Roofing gone green…solar shingles

Solar shingles are originally a development from the Dow Company (originally Dow Chemical Company) in 2005 although since then other companies have come out with versions of the same idea. But any way you consider solar shingles, they’re a great idea and one which has truly redefined the concept of ‘the roof’. “Solar shingles” is the name most commonly used for these devices but they are also referred to as ‘thin film cells’ or ‘building integrated photovoltaics’ (BIPV’s). They are not to be confused with “solar panels”. Solar panels are an earlier development even though they also can be and still are used ‘on the roof’. In fact, in some instances solar panels might be preferable to solar shingles. It depends on several factors one of which is the angle of the roof to the sun. Solar panels can be angled whereas solar shingles obviously cannot. Continue reading →

The solar power fad: What is solar power?

The world has gone mad for solar power and panels, with governments throwing money at solar schemes left, right and center while celebrities espouse the qualities of this seemingly magical green energy source. Although you’re probably sharp enough to realize that solar power must mean that the sun is involved in the power generating process, you might be keen to learn more about this increasingly popular energy source.

Solar power systems use a series of photovoltaic (PV) cells contained within a flat, shiny panel. The cells are made up of two charged layers, in balance, wrapped inside a semi-conductive material like silicon. When sunlight hits the cells, the balanced charged layers are knocked out of sync: this causes electrons to move between the layers, generating an electrical current and voila – solar power is created. Continue reading →