As the flailing home-improvement and building industries try to regain ground in new home sales and products, they are changing the way they do business. Wisely, they are trending towards the utilization of solar products. They are figuring out ways to make solar energy products less expensive and more efficient. This includes the increasingly popular solar rooftop systems available today.

Solar rooftop systems are being constantly refined and more efficient for either a centralized solar plant or the increasingly popular integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems. BIPV solar systems are being well-regarded for their ease of installation and superior finished appearance and weather-ability performance. BIPV systems produce clean energy, increase home value, helps protect the environment and the aesthetics of the systems is unmatched.

Several different manufacturers offer systems that blend into asphalt roofs so the panels aren’t as noticeable. There are also panels that fuse directly to the standing seam metal roof. There is a solar panel system for almost every type of roof that is out there. A growing trend is to integrate solar rooftop panels into the traditional building processes of new homes.

A definite pro to the solar products is the available tax incentives and rebates. There seems to be the strongest sales in the custom home building, commercial, retrofitting and tract development segments. Recent federal legislation for these segments eliminated the $2,000 cap that existed on the 30 percent tax credit through 2008 and the continued availability of state and utility rebated for solar systems and the constantly falling prices of solar panels. See the Energy Star website for tax credits on home solar energy systems.

The pros to BIPV is that these systems are generally easy to get up and running relatively quickly; projects are not subject to long building transmission lines to remote areas and they are not dependent on high water needs that solar plants require for cooling. The major con is the cost of deployment. Each project is unique to the home and requires a lot of labor costs. In addition it may take years to recoup the cost of the system. But as solar systems drop in price, hopefully this will become not as large of a factor in the future.