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Solar-Integrated Roof: How Does It Work?

integrated solar roof

Harnessing solar power to provide electricity started in the 1950s and gained momentum in the 1970s, however, it hasn’t been affordable and attainable for the masses until the last decade or so. Now you see giant solar panels scattered on rooftops in almost every neighborhood. They’re effective and cost-saving, but far from having great curb appeal. That’s where new solar technology, including integrated solar roof shingles, comes into play. They’re just as powerful and efficient as their giant panel predecessors, but much more aesthetically pleasing. And if they seem insanely complex and challenging, we’ve got you covered. We have an easy guide to help you understand how an integrated solar roof works.


How Does Solar Energy Convert to Useful Power?


We can harness solar energy, or power from the sun, to generate electricity and use it in our homes and businesses. The solar roof shingles in an integrated roof system contain photovoltaic cells made up of semiconductor materials that absorb the solar energy and transfer it to electrons creating electrical charges. Those electrical charges respond to an electrical field that produces an electric current. For that current to be useable in your home’s electrical system, it must convert from DC or Direct Current to AC or Alternate Current. A device called a solar inverter does the job. The inverter then sends the electricity to your electric panel just like the utility company sends it to your home through the power grid. The panel remains connected to the grid in case you need additional electricity, but nothing in the way your home uses electricity changes with the installation of solar shingles.


How Do Solar Shingles Connect to My Roof?


Solar shingle installation is significantly easier and less damaging than solar panel installation, which uses a rack system that requires drilling through the roof to hold the panels in place. Not only does that damage the roof, but it also increases the potential for leaks and water damage. Installation for solar shingles, on the other hand, is directly on your existing roof using a method called direct-to-deck. It is the best way to protect your roof without compromising waterproofing. The solar shingles replace the asphalt or other types of shingles on a portion of your roof, integrating into those materials. Installation happens during roof replacement, so you’re starting from scratch with a new roof and huge energy savings.


Are Solar Shingles Durable?


Solar shingles have the same water-shedding capabilities as other types of roofs. They withstand extreme weather, including having a class-3 hail rating, the ability to withstand hurricane-force winds, and are strong enough for regular old ice, snow, and rain. Traditional asphalt shingles last up to 20 years, but solar shingles have a life expectancy closer to 25-30 years.


What are Some Additional Benefits of Solar Shingles?


In addition to reducing your dependence on public electricity, solar power significantly cuts your energy costs and carbon footprint. It’s good for your budget and good for the planet.


Integrated Solar Roof Shingle FAQs


There are many frequently asked questions regarding the new solar technology in solar shingles. We’ve got the answers you need.


Q: Do solar shingles require maintenance?

A: No! Solar shingles are as durable, if not more durable, than many traditional roof materials and don’t require maintenance. However, annual inspections or inspections after extreme weather are a good idea, just like with a regular roof.


Q: Can you add batteries for backup energy storage?

A: Yes! You can add additional energy storage systems and batteries with solar shingles. Batteries must be AC-coupled to work in conjunction with the inverter. A reliable energy storage contractor can guide you in selecting and installing a storage system.


Q: Do solar shingles work on any roof?

A: For best results, solar shingles need a roof with a lot of southern exposure and reasonable pitch to capture the most energy from the sun.


Q: Do the shingles integrate with any roofing material?

A: Solar shingles only work when integrated with specific roofing products. You can check with your local GAF-certified roofing company for more details on the types of roofing materials required.


Q: Do GAF shingles come with a warranty?

A: Yes! When installed by a certified roofing company, GAF shingles have an amazing warranty to ensure the following coverage:


  • 25 years against manufacturing defects leading to leaks
  • 15 years against wind damage from winds up to 130 mph
  • 25 years for solar output


If you’re searching for a better way to power your home that is eco-friendly, cost-effective, and clean, look no further than GAF solar roof shingles. They’re smaller than traditional solar panels, are less likely to cause roof damage resulting in leaks, are durable and long-lasting, and integrate into traditional roof shingles, making for a clean look and great curb appeal. With so many benefits, there’s no reason not to call your preferred local GAF-certified roofing company to learn more. Contact Premiere Roofing today for a free estimate and to find out if solar roof shingles are the right fit for your home.

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“Great group to deal with. I have never seen a crew work as hard as these guys. They completed a 4000sqrft house ANd a lake gazedo roof in one day. the clean up was even more impressive. When they were done, you couldn't tell they where ever there. Good People to work with!”
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