Question

What kind of solar panel will fit on a "bow" roof?

Asked by Vincent Da Forno
Woburn, MA

The "bow" roof faces south and I'm not sure the "roof shingle" type of soar panel are energy efficient enough to make the change. Is it necessary to remove the shingles and use a "roof shingle" type of soar panel

Answer

There is one type of solar panel which will conform to shapes such as a 'Bow' roof. These panels are known as an amorphous photovoltaic panel.

  • They are typically less efficient during short periods of time but begin producing amperage at low light levels (even under a full moon) allowing them to work longer durations of time.
  • Installation of the amorphous panel must be on a standing seam metal roof since they are a peal and stick application.

Photovoltaic shingles are rigid panels made to look like shingles and are designed to be installed on a even, straight surface such as a gable roof and cannot be bent to lay flat on a roof such as yours.

However in the past amorphous shingle photovoltaic panels were developed and manufactured. The leading manufacturer of amorphous photovoltaic panels, Uni-Solar Ovonic, filed for bankruptcy a few years ago and were divided and bought out.

An alternative to trying to install the panels on the roof would be to install a rack or pole mounted photovoltaic system at ground level if space and the proper solar envelope is available.

 

For more information:

Read "I want to convert my home to solar energy. Should I install panels on the roof or build a trellis?" a Q&A answered by Cynthia Phakos.

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