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Domestic Solar Panel Resources, Guides and Plans
My name is Neville Pettersson and I have created the this site to help regular home owner’s like me make their own
Solar panel shingles, also known as solar shingles or photovoltaic shingles, are solar cells which are made to look like regular roof shingles or tiles. Solar panel shingles are more expensive and less efficient than regular solar panels for your home, but there is still a reasonable demand for them.
The main attraction for home owners to use solar panel shingles, over regular solar
roof panels, is that they are more aesthetically pleasing. Large domestic solar panel
installations can look unsightly on upmarket and designer houses, so a lot of these
people are looking at solar panel shingles as a viable option to reduce their carbon
footprint and save money on their power bill.
Solar panel shingles are of the polycrystalline type, as opposed to monocrystalline solar panels which are the most efficient solar panels you can get. There are currently only a few places in the states where you can get solar panel shingles (see below) and they come in a few different forms. They usually come aligned in a grid pattern and can be made to fit your current roofing system. You may even be able to get custom shingles made with a thin film solar coating to better match your existing roofing.
The three main solar panel shingle manufacturers in the U.S. are EcoTech, SunPower and Dow. Several other smaller outfits such as Uni-
Here's a quick run down of what the big players have to offer. The best option, in
our opinion, is EcoTech Solar because they are the only company who don't lock you
in to using one of their own franchises or installers to install your system. EcoTech
run a basic website and sell their shingles through the site. They give you instructions
on how to install them yourself which makes things a lot cheaper for you.
SunPower produce their own brand of SunTile shingles which are jet black and are only available through SunPower authorized installers. The SunPower shingles are more targeted at the high end market. The DOW POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle range is not yet available, but will hit the market some time near the end of 2011.
As mentioned earlier, solar panel shingles are the most expensive and least efficient form of domestic solar power. The cheapest kit set from EcoTech will set you back $3.990 for 1KW of output. This equates to $4 per watt.
Bear in mind that this is the cheapest option in terms of solar panel shingles. The
cost from DOW, SunPower and others will be far more expensive than this. To give
you some perspective, it's worth noting that regular solar panels cost around $1.00
Solar panel shingles still have some way to develop to become cost competitive with mainstream solar panel systems.
The best solar panels in terms of value for money and efficiency are still the medium sized monocrystalline panels. The best way to get cheap solar panels is still to buy a guide and install them yourself.
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