A roof with power added.
The new Timberline Solar™ roofing system is so advanced it makes solar simple.
Homeowners no longer have to compromise when adding solar power to their roof. Get a great-looking roof, a single GAF-backed warranty, and solar energy.
Water-shedding and warranted
Timberline Solar™ is made up of shingles, not panels or heavy tiles. These shingles are water-shedding, strong and warranted to withstand winds up to 130 mph. Rack-mounted solar installations—where the solar is separate from the roof—require the drilling of dozens of holes into the roof membrane. Any resulting damage related to those holes is not typically covered by roof warranties.
For homeowners who already know the quality of GAF roofing products, the Timberline Solar™ roof has the same wind and water-shedding warranty coverage as Timberline HDZ.
Investing in a home is no small matter – and the way it looks is important. Timberline Solar™ has a design that blends in with the aesthetic of the house, with elements that add visual appeal like an architectural shingle.
Here at GAF Energy, we strive to not just meet homeowners expectations for roofing reliability, but to achieve breakthroughs with aesthetics.
How solar savings work
With a GAF Energy solar roof, you’ll not only get a roof that’s durable and has curb appeal, it’s also financially Smart, since you can save on your energy bills over time.
“With Resnick Roofing and GAF Energy, we had a clear sense that we would be working with good teams. It made the jump to solar easy when we needed a new roof.”
Meeting–and raising–the bar
Timberline Solar™ can supply your home with electricity every day, every hour the sun is shining.
And while we don’t want to talk tech jargon, it’s met some industry-leading standards such as UL 7103 certification, which means it’s been through rigorous testing from an independant certification company that’s been around for over one hundred years. We’re committed to the quality of our product.
“I love that my customers can get a new roof AND solar at the same time, from one source… R E Roofing. As a roofer, I’m committed to giving my customers a roof that looks good and protects them from the elements. And by getting the roof and solar from us, I’m not dealing with follow-up calls from one of my customers about punctures in the shingles from a rack-mounted solar system. This is one sleek, integrated design that all works together.”
It makes sense (and cents)
A solar roof is one project, one design, one crew, one straightforward proposition. And, it may pay for itself over time, as it generates energy for the home and reduces monthly electric bills.
“The overall cost of my roof with the solar was surprisingly affordable and the financing they offered was very competitive. Having the same installer for both the shingles and solar simplified the installation process and eliminated the need for contacting multiple parties if any issues arise.”
“Installation? A breeze.”
That’s a direct quote from one of our roofing partners. Timberline Solar™ Energy Shingles are the world’s first nailable solar shingles, which makes Timberline Solar™ easy to install. This solar roof goes on with a nail gun, and roofing know-how.
That means local GAF-certified roofers who live and work in your community can install the product.
Frequently asked questions about Timberline Solar™
Why are GAF Energy solar roofs my best option for solar? Timberline Solar™, integrated solar roofing from GAF Energy, is the first true solar roof. It incorporates solar technology into traditional roofing materials and processes, and uses the world’s first nailable solar shingle, which lays flush against the roof deck, providing durability and protection that look great. With constant utility rate inflation, Timberline Solar™ was designed to be an affordable solar roofing option. If you’re using solar to power your home in lieu of electricity from the grid, your energy may be lower. This all means that your Timberline Solar™ roof could save you money, allowing those savings to offset the cost of your new roof over time. And with solar roofing becoming more popular, it could even benefit your home resale value. How much does a solar roof cost? Pricing of Timberline Solar™ for the average home varies based on a number of factors, including the size and slope of the roof, the shading around the home, and how much sunlight reaches the roof throughout a typical day. A Timberline Solar™ roof is designed to be affordable and is typically comparable to a new roof plus traditional rack-mounted solar. Timberline Solar™ is currently available for residential installation, and may be available for commercial buildings in the future. What are the benefits of solar shingles compared to rack mount solar panels? Timberline Solar™ is the first true solar roof on the market. It incorporates the world’s first nailable solar shingle, which roofers can install as easily as regular roofing shingles, with only a nail gun. The benefit