Saturday, June 4, 2011

Solar Metal Roofing

Not All Solar Roofing Products/Systems are Made Equal...

Some are more equal than others!

An increasing number of environmentally conscious and high-energy-cost sensitive homeowners and business people consider installing solar roofing panels in order to harness solar energy and generate electricity for their homes, or commercial buildings. For years, the traditional approach was based on installing heavy crystalline solar panels on top of an asphalt shingle roof, an oil based roofing system with a relatively short lifespan.

This approach has worked for a while, however, roof penetrations, needed for the installation of solar panels mounting system made to an asphalt shingle roof, increased the likelihood of premature roof leaks down the road, and shortened the already-too-short lifespan of the asphalt shingle roof.

With the latest technological advancements, innovations, and commercially viable implementation of thin-film solar roofing technology, we can now benefit from solar roofing products that offer revolutionary simplicity. Thin-film solar panels are light-weight, easy to install and can last a long time, requiring no penetrations to your roof.

Standing Seam Roof with Solar Panels

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. One of the latest technological innovations in solar metal roofing is the integration of solar roofing panel laminates with standing seam metal roofing panels through the use of a peel and stick method.

Mess-free, light-weight and long lasting, this energy efficient roofing solution pays for itself.

Pros and Cons of Crystalline Solar Roofing System coupled with an Asphalt Shingle Roof

Before we can talk about all the benefits of thin-film photovoltaic solar panels, lets examine the cons of using the traditional combination of bulky solar roofing panels installed on an asphalt shingle roof.

Here is Why you should not install solar panels on an asphalt shingle roof...

The main problem associated with general/conventional PV solar roofing systems that you can often see on some homes and buildings around the country, is the fact that an asphalt shingle roof is likely to fail much sooner than the solar panels will.

Picture a scenario in which a homeowner spends a large amount of money to install a new crystalline solar panels system on his/her existing asphalt shingle roof. It is likely that in several years the roof will fail, due to roof leaks caused in part by roof penetrations made during the solar system installation.

When such a situation occurs, homeowners will be faced not only with earlier than expected re-roofing expenses, but also with having to pay for a complete removal of solar panels, and for their eventual re-installation.

What further complicates this situation, is that re-roofing, and solar panel dismantling and reinstalling of solar panels MUST be coordinated and simultaneously performed by both the roofer and the solar integrator.

The roofer, only paid for the installation of a new roof, will 99% of the time make solar panel dismantling and re-installation errors that could cause irreparable damage to solar panels.

Bear in mind that roofing warranty will most of the time not cover damages to the solar equipment, let alone all the possible short-circuit of the solar wiring situations.

The additional solar panel dismantling and re-installation cost associated with these procedures van be just as high as the expected cost of a new roof itself!

If you think about it, electricians, unlike roofers, have to be licensed. An apprentice electrician needs at-least 4 years of schooling/work experience. This is like an undergraduate degree. Master electrician needs another 4 years. Therefore, electricians usually charge $75-100 per man-hour. You will need at least two electricians for this job, which will take a whole day to remove the panels, and another full day to put them back on.

The math is simple: 2 guys * $75/h * 8 hrs. * 2 days = $2400.00, plus any possible parts and supplies that may be required.

Let’s assume it costs $2500.00 to remove and re-install crystalline solar panels on your roof. In some parts of the country, this is how much an average 1200 sq. ft. a new cape house roof may cost for labor and materials.
Thin-Film Solar Roofing Panels on a Metal Roof vs. Crystalline Solar Panels on an Asphalt Shingle Roof.

What are the Thin-Film Solar Roofing Panels?

Thin film solar roofing panels are light-weight and easy to install. They are made to fit standard standing seam metal roofing panels. Thin-film PV solar panels do not require any penetrations to the roof, and can be easily attached to standing seam panels using a revolutionary peel and stick method.

Thin-Film PV Solar Panels vs. Crystalline Solar Panels

Crystalline solar panels can generate twice the amount of electricity of the thin-film solar panels. However, crystalline panels are bulkier, and use a special mounting system, which requires roof penetrations. The only exception is a standing seam metal roof. You can attach a solar panel holding brackets to the raised seams of the metal roof.

Thin-Film PV solar panels are designed to integrate seamlessly with a standing seam metal roof. They have a very low profile, which can be a significant architectural factor. They can generate electricity even on cloudy days, in the absence of a direct sunlight.

Why combine a Metal Roof with thin-film PV solar panels?

Unlike the ubiquitous asphalt shingle roofs, modern metal roofing systems are made to last and can be considered permanent. They are manufactured using a significant proportion of recycled metal content, and are fully recyclable themselves, hence qualifying as sustainable green building materials.

When Metal meets Solar, it is a true Match

When a metal roof is installed by a trained professional, it will last for many decades, and thus can be a permanent platform for a solar roofing system be it crystalline or a thin film PV solar.

Metal roofs combined with renewable energy technologies can create a perfect combination of light-weight, long-lasting and affordable solution for Solar Electric and Solar Hot Water systems.

Solar electric, hot water and heating

There are numerous benefits to having a metal roof combined with Solar PV panels, and other renewable energy technologies. Longevity, durability, and cost savings that add up over time are just to name a few.

When comparing shingles vs. metal roofing you should also consider that a metal roof will help save our landfills from getting more old roofing shingles, petroleum based products, being dumped there every time an old asphalt shingle roof gets replaced.

Metal roofing provides a permanent and energy efficient roofing solution that can generate electricity when a metal roof is integrated with solar roofing panels, and various other solar technologies such as solar hot water systems.

Latest Developments in Solar Roofing

As solar metal roofing solutions are plowing ahead, conventional roofing manufacturers are actively pursing the solar roofing market. Their latest product, a solar shingles roofing system, uses thin-film solar panel technology in combination with conventional asphalt shingles. However, the proponents of green and environmentally friendly building technologies are likely to be disappointed, because the asphalt shingle underneath the solar panel contains petroleum, and is not going to last as long as the metal alternative.