Solar power has always had 2 obstacles standing in the way of it taking over as a main energy source for residential homes. Price and attractiveness have long caused homeowners to hold solar power at arm’s length, despite the benefits of renewable energy. Big, clunky solar panels that stick out like a sore thumb in suburban neighborhoods, and the excessive cost of equipment and installation of traditional solar panels have made most homeowners choose to sit this one out. However, that is all beginning to change.
In 1998, scientist and inventor Subhendu Guha, led the invention of the first flexible solar shingle that could be mounted directly to the roof and take the place of conventional asphalt shingles. In 2005, solar shingles or photovoltaic shingles were introduced to the commercial market; and later in 2009, an improved version was introduced to the residential market. The genius of these shingles is that they are designed to look almost identical to conventional asphalt roof shingles while functioning like a traditional solar panel. In most cases these shingles match conventional shingles in both size and flexibility and come in an array of colors to match nearly any roof. Finally, it is possible to have both renewable solar energy and a clean, visually pleasing appearance.
In addition, these new solar shingles cost less than traditional solar panels and require roughly a third of the labor to install, resulting in drastically reduced installation costs. Many homeowners choose to remain on the electric grid and therefore there is no need for expensive batteries for storing back-up power at night and when it is cloudy. Power is produced by the solar shingles, run through an inverter to change from dc to ac. If demand is greater than what is being produced by the solar shingles, the additional power is pulled from the traditional power grid. However, if the shingles are producing more power than is being used, the excess power can be fed back into the public grid and in many cases can even be sold back to the power company.
Solar inventions such as flexible solar shingles have made it possible for homeowners to power their homes with clean renewable solar energy, without the worry of offending the neighbors, or breaking the budget.