of this roof-integrated solar system is its seamless, waterproof installation that mimics traditional shingle installation. With most residential solar systems on the market using rack mounted panels or tiles, these setups require specialized installation skills and structures that can require ballast and/or can puncture your existing roof with lag bolts. This could disrupt the waterproofing to your roof, possibly degrading your roof quicker. Plus, the smaller form factor of the Timberline Solar™ Energy Shingle (ES) as compared to a solar panel allows for installation on more complex roof shapes such as dormers or hipped roofs. Are solar shingles as efficient as panels? Due to the unique design of Timberline Solar™ as a complete roofing system, efficiency cannot be calculated in the same way as a traditional solar panel. The ES is made out of the same high-efficiency mono PERC cell technology found in Tier 1 solar panels, and depending on a home’s specific roof geometry, Timberline Solar™ may fit more kW per roof than traditional solar panels. Does my solar roof come with batteries or grid connection? Timberline Solar™ is designed to be operated in connection with the electric grid, and is compatible with many energy storage offerings on the market. AC-coupled batteries are designed to be added to existing solar installations at any time. Other energy storage systems may require unique equipment for existing solar installations. All options and features for energy storage are site dependent and unique to the particular energy storage system. Please verify with a licensed energy storage contractor in advance that the specifications are right for the installed solar components and the desired operation modes (backup, self-consumption, time-of-use load shifting, etc.). What tax credits are compatible with GAF Energy Solar Roofs? We encourage roofers and homeowners to consult their tax advisors on all available solar tax incentives. Where is Timberline Solar™ available? GAF Energy’s strategic rollout process is well underway, with the immediate goal to bring Timberline Solar™ to every state in the U.S. Our vision is energy from every roof. Our major markets right now FOCUS on the Southeast, Midwest, Northeast, Mountain West, and West Coast of the US. We operate in states like California, Colorado, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York–and add new service areas regularly. Please contact us at www.gaf.energy/timberline-solar to find out if we are available in your area—we may very well be! If you are not in an active territory yet, we can alert you when we open service in your region. What is maintenance like on my solar roof? Timberline Solar™ is warrantied for diverse weather conditions such as snow, rain, and wind, and the system is designed to require little to no maintenance. Seasonal rains should help keep the solar shingles clean of dirt and debris, but if not, homeowners can either gently rinse their shingles (only when they’re cool). Timberline Solar™ provides excellent, durable protection from the elements while generating reliable clean energy for the home. It’s a roof, with power added, designed to protect your home from leaks and other weather-related issues. Timberline Solar™ customers can monitor output and track their clean energy production by logging in to the GAF Energy customer portal. Solar roof monitoring puts data directly in customers’ hands and makes it easier to readily detect any issues.
GAF Energy 5981 Optical Court San Jose, CA 95138
Colored Solar Panels: Are Black and Blue the Only Options?
If you look at the majority of rooftop solar panels, you might assume that solar panels come in just two colors: black and blue. If those two colors don’t fit with your personal aesthetic, or your HOA has certain rules about roof colors, the absence of options for colored solar panels might limit your interest in installing solar power. You might be tempted to wait and see if other colors become available, especially after seeing options like Tesla’s initial Solar Roof tile designs.
However, there are specific reasons that solar panels aren’t widely available in different colors. The technology is slowly improving, and a wider range of colors may soon be available to people interested in investing in home solar, but it’s important to understand the challenges behind colored solar panels, and what options might be available in the future.
Do Solar Panels Come in Different Colors?
The short answer is: Yes, residential solar panels are available in a variety of colors.
The long answer is much more complicated, and you can’t just order different color solar panels to match your home. In general, colored panels are more expensive and generate less power. As a result, they’re often made by smaller, specialty manufacturers. Currently, if a commercial solar panel manufacturer wants to make solar panel colors other than blue and black, they have to use dyes or coatings, which make the panels less efficient.
