solar Shingles

Solar shingles, while cheaper than standard solar panels, are still expensive. But solar shingles should be viewed as a long-term investment, as the initial costs will eventually be covered by what you save in energy bills. Sometimes solar shingles can even become profitable after a certain amount of time. However, if you are thinking about getting these installed on your roof, it’s good to know how much it usually costs. In general, cost is charged per watt, so price will fluctuate depending on how much energy you want to generate. Also, there will be fees for installation, electrical wiring and additional equipment. You will also need to decide if you want to plug your solar shingles into the grid system or into a battery, both of which will add onto the bill. On average, solar shingles can cost upwards of $10,000, but this number will be different for each person depending on where they live and how many shingles they want.

Benefits of Solar Shingles

Apart from the fact that solar shingles can significantly cut down on energy costs, they also have a number of other benefits. If a homeowner decides to install solar panels and chooses to plug them into the grid system, there is a possibility that electric companies could pay you for any extra energy you feed to certain areas, which puts more money in your pocket. However, this depends on where you live, and some energy companies are exempt from this rule. If you choose to set up your solar shingles a different way, you can use a battery pack that stores excess energy at times when production exceeds consumption. This can come in handy when there is a power outage in your neighborhood, or your area is experiencing a long period of cloudy weather.

Should You Install Solar Shingles in Your Home?

If you’re thinking about putting solar shingles on your roof, there are a couple things you need to consider. First, think about where you live and how much sunlight it typically gets. The more sunlight, the more energy produced, and the more money saved. Another thing to think about is whether or not you want to plug your home into the grid or send energy to a battery. A grid system will allow others to feed off your generated energy, so if it’s in your best interest to save it for yourself, consider a battery. You also need to think about how much it will cost to install the system and what it will save you in the long run. The best way to determine costs and savings is to speak with a licensed contractor who can provide you with accurate cost estimates for shingles, installation, electrical work and overall energy production.

If you want to follow the president’s advice and invest in renewable energy in your home, then consider the benefits of solar shingles. You can learn more about energy efficient roofing by consulting with a certified contractor. Contact us today and we’ll set up a meeting with a professional contractor in your area.

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