Solar Laminate: Quick & Easy Solar?

For homeowners with metal roofs, Solar Laminate appears to be a quick, easy installation option.  While DIYRooftopSolar has not installed this type of panel yet, we are very curious about the possibility.  Especially when panels are being offered at less than 50 cents/watt.

This pricing will likely not last long, but it inspired us at DIYRooftopSolar to do a little research.

According to Sun Electronics, features of these panels include:

  • Architecturally pleasing systems that do not distract from the natural lines of the home
  • Complete design freedom with ridge to eave coverage possible
  • Solar panels are structurally and aesthetically integrated roofing elements
  • Cost effective installation through easy and fast fixing of large area roofing elements using standard installation techniques
  • No back-ventilation of solar panels necessary (lightweight laminates are easy to handle and can be field applied directly on metal)
  • No support structures needed
  • UL Listed as prepared roofing cover
  • Modules and inverter UL Listed
  • Integrated with flat 16” wide (minimum) metal roofing systems
  • Wind and water-tight roof
  • Suitable both for renovation and for new construction
  • 20-year power output and 5-year system warranty
  • Standard junction box or weather-tight quick connect system
  • “Peel & stick” adhesive backing capable of withstanding 160 mph wind loads

The cost savings of eliminating any roof mounting supports alone makes this solar option economically superior.  So here’s your chance as a reader, have you had any experience with solar laminates?


Solar Panel Prices Drop Again

Happy New Years!  On this day of celebration, I’m raising a glass to the decreasing cost of solar!

I just took a peek at my favorite Solar Panel Cost Comparison website and saw that prices have dropped again.

70 cents per watt

Previously, I posted some sample pricing of a DIY solar panel kit using panels priced at 80 cents/watt.  At that cost, a 1 kW system came out to $1.80/watt before any utility or government subsidies.

Using the new, lower PV prices and the same process I outlined here for quotes, I put together a sample kit* with a larger array of 4.6 kW to accommodate the minimum order on the 70 cent/watt panels:

4.6 kW kit

The 10 cent/watt decrease in panel costs resulted in total system pricing of $1.70/watt ($7800/4.6 kW) before any utility or government subsidies or SREC payments.


*Micro-Inverter and Mounting Hardware pricing quoted here and here.

Solar Misconceptions

Here are some common misconceptions about solar power that often stop homeowners from installing solar panels:

1.  My state doesn’t get enough sunlight to make solar worthwhile.

The image below shows a measurement of the potential each area of the world has for solar power:

Global Solar Power Potential

Image Source

As you can see, the entire United States is situated for good to great solar power production.  Even more interesting, compare the map above to actual solar production by country and you will see that Germany currently leads the world even though it has less solar power potential than the USA.

Solar Power by Country: Leaders Per Capita

Image Source

2.  Solar Panels Are Too Costly

Most of DIY Rooftop Solar has been devoted to disproving this misconception.  Check out these posts for more information:

Sizing Your Solar Panel System and DIY Solar Kits for estimates on what solar panels will cost you.

What If My Utility Company Doesn’t Offer A Rebate for possible credits that would lower the cost of solar panels.

When looking to lower the cost of your solar panel installation, a helpful tool for investigating what rebates or subsidies your home qualifies for is the DSIRE website.  Here is a link to DSIRE’s interactive chart of financial incentives by state:

Interactive Chart of Financial Incentives for Renewable Energy

Image Source

3.  Solar Panels Are Unsightly

I may be biased here, but I think that solar panels can be installed in a way that not only blends in with your home,  but can actually enhance its appearance.  Our home’s solar panels were installed flush with the roof and most people do not even realize that they are there.


Helpful Installation Videos

There are a lot of great videos available to help out with your solar panel installation.  We didn’t end up making any videos ourselves during our projects, but we watched videos like these when learning how to install the mounting hardware, panels and inverters.

This one contains a detailed hardware overview along with helpful term definitions for the mounting hardware we used:

Source: Iron Ridge Mounting Hardware Video

Here is a clear and concise installation video for the Enphase Micro-inverters that we Continue reading

Let’s Talk Permits

Building a good relationship with your city’s permit office and inspectors can be very helpful when planning and executing your PV solar panel system.  Visiting the city permit office early in the process allowed us a chance to ask questions and understand what the inspectors would be looking for.

In our case, the inspectors were most concerned with Continue reading

DIY Solar Kits

An interesting article appeared in the local newspaper this week, “Solar Power For The Do-It-Yourselfer”.  The article profiled a company, SolarPod, that sells a solar kit that includes 4 PV solar panels, mounting hardware and micro-inverters.  The kit will produce about 1kW of electricity for a price tag of $4000 and are designed for flat roofs.

Solar Power for the Do-It-Yourselfer

While a bit pricey at $4/watt not including installation, it’s a great Continue reading