Solar Shingles

What comes to mind when you think of a residential solar project? If you’re picturing bulky, unattractive solar panels perched on a roof, you should know that solar has come a long way—both in terms of looks and the ability to produce energy. Solar shingles (also called photovoltaic shingles) mimic the look of conventional roofing materials such as asphalt. Just like asphalt shingles, solar ones are durable and flexible, while being lightweight. They withstand rain, wind, and hail like other materials, with the added benefit of producing enough electricity to power your entire house. A solar roof system integrates with your existing conventional shingles, is virtually maintenance-free, and will increase your home’s value.

If you like the idea of a renewable energy solution with curb appeal, the team at James Taylor Construction (JTC) can evaluate your home to see if it’s suitable for solar shingles. We analyze pitch, orientation, the space available on your roof, and your energy needs. Ideally, there should be more than 250 square feet of east-to-west-facing roof surface. Due south is best, but a southeast-to-southwest orientation also works well. The roof surface should not be broken up by roof design features like ridges, valleys, chimneys, dormers, or roof vents. We make sure that your roof is correctly angled to receive sunlight and that you have a roofing substrate that can handle high temperatures. Appropriate air circulation is also critical. Because shade from trees and adjacent buildings can limit the ability of any solar product to produce energy, we analyze the impact of any sun blockers on your system.

The relatively small size of each solar shingle provides flexibility in system design. At JTC, we work with you to custom design each solar roofing system to your unique needs. The Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingles that our crews use are installed directly on the roof deck, where they lie flat. Unlike other solar products, Powerhouse Solar Shingles eliminate the need for on-roof wiring, so there are no cords or exposed wires to worry about. Powerhouse Shingles fit flush with a wide range of conventional shingles, including asphalt, cedar shake, concrete and clay tile, laminated architectural shingles, and slate (both polymer and traditional). They can produce electricity in a variety of weather conditions, not just on sunny days.

Dow Solar hand-selected JTC as a partner. As a Dow Solar trained, authorized installer, we can ensure the quality and integrity of your entire roof system. Dow’s Powerhouse line of shingles uses cutting-edge solar cells to transform sunlight into electricity. Powerhouse singles generate 12 watts per square foot. They’re designed for homes already connected to the power grid, so that they can send excess power back to the grid. A trained electrician completes the integration of the array into your home’s electrical system.

Homeowners often ask if the system is backed up with a battery. Because Powerhouse Solar Shingles are a grid-tied system, Dow Solar does not sell a battery backup or recommend using one. You receive credits for any surplus electricity through your utility company at its market rates, and your utility company acts as your storage system. Because the system requires daylight to generate electricity, your solar inverter is offline when the sun goes down. Your home will use electricity from your local utility company at night.

We look forward to helping you protect your home from the elements while allowing you to generate your own power. Please see more information (and a photo) on the “Dow Solar” page of our site.