Thin film solar technology is not new. In fact, it’s been around since the 1970’s when inventor Stan Ovshinsky decided he needed to build something that would take the place of fossil fuels. Straight out of high school, he opened a machine shop instead of going to college. This unconventional approach echoes his reasoning behind production instead of politics.
You may not have heard of Stan, but you’re sure to have used one of his 300+ patents in your lifetime. He is the inventor of the nickel metal hydride battery or NiHM rechargeable battery. The Toyota Prius Hybrid is based on his patent. And now his business Uni-Solar is about to unleash one of the greatest solar inventions to date.
In mid 2011, Uni-Solar will begin sales for commercial and residential applications of its new product, PowerShingle. This thin film solar panel is also a waterproof shingle. It looks like a shingle, it sets like a shingle, it’s installed like a shingle-but it certainly doesn’t act like one.
PowerShingle works on any existing roof plane where shingles are typically used. That means if your home is covered in shingles, you can use this product to power your home. No extra reinforcement required for bulky and unsightly solar panels.
Because it uses patented waterproofing polymers, it acts like a roof. In fact it is your roof. Each solar panel is the exact size, thickness and dimension of a conventional shingle. And they even blend in with shingles, making it hard to tell what’s a solar panel and what’s an asphalt shingle.
Partnering with one of the largest manufacturers of asphalt insulated shingles-CertainTeed, PowerShingle is sure to be a quality roofing product. It is installed just like other CeratinTeed shingles and comes with a 25 year warranty, just like many of their conventional shingle products.
Unlike typical solar panels, PowerShingle is not made from glass or other breakable materials. It is encapsulated in UV-stabilized polymers so sun damage is nonexistent. It also holds up to heavy impacts like those from heavy rains and hail. It is even guaranteed to withstand the winds of a category 3 hurricane. Its also UL-listed and California Energy Commission compliant.
While all of the benefits are certainly impressive, what makes this product stand out by far from the rest of the solar panel industry is that it is actually better at producing electricity from the sun than conventional panels. Even in overcast and cloudy conditions, the PowerShingle will still produce electricity where other solar products do not.
This revolution in solar power can be found at the UNI-Solar website along with many other innovative green technologies. Thanks to one man and his many great ideas, we may all be able to have renewable energy resources right in our own homes-or at least on the roof.