After receiving our last utility bill, I was searching to see what would be a cost effective improvement to our home. I already know that we need new windows but, look what I found! Solar Roof Shingles!! I have been waiting for so long for those ugly, bulky solar panels to be replaced with something a homeowner could actually use. Since our home is in the sunlight ALL DAY LONG, this is PERFECT!! The cost is a bit high but with the tax credits and rebates, it cost just as much as getting a new roof (in most instances).
Solar roof shingles qualify for federal tax credits through the Energy Star program. To qualify for the tax credit, the photovoltaic systems must provide electricity for the residence and must meet applicable fire and electrical code requirements; in addition, they must be installed and ready to use by December 31, 2016. The tax credits include 30% of the cost. There are also numerous state tax credits, so make sure to check with your local government to see if your state offers any additional credits.
Electricity is generated when the sun strikes a semiconductor layer, typically made of crystalline silicon, laminated to the shingle's surface, which in turn creates electricity for your home. The shingles are installed over new or existing roof sheathing, then an electrician (or trained roofer) has to wire the units together and tie them in to your home's electrical system. Solar roof shingles are more effective in climates where there is sun most of the year.
As with most new technologies, solar roof shingles are very expensive. Typically, costs run from $10,000-$14,000. Even with the tax credits, that is a lot of money. But an excellent perk to keep in mind is that some utility companies will permit you to sell unused watts back. In other words, if you generate more electricity than you actually need (this can happen on really sunny days), then you can earn money back - and in some cases get your utility bill down to just a few dollars. Another factor worth thinking about when considering the price is how much your local company charges for electricity. Some areas may be cheaper than others, and if you are in one of these cheaper areas and also have a lot of sun, then you are an excellent candidate for solar roof shingles!
Benefits of Solar Shingles
- Attractive style
- Fully integrated shingle roof
- Lower electric bill
- Free electricity
- Pollution-free power
- Increased home value
- Protects the environment
- Exceptionally durable
- Great investment
- Significant state cash rebates available
- Federal tax incentives available
To be honest, right at this moment solar shingles might still seem expensive to some, but as any new technology develops its products become cheaper with time. However it does look as though the cost will be considerably lower than installing a comparable set of conventional solar panels. In one recent example, the entire cost of a home solar shingle installation was approximately $16,000, with a $12,000 tax rebate. This brought the entire cost to only $4000. That's considerably lower than the usual cost involved in installing a home solar power system - but one has to keep in mind as well that the cost of tiling or shingling a roof is covered at the same time. These are, after all, shingles as well as solar panels.
Clean energy cash incentives and tax rebates are available at a federal level, and most states also have a clean energy or sustainable energy source rebate program. This, combined with energy savings, does make them affordable, and will in most cases pay for itself over time.
What a GREAT idea for all of us!!!