The perfect roof?
Several companies are working on solar roofs that imitate traditional roof esthetics, e.g. Tesla’s solar shingles, RGS Powerhouse, CertainTeed’s Apollo II, etc. It occurred to me that we could flip it. Instead of imitating shingles, why not make the entire roof out of standard solar panels?
I mean a combination of real PV panels and fake ones. We’d typically need some fake ones because 1) it would cost a fortune to cover an entire roof in real panels (and to procure the mega inverter you’d need for the system), and 2) you only need about 720 sq ft to have a 10 kW system, so there’s not much motivation to spend more.
A key motivation here is cost savings compared to an imitation roof. The imitation roofs, at least Tesla’s, cost massively more than normal solar panels.
Another motivation is that this would look much better than a typical patchy solar install. If you took one of the more attractive PV panels available, I think it would look great. (SunPower and First Solar panels strike me as fairly attractive.) Call it solar chic. What do you think?
Solar panels are usually built like tanks. They’re surprisingly tough and robust, stand up to hail and so forth. Why not make them your roofing material instead of propping them up over a traditional roof?
The imitation roofs do this – the solar shingles replace traditional shingles. They don’t fit them on top of a traditional roof – they are the roof.
So I think the same could be done with traditional PV panels, and it would greatly help with the esthetic. The way they’re installed now typically leaves a roof with an ugly, patchy, wounded look. Do you think PV panels are tough enough? Am I overestimating their toughness?
Eager for your thoughts…
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