Solar roofing is becoming increasingly popular today, as the emphasis on both the generation and saving of energy, grows. Although most think of big, black solar panels when considering solar roofs, there are now a number of other options in solar roofing and thermal roofing systems available. Depending on the building, and preference of the different styles available, a roofing company experienced with solar roofs can now install panels, shingles, and other types of thermal roofing for efficient energy generation.

Standard Solar Panels

Solar panels installed on both flat and angled roofs are the most commonly recognized type of solar roofing, and the original type of solar technology for roofing. These panels are fairly easy to install, and can be rack mounted on flat roofs or on the sunny sides of pitched roofs; but they can also be expensive, and very heavy. Since the advent of solar roof panels, technology has advanced to offer numerous other types of solar and thermal roofing systems that provide the benefit of energy generation in different kinds of roofing installations.

Solar Metal Thermal Systems

Solar panels have been combined with metal roofing to create thermal roofing systems in two ways:  solar metal panels and solar metal shingles. Metal solar panel roofs are made using standing seam metal roofs with long solar panels that fit into the channels on the metal panels. This is wired together underneath the roof seams. Metal solar shingles are metal roofing shingles made with small solar PV cells. Each cell is wired into the next to complete the system’s electrical circuit. Of the two types, metal thermal solar roofing systems are more cost effective since they are much easier to install and maintain. They are also much easier to troubleshoot should there be a problem with the solar system.

Solar Asphalt Shingle Systems

Solar asphalt shingles are basically asphalt shingles with solar PV laminates applied over them, retaining the basic look of the asphalt shingles. While attractive and durable, these shingles, just like solar metal shingles, must be wired into the system individually. In this installation, holes are drilled into the decking so that the many solar cells can be wired together. Also, similar to metal solar shingles, installation and maintenance can be time consuming and challenging.

Solar Flat Roof Systems

Solar thermal systems for flat roofs involve the installation of strips of solar PV cells onto the roof of a building to catch the sun’s rays. While solar cells that lie flat get less exposure to sunlight than cells on an angle, this type of roofing system still provides many benefits. Since solar PV cells are embedded into PVC roofing membrane, this removes the danger of the company providing the roof installation from penetrating the roof, thereby protecting it from leaks that could be caused by these type of mistakes. This type of solar installation also drastically reduces the weight on the roof, in comparison to standard solar panels. They also tend to cost less than standard, rack mounted solar panels. A flat roof solar system is relatively easy to install and wire in comparison to metal and asphalt thermal roofs, further increasing cost effectiveness.

Solar and thermal roofs can be beneficial, and may reduce energy costs somewhat; however, it is important to understand that there are drawbacks to each of the systems available. These systems can be expensive, and installation may be challenging in certain cases; but the advantages may be well worth the expense and challenges. Above all, a person considering solar or thermal roof systems must ensure they work with an experienced solar roofing company to avoid expensive mistakes that can make the investment into solar much more costly than it needs to be!

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