Solar installers themselves are also less willing to purchase these panels. The vast majority of customers choose solar to lower their energy costs, so they don’t want fancy solar panels that cost more and work less effectively just because they might be a different color.
Thus, it’s cost-prohibitive for a solar energy company to make colored solar panels available just in case a single customer wants them. Additionally, it saves the company money to only purchase one or two types of solar panels from their preferred solar manufacturer, as they can pay less by buying in bulk.
Why are Most Solar Panels Black and Blue?
You may be surprised to learn that the color of solar panels is not just an aesthetic choice by the manufacturers. Solar panels are black and blue because those are the natural colors that silicon becomes during the manufacturing process. There are two primary kinds of solar panels commercially available: Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels are Black
Monocrystalline solar cells are made out of silicon where each solar cell is a single crystal. This makes them considerably more efficient, especially since black as a color is more light-absorbent than the blue color. As costs come down across the industry, most newer solar panel installations use these black monocrystalline panels because people want the increased efficiency they provide.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels are Blue
Blue solar panels are made from polycrystalline silicon where a single cell contains several silicon crystals, and the way those crystals interact with sunlight makes them appear blue. The multiple crystals slow conduction, resulting in blue polycrystalline solar cells being less efficient in generating electricity. Polycrystalline technology used to be cheaper than monocrystalline, which is why you are more likely to see blue panels in older installations.
Can Solar Panels Be Different Colors?
We mentioned dyes and coatings earlier, and they can certainly be used to change the color of solar panels. However, dyes and coatings also dramatically reduce panel efficiency. In fact, colored solar panels created with this method are as much as 45% less efficient than the standard blue or black solar panels. That can slow down any return on investment you experience with your solar PV system, especially since these panels are more expensive to begin with.
However, a variety of new technologies are being experimented with to create more efficient colored panels, and a wider range of colors to suit more environments, color schemes, and aesthetics. For example, researchers in the Netherlands have developed a soft-print lithography technique that allows panels to reflect a specific color. Unfortunately, this still reduces efficiency, but only by about 10% compared to the 45% of other coating methods. With continued improvement, they aim to reduce that loss in efficiency to as little as 2%.
So, while we don’t have solar panels in all the colors of the rainbow available yet, the technology is definitely being worked on.
Does the Tesla Solar Roof Offer Colored Solar Panels?
In 2017, Tesla announced they would release four styles of Solar Roof, which would basically be photovoltaic panels designed to look like regular roof tiles. The advertised options were smooth glass, textured glass, French slate, and Tuscan. This quickly led to rumors that Tesla had cracked the code for creating efficient colored solar panels, and homeowners assumed they’d soon be able to order solar panels in a wide variety of colors and styles to match their roof type.
However, the Tesla Solar Roof tiles that made it to market are currently available only in blue, dark blue, and black, and lack the texture and shapes that Elon Musk originally promised. The Tesla website gives no mention of solar roof tiles in other colors or textures, or of them being available in the future, and their solar panels are also only available in black.
As the technology improves, it’s possible that Tesla will start offering solar roof tiles in other colors, but they simply don’t do so at this time. However, solar roofs still have some aesthetic advantages for those who can afford the higher price tag.
Can You Get Colored Solar Panels?
Yes, you do have options for installing colored solar panels on your roof. However, the current commercially available technology is significantly less efficient and more expensive than black and blue solar panels, and you’ll likely need to work with a specialized installer to get them ordered and installed.
Dyes and coatings don’t handle tough conditions well, so it’s likely that colored panels will eventually lose their vibrance over a panel’s 25-year lifespan. Thus, this aesthetic improvement isn’t worth the lost efficiency and greater cost for the average homeowner
Most solar panels are black or blue as a result of how the silicon is created during the manufacturing process. over, manufacturers, installers, and the majority of customers are focused on efficiency, so installers are often reluctant to work with the current version of colored solar panels because of the lower efficiency issues and higher costs. You’d need to find an installer willing to work with you at the design phase to create a PV system that uses those lower-efficiency panels and still creates the most power possible.
