PV laminate vs. PV panels

templemorrisApril 1, 2011


We're researching the possibility of installing PV panels (4KW) on the roof of our soon-to-be-built house, and are wondering if anyone knows anything about PV laminate for metal roofs? It seems like a much more attractive option, especially since we'd love an excuse to install a metal roof! It also seems too good to be true...

Any information at all would be most helpful. All I can find are press releases and advertisements -- nothing that helps me compare the two systems.



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You should be able to find out more about the laminates fairly easily. I have been looking into roofing and PV. The hard part for me is the roof. I might install as much as 7 kW this year. Be sure to consider thermal solar. That should probably come before PV in terms of the return on investment.

There is less energy density with laminate (half) so if you have limited space and want to pack on the Watts, you don't want it. I think they tolerate sub-optimal orientation slightly better than rigid panels. You limit your choice of metal roofing material to standing-seam because R-panels are not flat. If you go with metal and decide against laminate, you might still be stuck with standing-seam. Racks can be clipped to the ridges. With R-panels, you have to put a lot of holes in the metal, which have to be sealed somehow. That would seem to be a big mistake.

Some metal roofing fabricators are selling the panels with PV already installed. Obviously the laminate can be installed later after the roof install too. Either way, you might be able to count the panel as part of your installation in lieu of a more complicated racking system in a PV system. That might end up being an issue between you, your tax accountant and the IRS. I am not making this up however, roofing fabricators suggest it.

Keep in mind that metal can be installed with cool colors. That can cut AC cost, but increase heating costs. Do some research to ensure that you are getting a cool roof if that is what you want. Laminate is not as intrusive-looking as rigid panels. (A lot of PV owners, however, like hybrid car drivers, want their stuff to look different. It is a statement.) I tried to find out how roof color would affect laminate panel performance. I could find nothing.

I found a large range of prices for standing-seam vs. R-panel roofs. First I was told that I could have R-panel installed for not much of a price premium over shingles and a lot cheaper than standing-seam. That R-panel price was pretty close to shingles, but I don't know if it is a cool roof. Another roofer gave me a price that was high for metal compared to shingles whether SS or R, 3-4 times the cost of 30 yr shingles. A fourth gave me a price for SS that was similar to the first, lower R proposal.

I think that a lot of the cost for metal is dependent on the complexity of the roof. If you have a simple gabled roof it will be a lot less than a more complex roof.

Let me know how you progress.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 8:35PM
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If you've thought about adding energy-saving, eco-friendly solar panels to your metal roof, consider the advantages of thin film photovoltaic (PV) laminates. This new-generation solar option replaces bulky, heavy panels of the past, and does not require drilling into your home's attic rafters.
Thin-film photovoltaic (PV) laminates can be bonded directly onto metal roofing panels. Unlike crystalline PV material, there's no need for obtrusive racks and heavy, expensive glass. Instead, unbreakable thin-film PV is produced using amorphous silicon, encapsulated in Teflon and other polymers.

These photovoltaic laminates can be attached to standing seam metal roofing panels using a peel and stick method, eliminating your chances of expensive roof leaks due to invasive hardware installation.

PV laminate panels are embedded with wired cells that absorb solar rays, saving you money while making your home more energy efficient.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Panel

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 12:30AM
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