Solar Power Hits the Roof

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suntile_featureashx.jpgSolar panel manufacturers are overcoming objections by homeowners who are concerned about the way the power-generating panels look, by making them virtually disappear into roofing materials.

Typical solar panels are 6 inches thick and noticeably sit atop brackets mounted onto a roof. The latest thin-cell technology has allowed the panels to be seamlessly integrated into both flat roofs and curved, Spanish-style roof tiles. Costs of installation is less than the rack-mounted varieties, although currently thin-cell panels are not quite as efficient in generating power.

As energy prices skyrocket and concern for the environment increases, the demand for clean, renewable power is growing. It also helps that government subsidies are now available to homeowners to offset some of the hefty price tag. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, the number of solar installations in the United States rose 45 percent to 150 megawatts in 2007.

Reuters reports, “In the United States, a typical market price for retro-fit add-on systems is about $8 per watt, split roughly equally between hardware and installation. This translates into about $40,000 for a 5 kilowatt system.”

Tag(s): Energy, Going Green, Green Building

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