Residential solar energy products have been available to homeowners for decades now, but today’s products have come a long way from the unsightly oversized panels once seen in yards and on rooftops of the past. One of the newest iterations of solar power production for the home are known in the industry as Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), or in layman’s terms, solar shingles.
Solar shingles come in a variety of power production capabilities and sizes and can mimic the look of more traditional asphalt shingles, which can appeal to homeowners who have to deal with homeowner association rules regarding solar panels. Installation of solar shingles also mimics traditional asphalt shingles as many can be applied directly to roof decking using standard deck screws.
Unlike the early versions of residential solar power, solar shingles can be used in a number of geographical locations and will produce power even if sunlight conditions are not optimal, such as in overcast conditions. Battery backups can store produced energy for use during evening hours, or in cases of grid outages if the home still relies on external power sources. On sunny days, many of these roofs can produce enough energy to send back to the public power grid.
While there are several companies that produce solar shingles, some have more widely recognizable brands than others, two of which are Tesla (the company owned by Elon Musk), and CertainTeed, one of the leading companies in building materials in North America.
The Tesla Solar Roof is a full-roof system which comes with a 25-year warranty. Per its specifications, it is Class A rated for fire, can withstand winds up to 166 MPH, and can handle hail up to 1.75” hail. Energy production can be monitored via a cell phone application, and the Tesla Powerwall battery is used for backup.
CertainTeed’s Apollo II Solar Shingles have a 250-pound per square foot durability rating, and are wind resistant, even in Florida’s hurricane zone. Installation is the same as standard shingles and can be mixed with regular asphalt shingles for customized power production.