Solar powered shingles could help homes make money

September 11, 2013 5:02:54 PM PDT
Here's a bright idea that could change the way Houstonians think about powering their homes. A new kind of solar-powered shingle helping homeowners save money long term is now on the market in our area.

On a home in Magnolia, the Fitch family is banking on the sun to save them money.

Terry Fitch said, "We finally decided that we're going to retire here. So we'd really like to cut our bills back for retirement age."

They're having installed a brand new solar shingle, a roof that is solar panels/panels that are the roof. It's so new that only two houses in the Houston area have these new shingles. Texas is one of 12 states where the maker, Dow Chemical, offers them.

"It's very low profile. It integrates into the existing composition shingles," said Jason Brinkmann, with Brinkmann Quality Roofing Surfaces. "Over the life of this system, it actually pays for itself and puts money back into your pocket."

Brinkman's company is installing them at the Fitch home and last week he put them on the first home too, in Humble.

John Janik with Electronic Power Design said, "We were anxious to put it on because we wanted to learn about it."

Janik paid for them on his sister-in-law's house in part because he owns an electrical design company and he thinks this is another opportunity to deliver power in new ways. He might put it on his home too.

"We put it on her house and my wife loves it," he said. "So we passed that test."

It's a new low-profile way to harness the sun's power and make a roof more than just a roof.

Fitch said, "I think this is much more appealing. I think it would appeal more to people that would like to go to solar."

It's not for everyone, because the solar panels are about 10 times the cost of a regular roof, but over time you will make money back.

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