Green Roofing Solutions
Heating and cooling our houses is getting more expensive and accounts for 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. It's time to put the the sun and the 78 million house to work with solar photovoltaic roof modules. By doing so, you could reduce your electricity needs by 30-50 percent.
Flat panels are in
Most of us have seen solar collectors (alslo known as photovoltaic modules) on a few houses or commercial buildings. These are not the most attractive devices. They protrude from the roof and are noticeable.
Solar energy manufacturers have been working with the roofing shingle makers. Now solar roof panels like Sharp's ND-62RUI are another option that will do just as well as solar collectors and be far more attractive to you and your neighbors. These flat panel solar roof modules are rated at 62 watts; larger sizes are available.
The solar roof panels lie flat on the roof top and interact with the existing roof via a special mounting system. We think in the future, traditional roof shingles will be replaced by solar roof shingles. Just imagine what an impact 78 million solar paneled roofs would make on our national energy security, the environment and of course our wallets?
Today's solar system's have the potential to reduce your home's total power consumption by 33 to 50 percent. The electrical energy that you don't use can be sold back to the power company in most instances if there is a net metering program in effect.
A typical 2,500 to 3,000 square foot house can produce about 62 watts of power. This is roughly 300 volts and a maximum power current of 7 amperes. Of course this will vary with your location and how your house sits on the lot.
Sharp's 62-watt solar panel module is 59 inches x 15.6 inches x 1.3 inches. One panel will cover about five standard roof shingles. The solar panels have a 25 year warranty.
Other solar roof panels are available for new construction. These solar panels will actually replace the roofing materials.
What will it cost?
A standard 3-kilowatt hour system costs between $20,000 and $30,000 installed. That's before rebates and incentives that States and local communities are offering. We think that rebates and other incentives may can reduce your cost by 50 percent. Federal tax credits may also apply.
Many people are concerned with the payback period. This can range from as few as 5 years to as many as 30 years. Most experts, however, estimate a payback period of 10 to 12 years. Keep in mind that electricity prices are tied to natural gas prices. The large reserves of natural gas are owned by, you guessed it, the oil producing countries. In the absense of significant technological break throughs the cost of heating and cooling your house will only go up. Solar systems also add value to your home and may help sell it in the future.
What is net metering?
Net metering is another benefit of a solar energy system. Here's how it works. When you have a grid-tied photo voltaic system and it's producing more electricity than you are consuming, you can sell your extra electricity back to the utility. Your meter will spin backward.
In order to participate in net metering, you will need to have at least one special meter installed on your homeís exterior that spins backward and forward. The meter costs about $300, but your utility company may cover part or all of the cost.
Do your homework
Home owners will find many resources availalbe at the local level. A good place to start is to see what solar energy incentives your State offers. Also see what your county offers.
EcoStar is a company that makes shingles, shakes, and other products from recycled plastics. 80% of what goes into an EcoStar shingle is plastic that would otherwise have gone to clog up our landfills. Instead, they are giving these plastics new life by using them to create durable, great looking roof tiles.
EcoStar offers roofing tiles in nine different colors and five different styles - find the style that suits your home best! EcoStar warrants their shingles to over 50 years, nearly doubling the life of a traditional asphalt shingle, and can resist winds of up to 110 miles per hour.
MonierLife Tile has developed a roofing tile that actually converts smog into fertilizer. The tiles are made from a material that speeds up the decompostion of pollutants. Smog toxins collect on the roof, the tiles convert this into nitrogen which then stays on the roof until rain water washes it to the ground. As an added bonus, these tiles look like and are installed the same as regular roofing tiles.
Talk to your Lavitech project manager about Eco-Friendly Roofing solutions for your home.