Solar shingles have a similar appearance to traditional roofing materials, allowing them to blend in with the overall design of a home. Solar shingles are currently more expensive than conventional panels, but this may change as technology advances.
Fremont, CA: Solar roofing is now more affordable than it has ever been. Since 2014, the average cost of solar cells has nearly halved, making them a more affordable choice for a wider range of people. As the popularity of solar roofing grows, new technological trends emerge.
The growth of solar shingles is perhaps the most common growing trend in solar roofing. Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology is a type of infrastructure that acts both as a structural well as a solar-gathering purpose. Instead of external panels, these shingles allow the roof to harness solar energy.
Solar shingles have a similar appearance to traditional roofing materials, allowing them to blend in with the overall design of a home. Solar shingles are currently more expensive than conventional panels, but this may change as technology advances. Solar shingle adoption will likely rise as prices drop due to new technology, just as solar power adoption did.
Solar skins transform solar panels into mini billboards that can display custom patterns or images.
This provides clear opportunities for advertisers, but it can also appeal to customers. Solar skins allow homeowners to install solar panels without dramatically changing their home's appearance.
Solar skins are nothing more than light-transmitting thin layers of printable material. These skins allow consumers to mix their solar panels into their roofs without sacrificing efficiency. Solar roofing will need to find a way to bridge the gap between aesthetics and functionality if it is to gain traction in a larger market.
Another example of BIPV technology is glazing, which includes solar cells that are so thin that they are semi-transparent. While it can be used in the same way as solar skins, it can also be used to make photovoltaic windows. In the case of solar roofing, this would imply skylights that let light in a while collecting solar energy.
This innovation broadens the scope of solar roofing, allowing homeowners to use energy for a wider range of purposes. Glazing has the disadvantage of being less effective as a power source than other forms of solar collection. However, because electricity costs increase by 5% each year, any reduction in energy dependence is beneficial.