New prefab solar system cuts installation time and costs
Installing a solar photo voltaic system may require the skills of both a roofer and a solar contractor to ensure a leak-proof installation. But coordinating the contractors requires time, energy and training and leads to higher installation costs.
To provide homeowners with an easier way to install solar panels, Atlantis Energy Ssytems Inc. added a new hybrid modular category to its line of building integrated photovoltaics.
The new hybrid product, dubbed TallSlates BITERS (Building Integrated Thermal Electric Roofing System), is hoisted pre-assembled, onto an existing roof or a new construction roof. All internal systems can be preinstalled in the home prior to the units’ arrival producing dramatic labor and insurance savings for the roofing contractor.
The units are then lowered into place by crane onto preset cleats attached to the roof and securely locked down. They are then plumbed to the in-house connecting lines. Once installed a roof can either be finished out to its surrounding edge with slates or left as is on an asphalt shingle roof.
Each TallSlates BITERS Kit is available in 550-Watt incremental units that cover approximately 50 square feet of roof area. The solar PV harvest is derived from the 12 (46 Watts each) TallSlates. Multiple Kits can be combined, much like building blocks, with the increased power production sent to an inverter linked to the grid and/or stored in batteries.
The thermal component inherent in the TallSlates BITERS Kit provides some unique benefits. Ironically, high temperatures can significantly reduce the power output of solar cells. Solar cells will naturally produce heat while functioning and will heat up to higher temperatures like any other roofing product under a summer sun. To combat the resulting loss of power due to extreme heat, Atlantis has historically offered a cooling system beneath its custom crafted Sunslates roofs. The resulting cooling allows the solar roofing production to increase and produces a lot of hot water, which can be redirected from the roof to other purposes such as domestic hot water supply, space heating, and/or pool heating.
The new TallSlates BITERS system incorporates the same principal of cooling. It is now integrated into the units at the factory and can be coupled to neighboring units until an ideal number has been met. The thermal will, depending on location, produce up to 3 to 4 times the amount of kW of thermal as the TallSlates do of solar PV. Product testing and field installation show 1150 Watts solar electric per 100 square feet of roof surface and up to 3300 to 4400 Watts solar thermal. The product is currently undergoing formal thermal testing in Florida.
With this design, homeowners will have the opportunity to offset both their heating and electric charges with an affordable, private and aesthetically pleasing utility service on the roof.
Also, the modular system offers versatility for large buildings as well, such as nursing homes, or other healthcare businesses that use large volumes of hot water.
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