You should know about BIPV. BIPV stands for Building-Integrated Photovoltaics. Though this seems like a very foreign term to most of us, what the basics of it mean is that conventional building materials are replaced by using photovoltaic materials for skylights, facades, and roofs. These materials are used instead and have become ancillary or even principal sources of electricity. The cost of solar shingles can be quite expensive but installed properly can save you up to 60% on your electric bills. That is something lots of families can live with.
One BIPV product picking up popularity is the solar shingle. Because of their design, Solar shingles are typically being focused on by residential customers and homebuilders, though they are also being used in skyscrapers and office parks. Dow Solar, a maker of the Powerhouse Solar Shingle, has claimed that the demand for solar shingles has risen dramatically over the last few years. The Powerhouse shingles are made of thin-film solar cells and are certified 150-mph wind resistant, 1.25” hail resistant, and are not affected by heavy rain.
Aside from being easy on the eyes, solar panels also serve the purpose of powering homes and buildings. Many of the solar shingle brands made today have been tested and optimized for rainy, cold, windy weather. When solar shingles first arrived on the scene they were only compatible with asphalt shingles but recent advances in technology they can be integrated with wood shakes, concrete, Spanish tile, and slate shingles.
Another added benefit is that solar shingles don’t use traditional rack mounts, thus are free from configuring balance-of-system technologies into the installation. CertainTeed’s polymeric frame allows the shingle to seamlessly integrate with the roof and provides hassle-free roof replacement. Although solar shingles are great add-ons for existing homes, the optimal time to install them is during construction of new homes. It’s more cost-effective this way.
A placement of 350 shingles has the ability to lower a homeowner’s energy costs by 40 to 60%, but still costs anywhere from $15K to $18K to install. However, with local, state, and federal incentives, solar shingle prices will fall over the next few years and possibly become the standard in the roofing industry.
So the question remains: is it worth it? If you’re going to drop 15-grand on roofing you want to know your investment will pay off. So let’s do some math. The average power bill in Georgia is $164 a month. That’s $1,968 a year. If you average a savings of 55%, that’s over $1000 a year in energy savings. Conventional logic would lead you to believe it would take 15 or so years to “pay it off.” However, this is before any government incentive or subsidy you’d receive for upgrading to solar shingles. Sites like this one can give you some insight to Georgia, or any other state’s incentive programs. In Georgia, there are some that have incentives up to $4,500. This is before the 30% federal tax credit!
It’s all about the way you look at it. You can’t just view it as a big chunk of money until you unpack and extrapolate it so you see what’s actually happening.