Everything You Need To Know About Solar Shingles
Alora Bopray is a digital content producer for the home warranty, HVAC, and plumbing categories at Today’s Homeowner. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of St. Scholastica and her master’s degree from the University of Denver. Before becoming a writer for Today’s Homeowner, Alora wrote as a freelance writer for dozens of home improvement clients and informed homeowners about the solar industry as a writer for EcoWatch. When she’s not writing, Alora can be found planning her next DIY home improvement project or plotting her next novel.
Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.
April 27, 2023 December 6, 2022
A Complete Guide to Solar Roof Tiles
As photovoltaic technology becomes more modernized, researchers are beginning to develop alternatives to the traditional solar panel. Solar shingles are a recent addition to the expanding line-up of new PV technologies. Solar shingles and roof tiles are intended to replace normal roofing materials with roof shingles that generate electricity. They still function as roofing materials, being fire resistant and providing protection during storms. They cost more compared to traditional solar panels, but provide the same power output. Some are opting to switch to solar shingles simply for the aesthetics, as the low profile and simple design can add a nice modern touch to a home. A major deterrent for installing Tesla’s solar roof tiles is that they necessitate the complete replacement of the roof, which adds to the cost of installation.
What are Solar Shingles?
Solar roof tiles are photovoltaics that integrated into the roof of your home. They are designed to look and act like traditional roofing materials, like asphalt or slate, while simultaneously generating power from the sun. They are part of a group of PV modules called building-integrated photovoltaics, or BIPD, a class of PVs that are built into the architecture of a structure.
Solar shingles first became commercially available in 2005, and the market today has grown to encompass several companies and manufacturers. Tesla is the most well-known provider of solar roof tiles, though other companies like Luma, SunTegra, and CertainTeed offer them as well.
How do Solar Shingles Work?
Solar shingles work just like traditional solar panels, except the individual modules are much smaller. Sunlight strikes the solar tiles, and the semiconductor material converts light energy into electricity via a chemical process. The electricity is then used to power your home, either directly, or via a generator or system of battery storage.
The average size of a solar roof tile is 12 in x 86 in (300mm x 2180mm), and each solar roof tile can produce anywhere between 50 to 115 watts. Whereas early solar tile manufacturers used flexible CIGS as a semiconductor, more companies today are utilizing crystalline silicon solar cells. This means they can achieve higher efficiencies and be more competitive with traditional solar panels.
Solar shingles come in different types. Some can be applied directly onto existing roof tiles, while others replace the roof completely. Some are made with flexible semiconductor materials, while others are multi-layered and use traditional c-Si solar cells. Since not every part of the roof of a house faces the sun, solar installers might only place solar roof tiles where they will achieve the highest efficiency, while using similarly designed non-solar roof tiles where the sunlight doesn’t shine, as well as on the perimeters of the roof.
Are Solar Shingles Worth It?
Solar shingles tend to be quite expensive. On average, they can cost between 3.80 to 9.00 per watt. The price depends on the manufacturer, system size, and type of solar tile. Installation costs can also be a huge additive, as solar shingles that require a complete roof replacement cost much more than those which are simply layered over existing roof tiles. Although they are expensive, some states offer tax incentives for solar installations, and you can also still take advantage of net metering with solar shingles, just like your would traditional solar panels.
It’s important to remember that you’re not just getting a PV system, but a roofing material as well. Solar roof tiles have proven to be quite durable, being able to withstand strong winds and hailstorms. Some manufacturers claim that their solar roof tiles are stronger than traditional roof tiles.
Some homes might not be suitable with solar roof tiles. Those who already have expensive roofing materials might see it as an extra cost. Many solar shingles require completely removing the old roof and having it replaced, which can put off many homeowners. Solar roof tiles are best installed on homes that are still being built, where the owner has complete control over the design and building materials of the home.
Many like solar roof tiles simply for the aesthetic value. They have a dark color and a shiny, sleek look. Some might see the switch as a worthy investment, considering they get a sleek new roof along with a reduced energy bill.
Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels
The major difference between solar shingles and solar panels are the aesthetics and the price. Solar shingles are more appealing to the eye. The sleek look adds a look of modernity. They blend in better with the home, and passersby often can’t tell that the house even has an installed PV system. Granted, solar tiles are still limited in styles. They all tend to have the same look; dark in color and completely flat. Tesla has only recently come out with new designs, like their Tuscan-inspired roof tiles, which have a dusty brown color and are shaped more like traditional roof shingles. Solar shingles also lack many of the extras required with a solar array, as the mounting racks, brackets, and external wiring are absent.
Solar panels are cheaper to install, mainly because they don’t require a complete replacement of the roof. In many cases, installing both solar panels and new non-solar roofing separately can cost less than an entire solar roof tile installation. Where installing solar panels can cost an average of 3 per watt, installing solar roof tiles can cost between 3.80 to 9 per watt.
As far as longevity goes, solar panels and solar roof tiles are about the same. Both are manufactured to last about 20 to 30 years. Sunpower, one of the highest quality manufacturers of solar panels, offers a 25 year performance warranty, while Tesla has a 30 year performance warranty on their solar roofs.
