Solar roof panels have become a regular feature of the modern energy-efficient home. They save us lots of money from energy bills, by producing sustainable electrical energy, which we use in our homes every day. With proper maintenance and exploitation of the solar panels this investment can pay off in a couple of years, and they also increase the value of your home if you decide to sell it someday. And let’s not even start with the positive impact this will have on the environment. Reducing the carbon footprint left by your property will get your tax refunds in almost every country in the world.
As you can see, solar panels are something worth having in your home. But even with those, there is always room for improvement and innovation. Such innovations are the solar roofs and the special protective window films, which can not only provide insulation but also generate electricity. All these things were invented just a couple of years ago. All this proves that there can always be done new things to save energy and the environment. All we need is to use the energy the sun above us is producing.
The Solar Roof Innovation
The solar roofs are practically constructed on the principle of the solar panel, but the energy collecting surface is more precise and better shaped. It’s practically a bio-climatic architecture element, which has many different applications. The patent to this product is held by the company SolTech, which specializes in inventing and selling such innovative products. In their essence, the solar roof tiles are a building material, which can be laid on any kind of building.
But it’s also a very good solar thermal system, which will provide your roof with excellent insulation, which makes some additional adjustments in that area unnecessary. They practically take in all the heat from the sun and transform it into energy. In general, your roof will look like any normal roof, but the roof tiles will be made from a special type of glass, and they will generate clean and sustainable energy. And the roof tiles themselves hold the secret to the success of this technology.
The glass tiles are being installed on top of special liquid-based absorber modules, which were designed by the company – holder of the patent. The modules themselves have special carrying battens integrated into them, which increases their absorbent capability even more. All the solar roof tiles are connected, which means that all the modules below them are connected too, which creates a very well-adjusted solar collection system.
The solar energy which is being generated by this system is being collected inside a special accumulator tank, which is usually connected to the central heating system or any electrical system, depending on your preferences. This way you get a double win – when the sun is shining you will be able to use all the energy provided by the solar roof tiles, and when there’s no sun in the sky, you’ll be able to use the energy stored inside the accumulator tank. This will provide you with renewable energy day and night.
Windows Generating Electricity?
For some people adding solar panels doesn’t seem like a very fashionable choice for their properties. And thanks to researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), they won’t have to. The specialists there claim, that they have designed a transparent solar window film, which will capture the solar radiation without making your property look any different from all the others. And they don’t even affect the ability to see through the window in any way. On top of that, this special protective solar window film also can generate small amounts of electricity thanks to the special photoactive plastic material incorporated in it.
It can absorb infrared light and create electricity from it by tapping radiation invisible to the human eye. And this amazing study has given the start for all kinds of new technologies, which can be summarized as electricity-generating solar window films. Surprisingly, these transparent solar cells are very similar to the idea of solar roofs. Just like the roofs, the solar window tint also has insulating capabilities, which will seriously reduce the need for air conditioning in the house and will generate natural shade during the sunny days. They will reduce the access of harmful UV waves through the glass, which will reduce the risks of skin cancer and other harmful diseases connected to the overexposure to the sun.
There are also various levels of transparency of these protective solar window tints nowadays, which can be adjusted to the personal preferences of the person using them. You can put these protective films not just on windows, but also on glass walls, conservatory walls, closed gardens and many other.
Protective Window Films and Cleaning
Most specialists know that it doesn't take much to clean a solar panel. Plain water and a gentle brush or cloth can remove most of the dirt stuck to the surfaces. Using chemicals or any oil-based cleaning detergents would be a big mistake because they leave an invisible film on the surface of the solar panel, which will attract dirt and grime, and will lower the efficiency of work. The regular solar panels should be cleaned twice a year in rural areas and once in 6-8 months in urban areas. It's also recommended to use a professional window cleaning contractor, since they have the proper equipment and knowledge, and can guarantee that the cleaning will be handled properly.
The process of cleaning solar roofs is similar to cleaning solar panels, but the area you will have to clean is a lot bigger, which makes the task a lot more difficult. Even though the glass from which the solar roof tiles are made is quite strong, it requires great precision to clean them without putting too much pressure on them. If you put too much pressure on a solar roof tile, you can crush the liquid-based absorber modules, which will make the roof tile practically useless for the process of gathering solar energy.
Cleaning the protective solar window films is even more precise since some of the cleaning solutions you probably use regularly can easily damage your solar window tint. For instance, ammonia and vinegar, which are often used to remove old stains from window surfaces, can degrade the window tint, making it practically ineffective. Most window cleaning specialists advise using distilled water with some baby shampoo in it, a soft cloth and a rubber squeegee. And once you're done with the cleaning, you should rinse everything with just water, to remove all the leftover residue. Also, using newspaper is unacceptable when cleaning the solar window film, because the wood fibres in it can easily scratch the tint. When dealing with such precise and complex systems, it's always better to consult a licensed window cleaning company, because the employees there pass special training which teaches them how to deal with such things and how to do everything properly.