However, technology is improving all the time, and there are companies working on more efficient colored panels. If you have your heart set on colors that match the aesthetics of your home, roof, or neighborhood, you should keep an eye out for new panels that increase the range of available colors and reduce the efficiency loss.
If you don’t want to wait, and you’re ready to install a solar power system on your home and start saving money, talk to Palmetto today. We will work with you from the design phase through installation, and provide long-term maintenance to ensure that you get a solar power system that works for you, and will give you the maximum amount of energy your home needs.
Get started with our free Solar Design Tool and see how much you could lower your electricity bill by choosing solar energy.
We have published this comparison list below to help everyone understand the basic differences and similarities between solar roof shingles and solar panels.
Below you will find a comparison list with the two split up on the left side and right side. If you have other facts that you would like to contribute, please do not hesitate to give us a call or send us an email.
We’ve teamed up with top graduates from MIT to help provide you with the right pros in your area that specialize in Solar Roofs.
Talk to a real human being that knows Solar inside and out.
We have a team of specialists standing by from 6:00a.m to 8:00 p.m. pacific time ready to answer your call.
Solar roof shingles didn’t come into use until recently. One of the first solar shingles came into use in 2011 in the State of Colorado. The shingles were produced by Dow and are one of the most popular solar shingles on the market.
Solar panels have been in use for much longer than solar roof shingles and in fact were primarily used first in space for satellites.
Solar shingles are installed much like a regular asphalt shingle. Solar shingles actually replace the asphalt shingles in the area they are placed. This means that on a re-roof project less asphalt shingles need to be purchased and installed because the solar shingles double as energy producers and roofing shingles.
Solar panels on roofs have to be mounted above the shingles. This means that additional installation takes place after the protective shingle layer is installed. Installing solar panels takes longer and is more technical.
As of 2013, there are mainly two manufacturers or solar shingles products. The most well known is Dow’s Powerhouse solar shingles and followed closely behind is CertainTeed’s Apollo solar shingles.
There are many solar panel manufacturers and companies that sell solar panels. The two main companies are Suntech (a china based company) and First Solar (a U.S. based company).
Solar shingles have a quicker installation time. In fact, in most instances it is almost 2/3 faster to install solar shingles onto a new roof than solar panels.
One of the main differences that consumers are most aware of when it comes to solar shingles is how they look. Solar shingles are much more aesthetically appealing because they are flat like a shingle and are not bulky and too noticeable.
Solar panels are big and hard not to notice. This is one of the major drawbacks that many homeowners admit is something they don’t like about solar panels.
Solar shingles used to be much less efficient when compared to solar panels. In fact, before 2008 solar shingles or a.k.a thin-film solar cells barely peaked above 10% conversion efficiency. But in 2008 there was a breakthrough with (CIGS) copper indium gallium diselenide that allowed the thin-film solar cells to reach a conversion efficiency of 19.9% which was a new world record for this type of solar cell.
Before 2008 the silicone cells used for solar panels far outperformed the thin-film solar cells. Silicone solar cells have been known to reach 20.3% conversion efficiency making them the obvious choice for solar power for many years. Now, however, the thin-film solar cells conversion rates are almost identical making solar panels not as desirable as before.
Solar shingles can be installed on various types of roofs. Although the Dow Powerhouse solar shingle is primarily designed for fiberglass shingles.
Solar panels have been installed on all types of roofs and in fact are very adaptable in where they can be installed. Solar panels are used for street signs, traffic lights, cars, houses, commercial buildings, etc.
We thought you should know.
That we’ve teamed up with top graduates from MIT Stanford University to help you with any solar questions you may have.
We also have a team standing by to take your calls about Solar Systems. You can even get connected to a local Solar Specialist in your area.
Solar Roof Shingles vs Solar Panels
Solar roof shingles and solar panels have many similarities but are also very distinguishable. Solar shingles and solar panels basically use the same technology and perform the same tasks. Their main differences and similarities are portrayed in their individual names. Solar roof shingles are in fact a shingle and solar panels are in fact a panel that must be mounted on the roof.
