November 2011

Perfecting the solar shingle

Perfecting the solar shingle not ratednot ratednot ratednot ratednot rated

The technology exists for creating an aesthetically pleasing solar shingle

by Ming L. Shiao and Husnu M. Kalkanoglu
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Asphalt shingles with their desirable aesthetics and proven performance have been the steep-slope roofing material of choice in the U.S. for more than half a century. According to "Residential Roofing 2010: A Market Focused Update," published by Principia Partners, Exton, Pa., more than 80 percent of sales in the U.S. residential roofing market are asphalt shingles or bitumen-based roofing materials.

Shingles typically are constructed by coating a reinforcement layer with molten bitumen and covering the surface with roofing granules to protect the bitumen from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation while providing desirable colors.

Roofing granules usually are made from naturally occurring mineral particles that are translucent to UV radiation. However, roofing granules typically have high absorption of solar heat, so shingles tend to have low solar reflectance. As a result, asphalt shingles can reach relatively high surface temperatures during hot summer days.

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