Solar Works Installs Sunslate PV Roof System

Solar Works, Inc. has installed the region’s first Atlantis Energy Sunslate solar electric roof system on a home in Bolton, Massachusetts. A total of 480 solar electric roofing tiles comprise the grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) system.

MONTPELIER, Vermont – May 2, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The 700 sq. ft. array provides about 65 percent of the home’s average annual power needs. The Sunslates, function as conventional, weatherproof roofing tiles, looking very much like a conventional slate roof. The SUNSLATES provide weather protection, like any other roof and produce electric power. This building integrated approach allows the PV modules to be part of the roof so that they are barely noticeable. Each Sunslate consists of six 2-watt solar cells laminated to a concrete/fiber roofing slate. Twenty-four slates are wired together in series to form a 290 W sub-array. Each sub-array is connected to an inverter that converts the DC power to alternating current (AC) power for use in the home. The Sunslates were designed by adapting the Eternit concrete/fiber roofing slate that is popular in Europe. This is not a new roofing system. The tiles, their attachment method and their weather resistant properties are the same as this well proven Eternit roofing system. The Eternit roofing slate will last more than 50 years. As noted by Robert Zak, the proud owner of the new SUNSLATE system, “Our 5.8 kW PV system has been operating since December, 2001. In the dead of the New England winter, our SUNSLATE system has cut our electric bills by more than half – a trend I expect to improve as the seasons progress through spring and summer”. The Zak residential system does not include batteries for storing power but is grid-tied, so that when the system produces more power than the family uses, excess solar energy is fed back to the grid. When that happens, their electric meter spins backwards. The net effect is that every bit of power produced by the PV system is used. Under Massachusetts law, this type of ‘net metering’ is allowed for both residential and commercial PV systems.
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