Join Our Roofing Group
We are going social and have created a new group for people who want to know more about roofs, roofing problems, fixes, ask pros, etc. Feel free to join. It is a private group so once we get your request to join we will approve it as quickly as possible.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development www.nrel.gov
Wikipedia list of photovoltaic companies. Wikipedia.org
Solar Roof vs. Traditional Roof: Which One to Choose?
From design to functionality, roofs are an integral part of your house. Not only do roofs help you live a worriless life without leakage or moss growth problems, but they also add value to the overall look of the home. However, roofing is not as simple as it may seem. If not done right, the home will be ruined regarding its overall look and safety. That is why it is essential to do your research before choosing roofing companies. Besides, it is crucial not to get misled by trending roofing types and select the one that suits your house and preferences. Today, many people think about choosing between solar roofing and traditional solar panel roofing. The choice isn’t as easy as it seems as there are many differences between the two types.
I suggest exploring roofing overall and then going over the key aspects of both types of roofing, including solar and traditional. Plus, later in the article, we will not only have an inclination towards one roofing type but will also get an understanding of which company to trust with roofing for our houses. Let’s go!
All About Roofing
Roofs sustain your house. The roof’s peak is called a ridge, the bottom – eave, sloping edges – rakes. The valley is the inner intersection of two roof planes and the outside corner is called a hip. The frame underlies everything. Trust me, your house will suffer from the slightest weather change without all these parts.
To hinder leaks, roofs have a slope to shed water. Interesting fact: all roofs have slopes, no matter if we talk about flat roofs or the most common A-framed gabled roofs. For you to imagine, flat roofs have a slight incline that sustains the required drainage. Plus, flat roofs provide homeowners rooftop space for allocating different items and implementing different designs for the location. In the meantime, A-framed gabled roofs have the most significant slope capable of shedding snow and water, which manages to keep the house safe during hurricane winds too.
Did you know that some roof types come from ancient times? Yes, you read it right. For instance, Mansard roofs come from the Empire period, which is why they have a curved hip look. This type has been the favorite one of the Adams family. Why is that so? Because with Mansard roofs, the family had an opportunity to craft the additional living space with the preferred luxurious design on the roof.
Roofing material choices are infinite. The asphalt shingles, for instance, come either with three-tab shingles or architectural shingles. Nowadays, the solar industry flourishes, many solar panel companies take up roofing too. The best solar panel companies offer customers a mix of solar panel systems and roofing services – solar roofs with solar shingles. However, their offer doesn’t end with their specialization. Still, these companies offer traditional solar panel roofing with solar panels. Here, you also need to choose. But, unlike the situation with asphalt shingles, there is much more to consider before going for this or that type of roofing.
Let’s Compare: Traditional vs. Solar Roofing
Solar panel companies provide roofing services encompassing the installation of solar panels on roofs separately. That’s one of the best things to consider as, in that way, you tap into the world of environmental sustainability no matter the roof type you own.
Nevertheless, solar panel companies didn’t limit themselves to providing roofing services encompassing the installation of solar panel systems on roofs separately. They decided to deliver fully-integrated solar roofing services that include an entire solar energy system in an existing roof. Instead of doing the roof installation in a traditional way with solar panels, companies conduct it with exclusively designed solar shingles.
So, should we go for traditional roofing with solar panels or take the new solar roofing with solar shingles?
Roofs with Solar Shingles vs. Roofs with Solar Panels
To tell the truth, there is no evident visual differentiation between solar shingles and solar panels on the roof. Solar roofs that get installed with solar shingles provide the home with the look of consistency, minimalism, and sleekness. On the other side, solar panels have a plethora of options for roof design. If solar shingles don’t have a wide range of design selections, solar panel systems come with color variety, including panels with all-black frames, black with silver frames, etc. This is to tell you that if you love controlling everything, then you should definitely go for a traditional roof with solar panel systems. In this case, you will be able to choose the color of the solar panel’s frame that will sit on your roof for a while.
