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12 Compton Homes to Be Built With Solar Shingles in Test

April 21, 1996

High-tech roof shingles made from solar cells will be installed on 12 new homes in Compton under a project approved this month by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which estimates that the solar shingles will provide 60% of the residents' electrical needs.

This summer, the Compton Community Redevelopment Agency and the Nehemiah West Housing Corp., a nonprofit coalition of more than 300 Southland church and community groups, will build 49 two-story, suburban-style homes to help revitalize a Compton neighborhood. Instead of bolting add-on solar panels to rooftops after construction, shingles containing photovoltaic cells will form an integral part of the roofs of 12 of the houses.

Photovoltaic cells, typically made from silicon crystals, convert sunlight to electricity.

It will be one of the first demonstrations of solar shingle technology on residential rooftops in this country, the AQMD said. "This project will demonstrate the use of rooftop photovoltaic cells in a way that should be more reliable and aesthetic and possibly less costly than traditional solar panels," said James M. Lents, AQMD's executive officer.

Photovoltaic roof shingles mounted on south-facing roofs will generate 60% of each home's total electric needs, AQMD officials said. The rest of the electricity will be provided by the region's conventional power grid.

The performance and costs of the photovoltaic roofs will be measured and compared to those of homes in the same development that do not have solar shingles. AQMD is contributing $100,000 toward the project and the state's petroleum violation escrow account is providing $200,000.

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