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Charleston Roofing: Article About Types Of Solar Shingles

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Renewable energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Both residential and commercial solar panels are becoming commonplace across the country. Decreasing prices along with federal and state incentives have increased the number of residential solar installations greatly in the last five years.

One factor that still causes some people to hold back is the bulky, disruptive look of traditional solar panels. Solar shingles offer a much more aesthetically appealing alternative to rooftop panels. These tiny solar panels serve as regular shingles with all the benefits of traditional panels.

Before getting set on solar shingles, homeowners should check with a qualified Charleston roofing installer. Solar shingles are not much heavier than other roofing material, but they do take some special consideration when determining the suitability for a given home. Solar shingles transmit more heat into the decking below. The slope and orientation of a roof can greatly influence the efficiency of these high-tech shingles. If a roof is not within the optimal range for a home's location, the shingles will never generate enough power to offset the initial investment.

Solar shingles come in two basic varieties. The newest type is thin film solar cells. These are constructed from copper film laminated in thin layers to flexible backing.

Have a question regarding metals roofs or shingle roofs? Ask a roofing contractor at Lowcountry roofing of Charleston SC.

The flexibility makes integrating seamlessly with traditional asphalt shingles easy. Thin film photovoltaic cells are still a new technology, however, and have yet to achieve the efficiency of the silicon-based cells used in solar panels. This means a larger area of roof must be covered to generate the same amount of power. The good news is they are less expensive to produce.

The other main type of solar shingle are small silicon solar panels. They are less than an inch thick and still function as shingles. They lack the flexibility and tiny profile of the newer thin film cells, but they are more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity and blend nicely with most regular shingles.

Both types of solar shingles are produced to be grid-tied, which makes them ready to be installed on houses already connected to the power grid. This is an added benefit in states like South Carolina that offer net metering. Net metering means power companies must pay customers for power generated in excess of personal usage. Installation can be accomplished by any qualified roofing contractor with the help of an electrician to install the inverter and make the connection to the grid.

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