View Full Version : Any opinions on photovoltaic shingles?
07-27-2009, 02:19 PM
We'll be replacing our roof within a year or two - it's 13+ years old and an inspection shows the shingles are showing definite wear and tear.
Though I expect we'll just go with regular old shingles, there's a tiny part of us that wants to consider the photovoltaic sort. We have an excellent southern exposure on the front of the house (where regular solar panels would be awful-looking) and it'd be nearly ideal to cover the roof with the photovoltaics when we do the replacement.
I suspect the cost, reliability etc. will be prohibitive, but it can't hurt to ask around.
07-28-2009, 07:22 AM
Where do you live? And more importantly, what kinds of credits, tax breaks, etc. can you get from installing photovoltaics?
It's been a while since I've checked prices, but it used to be that while solar power in general has been coming down fairly dramatically in price, in the long run it was still cheaper to use your regular power company. Photovoltaic shingles and other forms of solar energy have continued to drop in price, but as far as I am aware, they still don't beat the power company yet.
That said, in some areas you can get incentives from your local government/state/whatever that make it close to break even in the long term, and may even tip the scales slightly in the favor of solar.
With any form of solar power you end up with large up front costs and savings in the long term. A lot of people balk at the up front costs though, so some places offer payment plans that end up being fairly attractive. It's worth checking into.
I personally don't think the photovoltaic cells last quite as long as they advertise, but you can total up the cost of your system and how long it's expected to remain functional, and total up what you would expect to pay the power company over the same period of time if you want to do a comparison.
07-28-2009, 08:10 AM
We're in Virginia, and aside from the Federal credit (something like 30% of the cost), and supposedly the power company will buy any excess we generate, there are no local incentives. A friend of mine in NJ took advantage of a program where the state paid something like 60% of the cost of her installation - I'm quite jealous!
I do know (from this same friend) that there's also something called a Solar Renewable Energy Credit - I don't know how that works, but she gets a check for a few hundred dollars a year.
The cost, in the short-term, is not going to be to our benefit.
My thinking is that longer-term, however, the scales may tip the other way.
I'm concerned with the up-front cost obviously, but also the expected lifespan of whatever we choose (what happens when the roof needs to be replaced? do the panels need to be swapped out etc.) and maintenance required.
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