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A solar shingle or photovoltaic solar shingle is a solar panel whose configuration is similar to that of a roof shingle, which is combined with an asphalt type roof shingle. The solar shingles integrate into a concrete, slate roof or shake roof surface. These look similar to an asphalt shingle roof but also have an additional feature of converting the solar energy into electrical energy for the household utilities.

Also Read: Asphalt Shingles – Types and Features

The basic features and types of solar shingles are briefly explained in this article.

Features of Solar Shingles

The solar shingles were first produced in 2005. It is an emerging and growing industry that needs more improvement.

solar shingles
Fig.1. Solar Roof Shingles; Image Courtesy: Russell Southwick

The materials that are used to make solar shingles are those similar to ones used for making solar panels. The main difference between the solar shingles and the solar panels are that the former serves the dual function of:

  • Producing Electricity from Solar Energy
  • Act as shingles and serves the purpose of roofing material

The solar shingles have the ability to produce 100 percent power for household consumption. This feature is dependent on the following factors:

  • The demand for the building
  • The amount of sunlight received by the solar shingles
  • The current utility rate of the building 

Types of Solar Shingles

The two main types of solar shingles that are used for home solar power are:

  1. Silicon Solar Shingles
  2. Copper – Indium – Gallium – Selenide (CIGS) Solar Shingles

1. Silicon Solar Shingles

These are very much similar to the solar panels with rigid and a frame form. These are thin and have size proportional to the conventional roofing material.

2. CIGS Solar Shingles

This type of shingles employs new film technology to produce home solar power. These shingles are made more flexible and lightweight so that it blends more into the existing or the new roof.

Installation of Solar Shingles

The size of solar shingles is similar to that of roof shingles. Hence, compared to the installation of solar panels, the solar shingles are labor intensive. It takes a long time to cover a particular area with solar shingles. The solar shingles are placed one after the other. Each solar shingle element is wired into the building.

The time consumed for the installation of solar shingles is dependent on the:

  • Roof Area
  • Number of Labours employed in the installation crew
  • New roofing or existing roofing condition

Once the solar shingles are installed completely over the roof space, the installer applies a permit under the roof. This is the permit to connect the system to the electric grid.

Disadvantages of Solar Shingles

The main disadvantages of solar shingles are:

  1. The construction of solar shingles is subject to the orientation of the building.
  2. A roof not constructed to receive maximum solar energy can reduce the electricity produced.
  3. Increasing the solar shingles for getting more solar energy and efficiency limits the aesthetic feature of the roof.

Also Read: Top 10 Shingles for Roof Construction

Neenu Arjun

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