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How do Solar Roofs Work?

A simple guide to building-integrated solar roofs

While traditional solar panels have been on the market for several decades, solar roofs represent a modern upgrade in aesthetics, durability, and efficiency. Like conventional solar panels, solar shingles use sunlight to generate clean power through an atomic interaction. Photovoltaic—or PV—cells are the building blocks of both solar panels and solar shingles. PV cells are generally made of a double-layered semiconductor material, often monocrystalline silicon, topped with either glass or metal. To increase energy production, PV cells are interconnected to form a module, or solar panel, with multiple panels forming a solar array.

Solar Roof Infographic

As photons from the sun hit the solar cells, some are reflected back or pass through the cell, while others are absorbed. Both layers of the semiconductor wafer are “doped” with specific elements to give them either a positive or negative charge. This difference in charge between the layers creates an electric field and forces negatively charged electrons to move through wire ribbons forming a circuit through the PV cell.

Many solar roofing systems are also compatible with a battery storage system. The addition of battery storage allows the consumer to reserve any electricity that the home or building produces but does not consume. This stored solar energy is available anytime, whether that is at night, during periods of higher than normal consumption, or during a power outage. Any electricity generated in excess of the battery’s storage capacity can be fed back into the grid in accordance with local net metering guidelines, usually for a credit.

SunStyle’s solar roof system uses the same simple PV process to bring distributed solar power to homes, commercial buildings, and other properties. For optimal productivity, SunStyle has miniaturized this technology, installing solar shingles engineered on a smaller scale than traditional panels. SunStyle tiles are built with PERC, or “passivated emitter and rear contact” silicon cells. This is the most advanced technology on the market, bending the sun’s light for maximum retention and creating a shingle that is 5% more efficient than a panel made with traditional monocrystalline silicon. For unparalleled durability, 24 solar cells are sandwiched between two sheets of 3.2mm glass. High-transmission tempered solar glass protects against efficiency-reducing microfractures from impact—like a hail storm—or torsional stress from powerful wind gusts. These double-layered glass shingles are interlocked for weatherproofing strong enough to withstand windblown rain and snow.

Like traditional rooftop solar arrays built only on sun-facing, productive roof surfaces, active SunStyle solar shingles are strategically placed for maximum power generation with an overlapping design to ensure continuous solar cell coverage. Unlike fixed panels, SunStyle solar roof tiles blend seamlessly into inactive tiles covering the entirety of your roof. Edges and corners are covered, too, ensuring a beautiful, uniform finish and unmatched structural integrity.

For more information about SunStyle’s solar roof, visit sunstyle.com 

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