Solar power? Seattle’s cloudy days may make this sound like an unlikely option, but there are plenty of reasons to consider solar power for your roof. The Northwest gets most of its power from hydroelectric sources, which are plentiful in the fall, winter and spring. But our region’s electric demand can outstrip hydro supplies in the summer months, requiring us to supplement the electricity supply with non-renewable and polluting sources such as natural gas and coal. By installing a solar electric, also known as photovoltaic(PV) array on your home, you can reduce demand for utility-supplied power. Puget Sound Energy electricity customers are eligible for a $525/kW hour rebate on the installation of photovoltaic systems. Call the PSE Energy Advisor Hotline 1-800- 562-1482 to learn about net-metering and PV rebates.
Cost is usually the main deterrent to installing a PV system. With current electricity prices, payback is long–usually 20+ years. Rolling the cost of a system into your mortgage with a home improvement loan is one popular option. By selecting a system that doubles as roofing material, you may also reduce the overall system cost, if timed with a roof replacement. Current products include solar shingles similar in appearance to slate or tiles, as well as thin, flexible membranes called Soalr-Laminates made by U ni-Solar, designed to fit in the pan section of standing-seam metal roofing.
UNI-SOLAR® photovoltaic laminates (PVL) are flexible and lightweight laminates made exceptionally durable by encapsulation in UV stabilized polymers. The polymer encapsulation is partially constructed of durable ETFE, (example, Tefzel®) a high-light-transmissive polymer.
Solar hot watersystems provide another eco-friendly option for your home, and can be installed together with PV. Designs vary, but the principle remains the same: systems use the sun to heat water for home use. Designs have advanced in recent years; they now resemble solar electric panels and can be unobtrusively placed on various roof styles. Solar hot water systems provide a much quicker payback than PV–often less than 10 years-helping to heat water for home use even on cloudy days.
We also carry Solatube products that can be integrated into any roofing system.
Ask an Element Smart Roofing consultant about how your roof would qualify and cost for both a re-roof or new roofproject.
If you’re not willing or able to commit to solar with your upcoming roof replacement, you can still support the development of solar power by signing up for Puget Sound Energy’s Green Powerplan. Click here for more information.
Additional solar resources include: