Install a Solar Roof This Summer

Renewable energy, Solar power — By on June 11, 2011 at 6:23 am

Home improvement project time!  With longer days and more favorable weather, now is probably the best time to install a solar roof this summer.

solar roof tiles 1 Install a Solar Roof This Summer

Solar roof tiles blend right into your home's profile

Prices for home solar panels have come down dramatically over the past few years, and you can still score a pretty nice tax incentive and some rebates if you purchase a solar energy system for your house.  For most people, the area of their property that receives the most direct sunlight is usually the rooftop.  Solar roofs are popular among homeowners because they are efficient, easy to maintain, and do not take up space on your property.

There are a number of solar roof options for consumers to consider:  (1) solar electric photovoltaic (PV) panels; (2) solar roof shingles; and (3) solar thermal panels.  Each has benefits and drawbacks.

solar panels on home roof Install a Solar Roof This Summer

Photovoltaic solar panels on residential roof top

With PV panels, you’ll convert UV light into solar electricity to offset or replace grid-based power.  Solar electric photovoltaic panels are usually large and somewhat bulky.  Some people do not like the aesthetic impact, and roof penetrations for the brackets are required.  Depending on the size of your home and your energy needs, a most residential solar arrays will cost between $7,500-$40,000.

Solar roof shingles are gaining in popularity among homeowners who desire a low-profile solar installation to minimize view impacts.  Instead of regular asphalt shingles, solar film-covered shingles are installed on a portion of the roof and blend right in.  That’s why they are an excellent example of “building integrated photovoltaics.”  No roof penetrations are required, and the solar shingles will last as long – if not longer – than regular roofing tiles.  Like PV panels, solar roof shingles generate electricity, reducing or eliminating your power bill.  Solar roof shingles cost slightly more than PV panels, when comparing the same wattage output of both systems.

Finally, solar thermal panels are used as part of a solar hot water system.  Instead of generating electricity, these panels heat water without the need for grid-based power.  Sunlight that hits the panels starts a system that ends up with free hot water in your water tank.  There are a variety of solar hot water systems that can be used, depending on your hot water needs and the climate in which you live.  Solar thermal panels are generally less expensive than solar electric panels.

If you want to install a solar roof this summer, experts advise that you should have a professional inspection, quote and installation.  While you can try installing solar panels as a DIY project, the best results happen when you hire a contractor.

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the sun – both outdoors and inside with your solar electricity or solar hot water!

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