Solar Metal Roofing – How to Make your Metal Roof work for you!

In this solar roofing guide you will learn about the pros and cons of metal roofing with laminated thin-film PV panels such as the ones manufactured by Uni-Solar Ovonics, or simply UniSolar, which is an Energy Conversion Devices company/brand.

UniSolar thin-film solar panels have been specifically designed to be installed with a standing seam metal roof and have a nominal width of 15.5 inches, which fits perfectly onto a 16″ standing seam panel. With a special butyl adhesive backing, the installation of thin-film solar panels is very simple and fast.

Watch how the the solar metal roof is installed and how free electricity is produced right away:

Benefits of Solar Metal Roofing and Roof-Integrated Solar Systems

Installing a solar metal roof is the most cost effective way to get a lifetime roof together with a solar PV system. The savings come from the fact that the installation of a solar power system is greatly simplified, because there is no need to install the racking system, which is needed to hold your conventional solar panels. This saves you about $1 (one dollar) per watt DC of solar system, and eliminates an additional $0.50 per watt for the installation of the racking system and solar panels. With thin-film solar PV laminates, the installation is reduced to cleaning the inside of the metal roof panels, applying and rolling in the PV laminate and installing the metal roofing panels.


Later, when all the standing seam metal roofing panels have been installed, the solar integrator connects the mom and pop contacts on each solar panel to form one, two or more strings of solar panels, and runs the wiring down to the inverter, which then converts the DC power from solar panels into AC power at 240 volts and feeds the electricity into your home’s power network. All excess electricity is sent into the grid (for grid-tied solar systems), or to your storage batteries (for off-grid systems).

Installation of Solar Metal Roofing

Why use a Roof-Integrated Solar System vs. Conventional Solar Panels?

The main problem associated with general solar PV systems that you can now see on many homes around the country, is the fact that an asphalt shingles roof will fail much sooner than the PV solar panels. When that happens, those homeowners will be faced not only with the re-roofing expense, but also with complete removal re-installation of the solar array. This MUST be performed by both the roofer and the solar integrator, as the roofer alone will 99% of the time screw things up. And bear in mind that a roofing warranty will usually not cover damages to the solar equipment, let alone all the possible short-circuit type situations.

Solar Metal Roof Installation Video:


The additional cost associated with these procedures should be at-least the same as the cost of the new roof itself. Think about it: Electricians unlike roofers have to be licensed. An apprentice electrician needs at-least 4 years of schooling/work experience. This is like an undergraduate degree. A master electrician needs another 4 years. Therefore, electricians usually charge $75-100 per man-hour. You’ll need at least two electricians for this job, which will take a whole day to remove the panels and another day to put them back, if not more.

The math is simple: 2 guys * $75/h * 8 hrs. * 2 days = $2400 plus any possible parts and supplies that may be required. So let’s say it costs you $2500 extra. In some parts of the country that is how much an average 1200 sq. ft. cape house roof will cost to install (materials included).

Thin Film Solar Panel Installation Video:



Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles

Unlike the very “popular” asphalt shingles, metal roofs are pretty much permanent. They are for the most part manufactured from recycled metals, and when installed by a trained professional, they will not leak for decades. More Info: http://www.newenglandmetalroof.com

Metal roofs combined with Renewable Energy technologies can create an ideal, long lasting and affordable solution for residential Solar Electric and Solar Hot Water needs.

Solar electric, hot water and heating

There are other numerous benefits to having a metal roof combined with Solar PV and other renewable energy technologies. When looking at a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles, also consider that a metal roof will save our landfills from getting more shingles dumped there in 10 years or so. With metal, you get a beautiful, permanent roofing solution that you can combined with a solar system, and if you choose to add a Geothermal system, you can design a 100% energy-free home!


Why the Green Revolution Cannot Solve Our Environmental Crisis

Every day proponents of green living are working hard to educate the public about the environmental impact of traditional products, to raise awareness about polluting production practices, to demand more eco-friendly alternatives to consumer goods, etc. And guess what? The collective need for greener products and practices has sparked a marvelous transformation: today it is possible to purchase an eco-friendly alternative to an ever expanding variety of products across all industries: energy efficient cars, organic food, eco-friendly fashion, solar energy, green beauty products, eco-friendly toys and diapers, green construction and building materials, etc. We even have eco-friendly sex toys! This list is almost endless and new products come on the market every day.

Consumerism

What is truly remarkable and admirable about this Green Revolution, is that in the true spirit of revolution it became possible and continues to make an impact because “we the people” collectively became outraged, demanded change and we got it! Many brands and companies that we love revised their production standards, created new “green” products, and a multitude of new environmentally responsible companies were born, winning our hearts, minds and access to our wallets. According to Newsweek’s Green Companies of 2012 Report, some of these companies are: the Home Depot, Sony, Samsung, Volkswagen, Walt Disney, Costco, Whole Foods, and many more.
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Scrap Metal & Recycling Old Cars in an Eco-friendly Way

If you are an environmentally conscious consumer, you probably work hard to recycle many items that you use every day, such as paper, cans, plastic, glass bottles, etc. But did you know that you can also recycle many metal objects such as metal lamps, equipment, home appliances, metal tools, metal hangers, foil, aluminum cans and even your old car? In fact, car recycling is a quickly growing segment of the recycling industry, and you can even get paid for recycling your old car, rather than having it take up space in your back yard, or waste away at a junk yard.

scrap-metal

By recycling metal you are actively helping to lower energy waste, to reduce green house gas emissions, and to conserve precious natural resources needed to produce new metal products. Today, in the US alone, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) there are “150 million metric tons of scrap materials recycled annually including: 81.6 million tons of iron and steel, 5 million tons of aluminum, 1.8 million tons of copper and 2 million tons of stainless steel”, and you can help these statistics grow by choosing to recycle your own old metal products.

