Solar Shingles: A way to put money back in your pocket - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Solar Shingles: A way to put money back in your pocket

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Imagine the utility company paying you for power. That's what's happening with solar powered houses around the country.

Now, the first house with solar shingles in Illinois is on-line and saving the homeowners money.

When you turn on the lights, open the refrigerator or heat up food in one Naperville house, most of the power is coming from the roof. The power of the sun is collected in the shingles.

The house is the first in the state to have DOW power house solar shingles -- not those traditional, bulky solar panels.

Bill Schaefer and Margaret Watson recorded savings on their first electric bill.

“On certain days we did generate more than consume that energy went on the grid, on the bill there was a charge for what we used and a credit, they paid us for what we put on the grid,” Schafer said.

Solar roofing costs nearly three times more, about 30,000 dollars compared to an average regular roof at 12,000 dollars.

Federal and state rebates pay back nearly two-thirds of the investment, and DOW estimates the system generated the power to pay for itself in about seven years.

The shingles are wired to an inverter system in the basement and the roof is warranted to withstand Chicago's most extreme weather.

“This system is your singles, just like normal roof, no issues there. Water can't get under, a complete system,” said Brandon Weiss, President of Sustain-A-Building.

The couple saves energy and money in multiple ways. A backyard cistern re-uses rainwater for the garden. They compost and drive hybrids as well.

Solar power completes the cycle.

“We're just one house, one couple, hopefully others will do the same thing,” said Watson.

The aesthetic value is one attraction to solar shingles. Neighbors who knew they were being installed said they were interesting. Neighbors who didn't know, said they didn't even notice.

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