The New Green Roof: Solar Panels That Change Colors
Death at Seaworld
When it comes to solar panels, the industry has long embraced Henry Fordâs sale pitch for the Model T: You can have any color as long as itâs black. Now a Boston start-up has developed a technology to turn your roof into a palette of electricity-generating colors and patterns.
Starting next year, Sistine Solar will begin selling âSolarSkinâ panels that blend in with the texture of a roof by mimicking tiles, slate, wood shingles and other materials. Want a truly green roof? Sistine Solar panels can be made to look like grass.
Company founders Senthil Balasubramanian and Ido Salama came up with the idea while studying business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. They hope their product will persuade people to go solar who had been reluctant to buy standard blue-black solar panels for esthetic reasons.
âWe are lovers of solar and clean energy and wanted to figure out how to get people motivated to love solar too,â Salama said. âWe learned that many people thought solar panels were ugly. We found an almost latent rejection of solar that people werenât really talking about.â
The panels are now available on preorder, and installations will begin in 2017. Salama said the company has seen âtremendous demandâ but declined to say how many solar panels have been sold.
A house in Hubbardston, Massachusetts, sports SolarSkinâs prototype panels.
Whats Your Roof Age Estimate
While the length of time you can expect a roof to last varies, a good estimate is about 20 years or longer. Asphalt is the most common roofing material because of its affordability. This material has the potential to last up to 30 years. If you want to know how to replace a roof with solar panels, youve got to make an educated roof age estimate.
Ultimately, a newer roof with no structural or superficial damage is an ideal candidate for solar installation. This isnt necessarily the case for an older roof .
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Solar Panel Mounting Options
If your roof fails to pass the structural requirements of your municipality or the expense of replacing the roof is just too much to absorb in your budget, it does not necessarily close the door on solar power for your property. When land space is available, you can opt to install a solar racking system on the property to support the solar panels. While this adds additional expense to the cost of the solar equipment, it would be far less expensive when compared to roof replacement or structural repairs to the roofing system.
Many types of solar ground mounts, posts, and even solar tracking systems are available to accommodate a wide range of scenarios. Solar tracking systems are a very efficient means for solar panel mounting as the system is designed to track and follow the sun. This keeps your solar panels in the most effective position to produce solar power throughout the day and increases their efficiency significantly.
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Why Does Solar Panel Placement Matter
work by absorbing sunlight to create electrical charges, which can be turned into electricity. This all starts with the panels collecting solar radiation. This comes primarily from the sun directly, but can also come from sunlight reflected from surrounding areas.
Because the primary source of solar radiation will be direct sunlight, it’s important to properly orient your solar panels to maximize the exposure they have to the sun. Ideally, you want the sun’s rays to be perpendicular to the surface of your solar panel. It’s important to consider that this orientation will differ based on where you’re living and that the sun’s angle will change throughout the year.
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Are Solar Shingles Better Than Solar Panels
The main reason why people are more interested in solar shingles than solar panels is that shingles look more aesthetically pleasing. They definitely give your roof a nicer look, but are they really better than traditional solar panels? Lets assess the situation:
- Have a higher home value
- Less efficient in comparison to conventional panels
- Higher module temperatures
- Only a few contractors offer this option
It is apparent that solar shingles have quite a few drawbacks.
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So How Long Do Solar Panels Last
THE SHORT ANSWER: A really long time!
For the first 40 years, you will get great production from your panels. They will continue to produce power for another 40 years if you dont care about the efficiency. Solar systems are very durable, and the technology is practical and productive. WHY? Because the only moving parts involving the solar system are the Earth and the Sun.
Be sure the warranties of the installer, and the panels, are a good fit for you and enjoy your system!
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How Are Solar Panels Mounted To Your Roof
So, how exactly are solar panels installed on your roof? Lets break it down.
Depending on the type of roof you have, the way solar panels are attached to your roof will change. When it comes to the most standard type of roofing, asphalt shingles, the panels are attached with a lag bolt and flashing. The bolt is screwed into the roofs rafters, and the flashing helps keep water from penetrating your roofing system.
At Sun Badger, we offer a 5-year leak warranty if water does ever get past the flashing we install. The solar panels are then attached to these brackets where theyll live out their life soaking up the sun.
