Integrated Solar

Solar cells and thin film are being homogeneously integrated with traditional roofing materials such as metal, slate, fiber-cement and ­asphalt roofing.

integrated solar roof
Integrated solar roof.
The south face of this standing-seam metal roof is overlaid with a four kilowatt array of thin film solar panels.


The six green homes in this community in Hinesburg, Vermont are all positive energy buildings, producing as much energy as they use over the course of the year. Environmental features include geothermal heating, radiant concrete floors, triple pane windows, super insulated walls and roofs, building-integrated PV solar panels, and south facing glass which provides solar gain and great views down the valley.

integrated solar roof
Three types of solar. Far left to right, two panels for solar water heating, then solar electric panels, and then standing-seam solar metal roofing.

integrated solar
A 1930s-era house on the edge of an historic district in Kentucky topped with a thin-film solar system, placed on a standing-seam metal roof.

After tax credits, the new metal roof and PV system cost about $23,000, but might pay for itself in ten years, due to energy savings and by selling power back to the utility. After the install, electric bills for the 2,800 square foot house are roughly $16 per month.,

integrated solar roof
University of Missouri-Rolla Rolla Technical Institute’s Prairie Home.
The benefits of standing-seam solar metal roofing are many. Quick installation, easy troubleshooting, lifetime leak free roof performance. In addition, in certain states, you can currently receive the 30% solar tax credit for the metal roof as well as the solar film, as the roof is considered part of the solar system. Solar panels by Uni-Solar have been tested to > 185 mph. Via:

integrated solar roof
Solar roofing systems that seamlessly integrate form and function.

integrated solar
Installation of solar metal roofing consists of cleaning the inside of the metal roof panel, applying and rolling in the solar PV laminate, installing the metal roofing panels and connecting circuitry at top of roof under ridge cap. A 213” x 14.5” x .2” thin film solar panel can be had for $190. Not including the metal roof, ridge and installation. How to apply thin film to metal roof:,

integrated solar
The metal ridge cap hides all the connecting terminals.
Long solar panels mean fewer connections.

integrated solar sandwich
The Solar Sandwich system manufactured by Englert, looks like any other standing-seam roof. Metal panels are topped with thin PV laminates but conceal a solar thermal system underneath (made by Dawn Solar Systems).

The surface-mounted PVs generate electricity, but also absorb heat, which is directed into the solar thermal system underneath (but will also melt away snow on top of the roof). Using a closed-loop system of tubes filled with glycol-enhanced water, energy is transferred from the roof to a conventional heating system where it is used for radiant floor heating and hot water.

thin film solar
As easy as peel and stick.
(And then attach connectors.)
Efficiency is improved if film is slanted toward sun.
Final installation and layout of Uni-Solar Ovonic’s thin Film Flexible Solar PV panels. Image: Fieldsken Ken Fields. Video of a panel lying flat on a deck:

thin film solar roof
If you have an existing metal roof, all you need to do is clean, then peel, stick and connect. Unfortunately Uni-Solar, the maker of this thin film solar panel has gone under.

Solé Power Tiles.

solar tile roof
US Tile, a Boral Roofing Company, has partnered with SRS Energy to produce Mission profile tiles. Solé Power Tiles install like a standard piece of tile with no penetrations into the tile. The result is a solar system that maximises energy output and efficiencies while eliminating the negative visual impact of traditional solar solutions.

integrated solar
Panotron solar system.
Small pv panels slide into clay tiles. The assembly of the solar tile is performed simultaneously with coverslipping the new clay tile. The photovoltaic panel is comprised of individual monocrystalline cells that are connected in series. 4 individual panels with a rated power of 6.25 Wp together form a photovoltaic module (PV module). The power per module is 25 Wp; per m2 roof tile surface results in a power output of 75 Wp.

integrated solar
Solar Shingles.
Install flush with asphalt shingles. These Dow shingles only require one hole be drilled into the roof.

Solar Shingles

integrated solar
Solar Shingles.
Some shingle products must be connected to their neighboring shingles, and then the wires must enter inside the attic space. Holes must be pre-drilled and terminals are fed inside the attic where they are connected.

integrated solar
Solar shingles do not need support structures and therefore rest directly on your roof. These are “diamond shaped” panels by Saint-Gobain. Rather than being situated one next to the other in a parallel arrangement, the modules overlap each other, with one corner pointing down and one pointing up.


German Team Wins Solar Decathlon With Solar Covered House

The surface of this house is covered with solar cells: an 11.1-kW photovoltaic (PV) system made of 40 single-crystal silicon panels on the roof and about 250 thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) panels on the sides that are expected to produce an incredible 200% of the energy needed by the house. The house generated 19 kilowatts one day during test runs.

integrated solar
Integrated solar panels can withstand strong winds.

integrated solar
3S Photovoltaic roof slates.
These tile-type modules are frameless and can be installed by any roofer, plus can be interspersed with tiles of the same size but different functionality, such as thermal collectors and skylights, as well as standard roof tiles.

solar city
Freiburg Solar City, a glimpse of things to come.
The solar village Sonnenschiff, Freiburg, Germany built by solar architect Rolf Disch. All 58 units are PlusEnergy homes, which produce more energy than they consume. The Solar Settlement generates 420,000 kWh of solar energy from a total photovoltaic output of about 445 kW peak per year. The premises remain auto-free thanks to the parking garage underneath the community Sun Ship and the well organized Car-Sharing system.

Solar Companies: Too Many To List!


Thin Film Solar Roof by Uni-Solar. Although Uni-Solar is out of business many of their products are still available through dealers as well as on Amazon and EBay.

Written by Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building. Keiren originally founded Inspiration Green in 2007, which merged with Insteading in 2016.


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  1. I want a solar deck roof our local Greeneville l&P claims they will charge us 10 thousand for a meter if we do a solar roof why? How can they do that?

  2. I have spent the day trying to track down the product shown in the image above with a caption including: “diamond shaped” panels by Saint-Gobain

    I can’t find a product that matches that appearance (not even on the Saint-Gobain site). Can anyone lead me to it. I am an architect building a house that would be a perfect application for such a product. Thanks

  3. We have a different take on diamond shaped solar roof tile. It is a lightweight metal tile which also provides energy efficiency, with a cool roof coating, above sheath ventilation and insulating space between tile and roof deck. power-shield dot com

  4. Dear Sir or Madam!

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    I would like to know about your system panels and installation of them.

    If you have, write me Please about buying and instalation of your solar panel systems.

    Send me the price list and all information about them please.

    I think if everything is ok, I will buy your system and I would like to become as exclusive distributor of your product.

    Write your telephone numbers please.

    Thanks in advance

    +374 93 417 699

    +374 55 417 699

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