Solar roofing is a way of tapping solar technology by placing solar panels as roof tiles-on the roofs. Solar roofing is made up of photovoltaic cells contained in solar panel shingles with a durable back case. The similar to roof looking shingles gives it an extra edge over the other solar array methods of implementation.
Solar roofs are seeing an increase in implementation and usage. There is increasing technical sophistication in the technology. Building solar roofs is mostly the same as building normal roof shingles except there is a solar array laid in it.
Benefits of Solar Roofing
Solar Roofing has a variety of benefits. They primarily act as a source of solar energy. Acting as a solar array, they are effective and classy as a solar source. The energy produced by the solar roofs can be used for a variety of applications based on solar energy.
Some of the major benefits of Solar Roofing are as follows
- Low maintenance costs – The costs of maintenance of the solar roofs are affordable. Not much maintenance is required once the system is installed. A regular servicing of the solar array helps in increasing the life of the solar roofs.
- Pay-back time – Solar roofs pay back early in around 3-5 years depending on the climate and the type of roof it is installed on. With the roofs requiring limited maintenance, the utility costs are negligible for the solar roofs.
- Low up-gradation costs – To install technically superior versions of solar roofing, installation costs are fairly cheaper. Also around half of the original time is required for the up-gradation.
- Easy installations– Solar roofs’ installation is as hard as the installation of normal roof shingles. It is manageable and does not require any superior technical assistance. Therefore Solar panel shingles is easier to implement than other solar array methods.
- Very similar appearance as roofs – The solar roofing is laid on such that the difference in the appearance of the solar roofs and normal roofs is not visible. This is because of the outer layer that the shingle possesses. Similar appearance helps in the usage of solar technology in a classy manner.
Solar roofing provides an efficient renewable source of energy generation. Solar energy being clean and pollution free helps in keeping the environment clean. With no harmful gases being generated, the technology is free of air pollution. The following are the some major environmental benefits of Solar roofing-
- Causes no global warming
- No air pollution
- No internal heating due to the use of inefficient fuels
- Safeguarding against austerity of non-renewable sources
Limitations and Issues
Though the solar roofs provide the above major benefits, there are still many areas where it can grow itself for further benefits. The roofs are growing technically, being more cost effective and are becoming less dependent on the involuntary factors like climate.
Some of the major issues of the technology are
- Installation costs – Major skepticism arises because of the fact that the installation of the solar roofs is costly as compared to normal roofs or solar arrays. This leads to major anxieties over the feasibility and implementation of the technology. With the technology become increasingly innovative, there is a hope of the costs coming down in the future, though the process should take time.
- Mediocre Efficiency – Affectivity of the solar roofs is lesser than that of the normal solar arrays. The conversion of sunlight to solar energy is there to be improved. The efficiency is one technical area which needs to be evolved through innovative breakthroughs.
- Dependency on climate and roof structure – Solar Roofing has major reliance on the climate and the average sunlight reaching the roofs. Solar roofs have to be focused on in the optimum possible manner covering the appropriate surface space for feasible usage.
- Need for another source – Solar roofs only help in providing certain leverage to the main source of power. There is a need for having another source to complement the solar roofs for supporting the requirements of the house.
- Need some technical assistance in installation and further usage – While the installation is not complicated, but still in most cases technical support for the installation and servicing of the solar roofs is required. Unlike normal solar arrays, the roofs are exposed and may require more frequent servicing.
- Also finding and removing problems in the roofs is tougher than from normal arrays.
Summing it all up ..
Solar Roofing is an innovative and advanced method of using solar energy for various purposes. The solar energy comes with a major benefit that the solar arrays are majorly camouflaged and thus the source that converts energy do not require any extra space. The working of the solar roofs is similar to that of the solar arrays except that the solar roofs also have a protective back layer which helps in making the technology efficient and durable.
While the technology has major benefits and is being used increasingly, there are certain limitations that the roofs possess. Major issues are under developed efficiency and high initial costs. These issues can only be dealt with, when the technology increases in sophistication and demand.
Some of the major solar roofing providers are Ecotech, Sunpower, Dow and Unisolar technology.