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Bergen County Roofing: Article About How Solar Shingles Work

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The process of capturing the sun's light to produce energy hasn't changed much since the 1960s, but the products used to make the transformation have come a long way since then. Solar power is increasingly being incorporated into residential homes in order to help homeowners save money and lower fossil fuel consumption. The development of the solar shingle has increased the use of solar power in residential applications, as shingles are much more attractive and manageable than solar arrays. A certified, professional Bergen County roofing contractor can explain the benefits of using solar power in the home to interested homeowners.

While it may seem like magic, converting the sun's light into energy is an economical and effective process that can help homeowners save thousands of dollars in electrical costs over the lifetime of a solar roof. Solar shingles are the same size and shape as traditional asphalt shingles, but in addition to providing protection from the elements like a typical roof, they also generate power to supplement the electrical needs of the home.

Solar shingles are made up of a semiconductor, usually silicon, photovoltaic cells and the housing that contains and organizes those parts.

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When a particle of sunlight shines down on the semiconductor, an electron from the light particle, or photon, is drawn away from the atom and sent to a central locale within the shingle. The amassed electrons travel via wiring to an inverter box, where the direct current produced by the sun is transformed into the alternating current that is used to power the home. This process continually occurs whenever the sun is out, even the diffuse sunlight that is present when it is cloudy or raining.

Solar shingles are typically wired directly into a home's power grid so that the energy is constantly available, even at night when the sun isn't shining. Energy that isn't used is fed back into the area's power system, a process that is known as net metering. Net metering causes the electrical meter to run backwards, and the result is a credit from the power company when the amount of electricity produced exceeds the amount used.

It is possible to connect the solar shingles to a battery array in order to store it; however, there are not many benefits to doing so. Unlike the shingles, these costly batteries have to be replaced every five to 10 years, and the only benefit is access to power when the electricity goes out. The power from solar shingles wired into a home's grid is still present during a power outage, but because it presents a danger to the technicians working to correct outages, the inverter box shuts the power off until the full system can be restored.

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