Using the solar roofing technology originally developed by Dow Chemical Company, RGS Powerhouse Shingles are designed to provide roofing coverage similar to asphalt shingles, while providing homeowners with self-sufficient electricity generation. Unlike bulky solar panels, RGS Powerhouse Shingles are subtle and are more likely to blend into the roof.
Since the 1800s, scientists have been conducting experiments on the photovoltaic effect. It wasn’t until 1954, however, that the first solar cell was invented by Bell Laboratories, and a usable amount of electricity from the sun was generated by this scientific process. By the 1970s, solar cells were used on a number of buildings and became more widely known because of the energy crisis. In 1978, RGS (then known as Real Goods Solar) joined the solar energy market for residential solar installations. The 1980s saw a decline in solar’s popularity because of falling oil prices, but RGS remained in business. Since then, many advancements have been made in the production and efficiency of solar cells, and RGS claims to have taken part in many of these advancements. The company touts its veteran status in the industry, stating that it has been around long enough to see its products live up to their warranties. Today, the cost of solar shingles has dramatically decreased as installation of RGS Powerhouse Shingles has become more widespread. RGS Powerhouse Shingles have been installed on over 1,000 homes.
RGS encourages roofers to apply to be a Powerhouse installer. If accepted, roofers will undergo training on how to install the RGS Powerhouse shingles. In order to qualify to receive the training, roofers must already be licensed and insured, and they must have a reputation for quality roof installation. Knowledge of solar power is not needed, as RGS Energy will impart new installers with that information. The company encourages roofers to apply and as a result attract new customers, learn new technology, and make more money for themselves.
The photovoltaic technology in solar shingles enables electricity to be generated from sunlight. Solar energy is considered a green energy because its use does not require the emission of harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. If you’re concerned about climate change, air quality, or the environment, solar shingles offer homeowners with the ability to “do their part” when it comes to consuming fewer fossil fuels. RGS claims that using their Powerhouse Shingles system for a year produces an average of 4800 kWh of electricity and is the equivalent of removing 7,296 lbs of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That’s comparable to planting 84 trees or not driving 7,880 miles in the average car.
In addition to offering solar shingles, RGS encourages homeowners to “go green” in other ways. The company offers brief information on installing a solar water heater, installing solar outdoor lights, installing solar or smart home appliances, and purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle.
Additionally, in an effort to encourage sustainable practices, the US government offers a Federal Tax Credit on solar which can cover 30% of the initial cost of the solar shingles installation. Furthermore, many states and localities also offer rebates that homeowners can use to their advantage.
According to RGS, the Powerhouse solar shingles are similar in construction to asphalt shingles. Like solar panels, the Powerhouse shingles come with a 12-year product warranty and a 25-year power production warranty.