Well, well, there is a slight inconsistency regarding the pricing of these two roof types in the solar industry. Considering that different solar panel companies price roofing services differently, we will dig deeper into how they decide the cost rather than how much they put on the price tag. With solar roofs, pricing is multilayered. This means that solar panel installation companies take into account roofing materials alongside solar components while providing a price for solar roofing. To put it in another way, you should pay for solar energy in /watt plus for roofing in /square foot. Here, it is crucial to keep in mind that the price will fluctuate depending on the design you choose for solar tiles. The higher the number of solar tiles used in the roofing, the higher the price for the service.
Everything is way more straightforward with traditional solar panel roofing. Solar panel companies don’t need to conduct multilayered calculations. What they do is charge the client /watt plus the solar panel installation cost. This means that regardless of what roof design you go for, you still pay for the solar energy that gets added to the rooftop of your house. Also, when you go for traditional solar panel roofing, you don’t sacrifice solar energy production capacity, but you cut the cost of roofing services.
Like every other service, roofing also has its limitations. In the case of solar shingles, these won’t work for flat roofs and roofs with multiple architectural features. Plus, as long as we discussed, solar shingles are exclusively designed in recent solar technology, right? Well, that’s why many buildings either don’t accept the installation of solar shingles on the roof or prolong the acceptance process. With this, the timeline for installation gets prolonged too.
Considering the name of the other roofing type – traditional solar panel roofing – you may think it has no limitation. Well, to some extent, if compared to solar shingles, the limitations for solar panels on the roof are much fewer. It’s better to say that it has only one limitation – design. Modern people tend to go after impeccable design and prefer not showing that they own solar panels on the roof. But don’t you think that solar panel systems on the roof are an indicator of a sustainable lifestyle? To put it in another way, for some, the way solar panel roofs look may be a limitation, but for others, it may be an opportunity to tell the community that environmental sustainability is important for them. Regarding the timeline, as it is widely accepted technology to install on the roof, there is an average period for installation – 3-5 months.
Roofing with Ameco
No matter which roofing type you go for, Ameco can provide you with the roofing experience you were looking for. The secret lies in almost 50 years of expertise in solar panel installations and roofing with solar shingles and solar panels. Everything is simple with Ameco, as what you want gets implemented in a professional manner. Plus, the process of getting roofing services from the solar panel company is automated for you to save time on the initial stage of the partnership. To get the service you need, you have to take four simple steps:
Congratulations – you are done with roofing procedures!
Of course, further guidance and assistance are always available for you, no matter your needs or concerns.
So, with Ameco, your solar experience will be worth it!
No matter which type of roofing you choose, ensure that your house fits that type. Even though your preferences for roof design are essential, roofing has its limitations. Note that if you want to install a solar roof with solar shingles, then there are quite a few limitations that may impede you. If a limitation comes your way, don’t get upset because you always have the option of traditional solar panel roofing!
Choose your roofing type wisely and ensure that the solar panel company you partner with has the experience in the solar industry to provide you seamless roofing experience.
Take your time, choose the best solar panel company, and go solar with Ameco!
What Are Solar Shingles? How Do They Work?
Solar shingles offer solar power with a sleeker roofline, but often at a higher price.
Russell McLendon is a science writer with expertise in the natural environment, humans, and wildlife. He holds degrees in journalism and environmental anthropology.
Solar shingles are small solar panels designed to resemble and replace traditional roofing materials. They are incorporated into the roof itself to generate energy.
While solar shingles are an effective source of solar power, they aren’t the most efficient or economical option. To shed more light on this method of generating solar power and new developments in the technology, here is a closer look at solar shingles, including how they work and how they compare with other solar options.
What Are Solar Shingles?
Solar shingles have been commercially available since 2005. They are designed by merging solar panels with the roof instead of just mounting them on top of it.
