Solar roofing maverick 3 IN 1 ROOF is looking to leapfrog Tesla in its bid for UL approval for its solar roof tile. Fort Lauderdale-based 3 IN 1 has completed testing for UL 1703 approval, according to CEO Carmen Bellavia. Thus far, only Luma has been approved for an integrated solar roof system by the electric safety test agency.
UL 1703 is a mandated group of tests every high-energy output solar product must pass in order to be rightfully certified and legally sold in the marketplace, 3 IN 1 notes. Traditional solar panels have been achieving UL 1703 compliance for decades, which standardized their component compositions long ago, meaning acquiring certification is no longer a challenge, they say.
Currently the market has only three integrated solar roof systems, while other solar roofing systems — including Suntegra, Certainteed, and RGS Energy are not integrated, 3 IN 1 says. A spreadsheet for potential customers on the 3 IN 1 website suggests that the roof system can be installed for a cost as low as $2.89 per Watt.
In April, Tesla announced a cut in the prices of its solar panels to just over $1.99 per watt including installation.
One advantage that the 3 IN 1 system may hold over the Tesla or Luma integrated solar shingles is insulating value. The 3 IN 1 roof improves BTU energy loss by up to 38%, the company says. The 3 IN 1 shingle is molded from dense three-pound foam and coated with a UV resistant geopolymer shell, the company says.
Integrated solar shingles perform better than other solar roof solutions, 3 IN 1 claims. After 3 pm, the difference in performance is dramatic, since on a typical 90 degree day, tests data reveals that about 23% more energy is generated by the 3 in 1 roof, the company says. This is because traditional roofing has collected and amassed so much heat from the sun, they reach surface temperatures well over 150 degrees.
Given the silicon cell composition of solar panels, for every 20 degrees the surface temperature of a traditional roof rises above 120 degrees, the solar functionality decreases by 5%. Thus when common roof products are at their hottest, a solar panel’s efficiency is at its lowest. Asphalt, concrete, and metal take many hours to heat up, and in turn take the same amount of time to cool down, or even longer if the attic is poorly ventilated.
The foam structure of the 3 IN 1 ROOF shingle, similar to Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF), blocks all solar gains from entering into the attic area, lending day-long cool substrates, decking, and garrets, virtually eliminating heat flowback, the company says. The 3 IN 1 ROOF shingles are designed as renewable energy modules constructed with a tempered glass panel and set and sealed into the tile platform, the company says.
“Renewable modules” mean that they are designed to be removed and replaced as newer technology solar cells become available. Patented in 43 countries, the 30-year agnostic module is the only replaceable solar solution found in an integrated roofing system, the company says. None of the other truly integrated solar roofs on the market allow for the solar components to be simply changed out for accidentally damaged solar cells, or upgraded to better technology without disturbing some, if not all, of the roof system, the company says.
Heat flowback from other rooftop solar systems moves heat into attic areas, causing humidity issues fundamentally negative to any structure, including but not limited to; dry-rot, condensation, and mold, the company says. Hot air also prevents the wood decking from cooling down while the traditional roofing cools over night, thus prolonging the roof’s ability to equalize ambient temperature.
The 3 IN 1 solar roof weighs only 170 pounds per 10-foot-by-10-foot square (the standard roofing area measurement unit), is fire rated Class A and is impact rated Class 4 Resistant, the company says. The 3 IN 1 solar tile can be used for both residential and commercial applications, as long as the structure’s roof has a 4/12 to 12/12 pitch, the company says. Thus they also are considered viable options for new construction and retrofits.
The 3 IN 1 system also is rated for wind speeds of up to 200 mph, making it a safer bet than standard solar shingles for coastal areas subject to hurricanes or typhoons, common in the Pacific Northwest. The shingles are High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) approved in some jurisdictions, the company says. A Category 5 typhoon is defined as having sustained windspeeds of at least 157 mph.
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