Say good-bye to bulky rack-mounted panels.
The shingles are installed over new or existing roof sheathing. An electrician wires the units together and then connects them to your home’s electrical system. Installing solar onto homes has recently become more popular due to the ease of installation and the cost savings involved since at least 39 states allow you to sell unused watts back to the local utility for credit.
That’s what Sheri Gage discovered when she and her husband bought their Live Oak, California, home earlier this year. They opted for an energy-efficiency package, offered by the builder, that included a 2-kilowatt BIPV system integrated into the cement-tile roof (general guidelines call for 1 kilowatt, or 1,000 watts, per 1,000 square feet of house area). The system cost $15,000, which they rolled into their mortgage, adding about $100 to the monthly bill. Come tax time, they’ll receive a generous federal tax break thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gives homeowners a credit of 30 percent, or up to $2,000, toward the cost of a system. Gage has no worries about the new roof paying for itself: Her last electrical bill was a paltry $3.85. “I’am now a firm believer in the power of the sun,” she says.