If you want to learn more about solar and what it would take to get solar installed on your home, reach out to Sun Badger today! The quote and consultation are both completely free. Well help you determine how much solar youd need to supplement your electric bill and what you can do right now to start making your home more energy-efficient.
Solar Panel Removal Tips
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when it comes to the removal and reinstallation of your solar panels:
1. Most of the original hardware such as the mounting hardware and flashings may be damaged easily upon their removal.
2. Permits may need to be requested from your citys building and safety department.
3. Most solar companies will require at least 6 more panels to be added to your setup.
4. The solar panel companys quote will solely cover the removal and reinstallation of the solar panels. The rest of the costs that may come with the actual roofing material will not be covered by them.
5. Make it a point to contact your original solar panel installation company. If that doesnt seem to be possible, make sure that you contact a similar company. This is a job for professionals so it would be safest if you dont attempt to DIY it.
This needs to be done properly and needs to be under warranty coverage or you will end up incurring costs that could easily rack up to the thousands of dollars.
Will A Solar Company Pay For A New Roof
See these solar panels at
Most of the solar companies in the country dont come with roofing services. It goes without saying that they will not offer it nor pay for it.
However, solar reinstallation and re-roofing usually go hand in hand so ask them for roofer referrals and theyre bound to give you some really good ones that you can contact in your area.
Do Solar Panels Void Roof Warranty?
How Long Do Solar Panels Last On Your Roof?
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Missing Or Broken Tiles Or Shingles
If shingles are missing, cracked or completely broken, they cant do their job properly. They wont be doing their bit to protect your home. Missing or damaged tiles can cause leaks, structural weakness, and can shorten the longevity of your roof.
A damaged roof will struggle much more when it comes to supporting the weight of solar panels. Installing solar panels with damaged tiles can make the problem worse, so this is definitely something you want to sort before installing panels.
And remember, your roof also needs to be safe for the installers to work and walk on.
Can I Install Solar Panels In Singapore If Im Buying Electricity From An Oem Retailer
Your solar panel installation is not tied to your OEM retailer contract, and you can install solar at any time regardless of your contract end date. That said, some solar installers may find it administratively easier when customers are under SP Group. Solar homeowners who generate more solar energy than they consume may even switch to selling their excess solar electricity with an OEM retailer to make a greater profit during periods where wholesale electricity prices are higher.
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Do You Need A Roof Replacement First
You may want to have a roof inspection done before you install solar panels to make sure that it is going to be able to hold up to the effort. This is especially important if you think your roof may already be near the end of its life.
Overall, if you think you may need a roof replacement in the next 10 years or do, get an experts opinion before considering solar panel installation.
There are some solar companies that offer roofing services, but generally, reroofing is going to be done prior to or right around the time of your new solar installation. Youll essentially get the new roof and solar panels all at once!
If you do need a new roof before going to solar energy, its a good idea to get it done.
When you add solar pannels to your roof after a roof replacement, the panels will make the lifetime of your roof last longer.
If you are getting a roof replacement with solar panels at the same time there is a good chance you wont need to reroof again until you need a new solar system. That saves you money in the long run on maintenance and energy.
If you do have solar panels on your roof and you run into a need to replace your roof, post solar panel installation, you will have the added cost of labor to remove and replace the solar panels while the re-roofing process is taking place.
Installing Solar Shingles: How Many Do You Need
Installation of solar roofing shingles may take up to a week old shingles will need to be removed from the home, new shingles put into place, and the entire solar system connected through your inverter and solar battery.
Before the installation process begins, an installer will join you at your home to help you assess how many solar shingles youll need. There are a couple of factors that will determine how many shingles you need: The size of the shingles you select, the square footage of your home and the amount of energy you need to generate.
One thing to keep in mind is that most homeowners do not need to cover their entire roof with solar shingles you can intermingle them with traditional roof shingles to cut costs while still generating plenty of solar power.
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Solar Panel Brands And Their Warranties
Below is a list of some of the most commonly used solar panel brands.
Solar panel product warranty by the manufacturer
SOLAR PANEL MANUFACTURER
I took a look at one of the better warranties and bullet-pointed out the features of their warranty for you. LG makes a great panel and has the warranty to match. Not to mention the price is reasonable for the return. Full link below
- This is a 25-year limited warranty. LG is required to repair or replace solar panels because of defective workmanship or materials.
