Don Hyatt, a homeowner in Cary, has recently installed the first residential solar shingles in the Triangle, and possibly NC. “I’ve been waiting for them to become available in North Carolina,” Hyatt said. “It’s not like solar panels, which have the big blue rectangles that stick up above everything else and are obtrusive looking. These blend in nicely.”
Hyatt needed to replace his roof, and decided to include the solar shingles after researching the product. According to DOW Powerhouse, the Michigan-based manufacturer, the shingles are hail, wind, and storm resistant. “It’s a building-integrated PV (photo-voltaic) module,” said Dan Lezama, owner of Sun Dollar Energy, the company that installed the shingles. “Solar panel and listed roofing material in one. It’s perfect for a new home or a home that needs a new roof and the HOA won’t allow for traditional solar panels.”
Other residents of Cary and Chapel Hill have expressed interest in solar shingle installation, but Lezama believes traditional solar panels are hardly threatened by the competition. “We have three prospects right now that we are in the sales process with,” he said. “The feedback I have received is that people love the way they look.”
Unlike solar panels that stand away from the roof on a bracket, solar shingles are installed with the roof and sit flush. Therefore, a customer would first need to be in the market for a new roof. “For a customer to be a good candidate for solar shingles all the stars have to align,” said Lezama.
Solar shingles might also be popular in neighborhoods where the Home Owner Association forbids bulky solar panels. Solar shingles, classified as a commercial building material, are able to bypass these HOA regulations.
There are currently 12 workers certified by DOW in North Carolina to install their product.