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Terms of trade: What are sunglasses?

Solar panels have come a long way since the invention as early as 1839. The newest models are compact, resilient and significantly more efficient for converting the sun's energy for human use.

These advancements have opened the door to roof sets of panels that not only reinforce normal roofing materials but replace them completely.

Solar tube shingles are what they sound like – shingles that capture solar energy. They are part of a class of materials and devices called building-integrated photovoltaics, which include other structural elements such as siding and windows that recycle the free energy flowing through the air every day for home programs.

As recently as a few Years ago, shingles was more of an idea than a practical building material, but as of this author, at least five companies, including Tesla, SunTegra, Atlantis Energy, Forward and someTeed, have commercial models on the market.

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