Apollo II solar shingles give attractive home a sleek, sustainable finish

CertainTeed solar system integrates flawlessly with companion asphalt roof  

In the summer of 2014, self-ascribed tech geek, architect nerd and moderate social do-gooder John Lister indulged in his admitted passions when he opted to include an integrated solar system as part of his homes reroofing project.

“We’ve had an interest in putting solar on our house for a really long time,” said Lister, the principal of JL Architects of West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Lister says he’s inclined to pursue projects that look good and are good for the environment. When he designed and built his current home 21 years ago, he made sure energy efficient features like sun shading, the orientation of the house and deep eaves were inherent to its design. An in-law suite was added more recently that included geothermal heating and thermal flooring. So, a solar roof was a natural extension of Lister’s interest in sustainable design.

Lister’s original roof needed replacement due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.  To get the ball rolling on both the reroofing and the new solar system installation, he connected with Larry O’Donnell, the owner of Rooftop Solar Solutions and O’Donnell Roofing Company, each of Haverford, Pennsylvania. 

According to O’Donnell, Lister wanted to maintain the existing appearance of his home. “He wanted us to make it look as if we were never there,” explained O’Donnell, “and that is just what we did.”

In addition to replacing Lister’s 6,500 square foot roof with new CertainTeed Landmark asphalt shingles, the crew also installed 102 CertainTeed Apollo II Solar Roofing panels on the south-facing side of the roof. This system was specified because of its ability to fully integrate with asphalt shingles for a clean, seamless appearance. The sleek black frame, cells and backsheet of the Apollo II system visually blend with surrounding shingles, and Lister knew this appearance could not be attained with a rack-mounted system. 

 “I think the Apollo II shingles open up opportunities to use solar where you might not want to do it otherwise,” Lister said. “From an aesthetic perspective (it) offers a lot more potential.”

From O’Donnell’s point of view, the Apollo II was an easy product for his crew to install. For one, the system easily tied into the Landmark shingles. There was also no need for structural reinforcements or analysis because the panels are as light as asphalt shingles. The panels also allow plenty of open space underneath the modules to make wiring easy. 

His crew installed both the Landmark and Apollo II shingles. He subcontracted the electrical work to a trusted electrician who handled the wiring inside the home and installed an inverter to convert the photovoltaic system’s collected DC electricity into AC electricity required by the home. 

A CertainTeed representative was on the job during the installation process, which is something O’Donnell appreciated.

“We didn’t really need him, but it was nice that CertainTeed had a rep on site to make sure we had all our ducks in a row,” said O’Donnell. “The CertainTeed support team was awesome during the whole process.”

Additionally, having both the Landmark and the Apollo II systems manufactured by CertainTeed provides Lister with the convenience and assurance of having his entire roof, including the solar system warranted by one company for both product performance and installation workmanship.

While Lister’s is the third home in his neighborhood to don a solar roof, it is the first to showcase a low-profile integrated solar shingle system. 

“When I look at my roof I like what I see. When I compare mine to the others, I know mine is better. The social responsibility aspect of solar roofing is important to me, but so is curb appeal,” he said.