- Five years 95% production guarantee
- 87% production guarantee from years 6 through 25
- They will repair or replace the module and/or reimburse you for the difference in energy cost for the lack of production
- You must return defective materials. It becomes the property of LG again.
- LG does not pay for the labor associated.
- If the returned panel is not defective, the customer has to pay for shipping costs. If the panel is defective the customer will be reimbursed the shipping cost of the defective panel.
- Limitations of the scope of the warranty. Essentially a list of examples of what the warranty does not cover
- You must have a written claim done within 30 days of noticing the deficiency.
A few rules of thumb to go by when choosing the panel right for you:
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Youll Have To Remove Your Solar Panels To Replace Your Roof
Theres no way around it: your solar panels will have to come down to replace your roof. This means youll lose access to your renewable energy throughout the duration of your roof replacement, meaning for several days your home will rely entirely on utility grid power. That will drive costs up, so be prepared for a higher utility bill than usual. Your power will likely go down for at least a few minutes at a time during both your panel removal and reinstallation, so be prepared for outages.
Heres something else youll need to know: your roofers are not the ones who will remove your solar panels. Roofers generally dont have the training or skill to properly handle a solar panel removal, so youll want to call your installers to have them take your panels down before your removal project gets started. Temporarily removing your panels will probably take at least a day, and reinstallation will probably take about a day as well. Plan on adding a couple of extra days to your replacement project to accommodate for your panel removal and installation.
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If Your Roof Needs Repairs Removing And Reinstalling Solar Panels Is An Added Expense You Want To Avoid
A big part of the cost of a home solar installation is in the labor. An installation requires a multiple person crew, and a bucket truck to move equipment up to the roof.
Costs can vary quite a bit from installer to installer, but according to a government study of the solar industry, installation labor on average is 11% of the total cost of a residential solar system.
This means that if the gross cost of your system was $20,000, the cost of labor for the day or two it takes to install the panels will be in the ballpark of $2,200.
That also happens to be a pretty good estimate of what it will cost to remove and reinstall your solar panels if you need to do a tear-off roof replacement. If you roof needs a full replacement, the panels will have to come off, and you will need to hire a solar installer to do that work.
This means that one of the most important things to think about before installing solar panels on your roof is to evaluate its condition and number of serviceable years it has left. In large part, that will depend on the type of material.
Why Is It Better To Replace Your Roof Before Installing Solar Panels
At this point, we have established that replacing a roof can be quite expensive. However, it is a better option. Its a one time expense which will save you in the future.
The insulation of your house depends on your roof. So, if you need to turn up the AC in the summers or increase the heat during the winters more often, then it means your roof isnt able to insulate properly.
Moreover, a new roof will raise the value of your home. Dont worry about spending too much money on it because if you choose to sell, the money will return to you.
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The Best Direction For Solar Panels
When it comes to the best direction for your solar panels to face, you’ll want to consider which hemisphere you reside in. If you live north of the equator, the best option is for your solar panels to face south. This is because the sun shines directly over the equator, so when you’re facing your panels to the south while living north of that line, you’ll be maximizing your exposure to the sunlight over the course of the year.
The reverse is true if you live in the southern hemisphere you should orient your solar panels facing north so they will be exposed to sunlight all throughout the year.
While the north- or south-facing strategy is best for year-round solar production, there are strategies for maximizing your solar energy during peak hours. If your utility provider uses time-of-use pricing, which charges a premium for electricity used during peak hours, you can mitigate these costs with west-facing panels, which have been found to generate as much as 50% more energy during peak hours than south-facing alternatives.
Suntegra Tile And Shingle
SunTegra offers its clients two solar products solar shingles and solar tiles. The former can be installed on top of your existing roof, while the latter serves as a replacement for concrete tiles. Since they dont offer a non-photovoltaic option, they are integrated with conventional shingles and tiles.
An interesting feature on the Shingles is the air channels that are attached to the back of the panels to keep them cooler.
This feature is unique to SunTegra and improves the efficiency of the shingles. Furthermore, theyre very low profile and are easy to integrate into your existing roof.
Moreover, SunTegra panels have monocrystalline cells and a peak output of 100-110 watts. They come with a 25-year power warranty and a 10-year product warranty.
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