Electrify Your Roof with Solar Tiles
Soon there might be miles of shiny tiles on roofs in suburban America.
Want to own the high-tech house on your block, with the latest solar
technology? Try this on for size: solar roofing tiles that can generate up
to 90 percent of your electricity. Unlike solar panels that stick out like
some giant radar antenna, these tiles blend in seamlessly with the roof. And
you'll enjoy paying just a fraction of what you used to pay on electricity.
Although initial installation costs are higher than a standard roof, your
local utility may help to foot the bill.
Some forward-thinking utility companies are working with manufacturers of
energy saving products, subsidizing the cost for up to 50% of the product for
builders. Even if your utility doesn't yet offer incentives to builders in
your area, it's still worth asking your builder about installation. You'll
pay more for a photovoltaic roof but the long-term cost of energy is
reduced. Plow those monthly savings into your mortgage, and you'll keep the
monthly electricity bill invested in your home. And if your utility won't
chip in, EPA will in the form of Energy Star mortgage point savings.
It's no surprise that photovoltaic roofing has caught on in California, the
state with some of the worst electrical power shortages in the country.
Renewable sources of energy are beginning to look more attractive and cost
effective as the power supply gets pricier and less reliable. If you want to
be altruistic, a photovoltaic roof has two other reasons to make you feel
good. First, by bringing in extra power to the utility grid, it will reduce
demand during peak usage and free up power that other people can use. If
more homes go off the grid, the potential is that other homes will be spared
from brownouts or rolling blackouts. Of course, the second major benefit is
environmental and knowing that fossil fuel emissions are greatly reduced by
your solar energy use.
One manufacturer, Atlantis Energy, Inc, offers a 50-year roofing warranty,
and a class "A" fire rating on its tiles. The tiles are individually
replaceable in the event that repairs are needed. Atlantis says that it can
be installed by the builders' own roofing subcontractors, and meets local and
national building codes (NEC, UL, ICBO). How does it look? Think of shiny
tiles instead of large panels that reflect the sun but installed flush with
The manufacturer builds silicon chips into roof tile, creating electricity
from sunlight. Only a certain percentage of planned roof tile needs to be
solar electric tiles. The surplus power feeds into the utility grid and
becomes available to the homeowner whenever needed. (You can back up your
solar supply with storage batteries in case of emergencies.) While your roof
is producing power, you get "credit" on your electricity meter during the
day. Not a bad trade-off for a shiny spot on the roof.
Sources used to create this article include Dena Amuroso and Realtytimes.com