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Benefits of Solar Power for Homes

Continually rising petrol and fuel prices throughout the UK, US and worldwide, and the consequentially-soaring household utility costs make solar energy an ever more attractive and viable option for many homes and businesses throughout the world.

Once thought of as a gimmick, advances in solar technology now make it possible for homeowners to become completely self-sufficient, and go ‘off the grid’ rather than remain at the mercy of energy suppliers and their inflated prices.

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US Government Policy: Fossil Fuels vs Renewable Energy

While renewable energy has made impressive strides in the US over the last couple of years, the reality is that we continue to live under a government that is actually not vested in seeing renewable energy take off, and continues to remain an avid supporter of fossil fuels. Our politicians go where the money is, and while there is great promise and potential in renewable energy, the killer profit is still in the oil, coal and gas industries.

image of Fossil Fuel emissions



The danger in this situation is that supporting fossil fuels not only hurts our environment, it creates a none-level playing field for the developing renewables industry. In addition to the fact that globally the fossil fuel industry gets subsidies of around $400 billion annually, while renewables get only around $60 billion, private investors also take cue from government policy. Wavering government support both in the US and Europe has made private investors wary of investing into renewable energy, because at the end of the day they want to realize maximum profits with minimal risks. From that perspective, the fossil fuel industry (movie FUEL), which continues to be heavily supported by governments worldwide, remains to be a highly attractive investment opportunity. This combined lack of investment and government support make it next to impossible for the renewable energy industry to become competitive with the heavily subsidized and more mature fossil fuel industry. And yet this is the miracle that the world expects the renewable energy industry to deliver.

Perhaps, the saddest part of the story is that the American public is often misled to believe that renewable energy is at best not viable, and at worst actually wastes taxpayer dollars and contributes to loss of jobs. Popular media outlets tend to emphasize problems and failures in the renewable energy sector, while giving very little air time to the industry’s many successes. If renewable energy is to have any real future in this country, the government needs to be on board, and the citizens need to be informed to demand action from the people in power who represent them.

US government supports fossil fuel industry

We castigate many countries like China for their polluting production practices and lax environmental laws, and yet without blinking an eye, the American government subsidizes the most polluting fossil fuel industry and completely lets it off the hook for a number of environmental costs, which include toxic waste in our water. A fossil fuel subsidy is any policy that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, increases the price received by energy producers or lowers the price paid by energy consumers. Overall, subsidies to the domestic fossil fuel industry are estimated to be around $10 billion plus annually.

Subsidies currently in place include tax breaks and giveaways, loans at favorable rates, price controls, purchase requirements and more. It is important to note that the largest subsidies to fossil fuels are written into the U.S. Tax Code as permanent provisions. On the other hand, many subsidies for renewables are time-limited initiatives implemented through energy bills, all of which have expiration dates that limit their effectiveness in helping the renewables industry grow. It is no wonder that renewable energy cannot compete with fossil fuels, given such blatant favoritism for the latter in our government policy.



It begs the question why one of the wealthiest industries in the world needs such heavy subsidies? Last year, the three biggest U.S. oil companies took home more than $80 billion in profit. Whenever the price of oil goes up, and prices at the pump go up, and every American family’s budget is strained, the oil companies make a killing. Research shows that every time gas goes up by a penny, these companies usually pocket another $200 million in quarterly profits. Meanwhile, oil companies pay a lower tax rate than most other companies on their investments, partly because they are getting billions in tax giveaways every year.

President Obama’s efforts to decrease subsidies for fossil fuel companies have been shut down by the Republican – controlled – House. In his most recent call to cut subsidies to fossil fuel companies because they are perfectly able to stand on their own, Obama proposed the roughly $2 billion a year in tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies to be used as a source of revenue for clean energy development. The procedural vote of 51-47, which failed to reach the needed threshold of 60 in favor, killed the measure.

At the same time, “green” US companies have to struggle and get leftovers from the BIG-Oil table, and very promising innovations such as Electric Vehicles, Algae, Bio-Fuels, etc. are left in the dust.



Obama criticized for supporting domestic renewable energy industry

While the Obama administration has been particularly supportive of the renewable energies industry, providing it with generous subsidies and opportunities for growth and development as part of pursuing a diversified energy policy and creating more jobs in a struggling economy, the president has gotten slammed with criticism and negative press for his commitment to renewable energy. In fact, because of the 2012 presidential election, renewable energy has become a hot polarizing issue. The strings of bankruptcies declared by US solar manufacturers (many of whom were subsidized under the Obama administration), closing factories and lay-offs have been used by the Republicans as a beating stick against Obama every chance they get.

One such bankrupt solar company – Solyndra – which once used to be Obama’s poster child for American renewable energy industry success, has gotten the most bad press. The company has been investigated by a Congressional Republican Committee, and has publicly become synonymous with government waste. On his campaign trail, Mitt Romney paid a secret visit to Solyndra’s headquarters and gave a talk there accusing Obama of cronyism and misusing the taxpayers’ money to fund failing enterprises of the President’s friends. Overall, Republicans attack Obama’s energy policy, accusing it of contributing to high gas prices and stunting domestic oil development.

The truth is that a large part of American political class, which essentially includes the entire G.O.P., is deeply invested in the fossil fuel industry and derives massive profits from continuing their support. As a result, this political class is actively hostile to alternatives, using both direct political power, as well as indirect media influence to ensure that subsidies to the fossil fuel industry remain intact, while renewable energy lags behind as an “unrealistic” alternative. What we as citizens need to know is that while today our tax dollars go towards making more money for oil, gas and coal companies, our children will be paying a hefty price by having to deal with the grave environmental consequences of our decisions.