Progress in Solar Systems

In the hot and humid South, why aren’t roofs on homes and office buildings covered with solar panels?

In the summer, air conditioners are sucking expensive electricity to keep homes and offices cool and the sun is heating the roofs to high temperates. Solar panels could generate electricity for the air conditioning and deflect the heating of the roofs. Plus, we could reduce our funding of terrorism in the Middle East by buying less oil to generate power.

To add solar panels to a home:

Evergreen Solar is selling a new roof-mounting system for its solar panels. The company says the product can be anchored without penetrating the surface of a roof, and can withstand winds of 130 miles per hour. The product’s frame also acts as an electrical grounding system. Link: Evergreen Solar reports sunny sales in Q4 – 2005-02-24 – Boston Business Journal. Evergreen Solar is a developer and manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules — the engines of solar electric systems — used in remote power and emerging grid-connected markets.

To build a home with solar panels in the roof:

Kyocera has introduced a new solar roof tile. The solar tile is designed so that it blends in with standard roof tiles. Kyocera calls the solar tiles "MyGen Meridian". The company says the tiles were produced in response to homeowner’s associations that have been critical of conventional solar panel installations due to their ‘added-on’ look. Link: MetaEfficient

Solar Shingles — yes they do indeed exist and are available now. This new style of solar collector lets homeowners build electrical generation right into the roof itself. They can be added to existing homes or built into new homes. It saves money because the shingles serve a dual purpose — as a roofing material and as a power plant. Unlike solar panels, they do not disturb the natural lines of the house. They are also very durable (warrantied for 20 years) and are not prone to high winds (up to 80 mph). Each shingle costs around $120 and produces about 17W of power. Solar shingles qualify for alternative energy rebates in many states. Some states, such as California, will cover 50% of the cost. The DSIRE web site lists what incentives are available at the state and federal level.

Available from: CET Solar or OK Solar or AltEnergyStore.  Link: MetaEfficient