CONTRACTORS INSURANCE TIPS
Solar Shingles and Your Roofing Insurance
Solar shingles have been around since 2005 and are designed in shape, size and flexibility to look like asphalt shingles. They differ from conventional shingles because solar shingles contain thin film solar technologies, which convert the sun’s energy into electricity. However, this technology did not take off because of some obstacles: price, installation difficulty, weatherization and added roofing materials.
Powerhouse Solar Shingles
Dow Company has recently introduced the Powerhouse line of solar shingles, which addresses many of the issues that consumers and contractors had with previous solar shingle models. By doing this, Dow has created a customer-friendly product that could potentially reduce general liability claims on contractors insurance from dissatisfied clients.
Solar shingles cost about double of what asphalt shingles cost. However, there are green home improvements offered by the government and efficiency incentives by utility companies that lowers the price. However, the biggest monetary rewards can be long-term and sizeable.
I plugged the following information into the Dow calculator for Powerhouse Shingles: state of Massachusetts, 2,500 square foot house (3,000 square foot roof), energy savings-40% goal. I wound up with a $22,000 added home value, energy spending of $150.00 per month and energy savings of $38, 560 over twenty-five years. The added benefits of the solar shingle offset the hefty initial investment.
Powerhouse Shingles are the only solar type that have been building code certified as a roofing product. They feature a plug and receptacle that fit tightly together prior to nailing. According to Dan Pezolt, commercial director of Dow Solar:
“Earlier solar shingles were wired on the deck, requiring an electrician on the roof and preventing the shingles from laying flat. Or if the wiring was done below the roof deck, electrical penetrations required hundreds of holes through the roof deck.”
The roofer can now install the powerhouse shingles, leaving the electrician to hook up the solar shingles to the home’s electrical service panel.
Because Powerhouse is actually a shingle, it performs all the functions of that type of product including weatherization. Powerhouse Solar Shingles can withstand wind, rain and hail storms. It has the same limitations as other solar shingles. In that, it can only be placed in homes with a southern exposure southeast or southwest. Likewise, the pitch of the roof should be equal to the latitude. Furthermore, solar panels generate more energy than solar shingles.
The aesthetics of solar shingles have always appealed to consumers over solar panels. Solar shingles blend in with the other roofing material and can be used in place of them, while solar panels present a hulking silhouette atop the homeowner’s house. Now new technology has enabled contractors to install solar shingles in ten hours, where it takes twenty to twenty-two hours to put in a solar panel. The savings in labor has also made them more price competitive with the panels.
Impact on Insurance
Installing a product like solar shingles will have a positive impact on your roofing insurance. Most general liability claims against your contracting insurance are filed by dissatisfied customers. Solar shingles offers so many benefits in terms of energy savings, aesthetics, weatherization and added home value that utilizing this type of shingle will result in a win-win situation for you and the client.