All solar shingles are designed to function as both roofing materials and power sources, but they can achieve that dual purpose in a few ways. Some solar shingles use silicon as a semiconductor, as do most conventional solar panels. Others rely on thin-film solar cells, which feature super-thin layers of certain photovoltaic materials.
The thinness of these solar cells makes them lighter and more flexible. While older versions of flexible thin-film solar roofing had to be installed on top of another roofing material, newer products are rigid and sturdy enough to serve as shingles themselves.
Solar shingles look like asphalt shingles. Solar tiles are another type of solar roofing but are made to resemble other roofing types, like terracotta.
What Are Solar Tiles?
Solar tiles are similar to solar shingles, but while the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they also can refer to different types of roofing material. Solar shingles tend to be those designed to look like asphalt shingles, while solar tiles may mimic the appearance of conventional roofing tiles. Some companies sell both solar shingles and solar tiles.
Many integrated solar roofing materials off conversation efficiency of about 15% and an expected life span of 20 years or longer.
How Do Solar Shingles Work?
Like traditional rooftop panels, solar shingles convert solar energy into electricity by harnessing the flow of electrons released when sunlight hits a semiconducting material. While solar shingles and solar panels generate electricity with the same fundamental photovoltaic effect, they have significant installation differences.
Solar shingles are not mounted on racks like other solar panels. Instead, they are attached directly to the roof deck in place of conventional roofing shingles.
Solar shingles are typically installed at the same time as the roof, either during new construction or when replacing an old or damaged roof. This helps homeowners avoid replacing older but functional shingles before necessary and can be performed by a single roofing contractor.
The Cost of Solar Shingles
The installation of solar shingles tends to be more expensive than that of traditional solar panels, especially if you want them to cover your entire roof.
Tesla has become an industry leader in solar shingles. Tesla’s solar roof features solar shingles that are “more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles” and “engineered for all-weather protection,” the company says. They can reportedly withstand winds of up to 166 mph and hail up to 1.75 inches in diameter.
The news about Tesla solar roofs is not all positive, though. In April 2021, CEO Elon Musk acknowledged the company has made “significant mistakes” with the solar roof project, leading to service delays and cost increases—with the latter affecting existing customers as well as new ones. Some customers have even sued the company over the price increases.
Tesla now charges by roof complexity. A complex roof reportedly could now cost more than 19 per square foot, but even a simple roof may cost 14 per square foot. Previous estimates from Tesla suggested a 10-kilowatt solar roof in California could cost around 34,000. With those increases and the now-required battery, the estimated total cost of a Tesla solar roof is over 100,000.
Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels
Solar shingles are sleek and durable. Their benefits include:
- Aesthetics. solar shingles enable homeowners to generate electricity with a sleek roof.
- Endurance. many solar shingles are designed to withstand hail and hurricane-force winds, which can be difficult for mounted panels.
Solar shingles can be less efficient and more expensive. Their disadvantages include:
- Cost. renders solar shingles impractical in many cases unless they’re part of a newly constructed or rebuilt roof.
- Availability. solar shingles may not be offered by some solar installers, and the cost can vary widely between providers.
- Efficiency. there can be issues with sunlight exposure depending on the slope of the roof.
The advantage of solar shingles is largely aesthetic. They are known for being more expensive and less efficient than standard solar panels, although they may become more practical for many people as better technology improves their performance.
Depending on the size of your roof, solar shingles can cost anywhere from less than 30,000 to more than 100,000. They’re quite expensive outright, but experts argue they’re more economical if they’re installed as part of a regular roof installation.
Although walking on solar shingles shouldn’t cause any damage to the shingles, it has sparked a safety debate in the solar industry. Tesla has admitted that its solar shingles are quite slippery and unsafe to walk on.
You can technically go off-grid with solar shingles—and Tesla says with its roof, that’s a very attainable option—but shingles are known to be less efficient than traditional solar panels, so you would need a lot of cover and sun exposure, plus a battery to store the solar power, for it to work.