Maintenance for solar tiles is a bit easier compared to solar panels. There are fewer nooks and notches for leaves and dirt to build up, and it’s harder for bugs and birds to make a home inside. Simply spraying solar roof tiles with a garden hose is enough to keep them clean, while solar panels usually require more specialised equipment. On the contrary, solar shingles are new, so we don’t know how easy they are to service and repair when they start getting old.
Solar roof tiles also tend to be more durable than solar panels. They’re not just for generating electricity, they are actually a roof material. That means they are built to be resistant to hard impacts, like hailstorms and debris from strong winds. Solar roof tiles are also made to be fire resistant, the same of which can’t be said for solar panels.
Solar panels do have the benefit of being able to be removed after installation. If you were to sell your house after installing a PV system, you can decide to bring your solar panels, or leave them on the home as an added feature. Solar roofs can’t be removed and molded onto another house. They are custom fitted for each installation. Although, homes with solar roofs can be sold for a 15,000 premium on average compared to similar homes without PV systems.
Solar shingles convert sunlight into electricity, allowing homeowners to shrink their energy bills while reducing their carbon footprint. Solar shingles cost an average of 55,000, falling within a typical range of 35,000 to 75,000.
By Rochel Maday | Updated Apr 6, 2023 2:44 PM
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Solar shingles are innovative roofing materials that let homeowners generate their own electricity, which offers a variety of benefits. Solar shingles can increase property values, reduce carbon emissions, and save homeowners money on energy bills.
According to Angi, installing solar shingles has an average installation cost range of 35,000 to 75,000 and a national average of 55,000. When a homeowner is considering investing in a solar energy system such as solar shingles, factors that can push installation costs in one direction or another include roof size, shingle materials, permits, and household wattage requirements. Tax credits may be available that can turn an expensive installation into a much more affordable investment.
This guide will cover the different factors that impact solar shingles cost, the benefits of choosing solar shingles, the most important questions for a homeowner to ask a contractor, and the best tips on how homeowners can save money on materials and installation.
Factors in Calculating Solar Shingles Cost
Solar shingles cost can vary based on several factors, including the roof’s size and pitch as well as the shingles’ brand and material. Permits and labor costs can also influence the final installation price. While the national average installation price is 55,000, this can differ locally based on local regulations and pricing. Homeowners considering solar-powered shingles will want to familiarize themselves with the following factors.
Roof size is one of the most influential factors when it comes to estimating the cost of solar shingles. Solar shingles can be priced by square footage, typically ranging from 21 to 25 per square foot.
However, it’s important for homeowners to note that a home’s square footage isn’t necessarily the square footage of the roof. A roof’s pitch or layout can add additional square footage. Homeowners also need to know that an entire roof does not have to include solar shingles.
Generally, a larger home will have a larger roof and higher energy needs, resulting in higher solar shingle costs. But a smaller roof can cost just as much or even more, especially if it has complex shapes or multiple peaks.
Homeowners can use the length and width of their roof to calculate their square footage. However, a solar contractor can estimate more accurately by considering all size-related factors.
When estimating the potential cost of installing a solar roof using shingles, homeowners will want to keep roof pitch in mind. Roof pitch refers to the angle or slope of a roof and can vary from house to house based on the home’s style and the local climate. For example, homes built in areas with a lot of snow often have steeper roofs.
Homeowners can expect solar shingles to cost more to install on a home with a steeper roof pitch than one with a flatter roof pitch. A steeper pitch can make installation more difficult and time-consuming, and contractors tend to charge accordingly.
If a roof pitch exceeds the typical 6:12 ratio, homeowners can expect to pay between 5 percent and 25 percent more on installation costs.
Unlike solar panels, shingles aren’t very common as they are still a relatively new option. There are several brands of solar roof shingles, all with their own unique pros and cons. Differences in manufacturing, materials, and reputation also result in unique price points for each brand.
For example, more established brands with better customer reviews may charge higher for their shingles than up-and-coming brands. Additionally, some manufacturers offer additional features or warranties that can lead to higher prices. Some of the best solar companies include:
- Tesla: Tesla shingles are made from quartz and are known for their sleek appearance.
- CertainTeed: CertainTeed shingles are made from high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon and are easy to install.
- SunTegra: SunTegra shingles integrate seamlessly with traditional roofing materials and come in various colors and styles.
Solar panel shingles are available in two primary materials. The first is copper indium gallium selenide. This semiconductor contributes to the flexibility and thinness of a solar shingle and has a relatively high conversion efficiency rate, typically ranging from 10 percent to 12 percent. Shingles with higher efficiency rates produce more electricity and can help a homeowner save more on energy bills over time.
Some solar shingles are made using monocrystalline silicon, which is the same material used in computer chips. Shingles made from this material tend to be pricier than those made from copper indium gallium selenide, but they also have a higher efficiency rate, averaging between 15 percent and 20 percent.
Homeowners will always want to consider a shingle’s material, as it directly influences the efficiency rate and the potential cost savings of a system over its lifetime.
When homeowners are estimating solar panel roof costs, it’s essential to consider shingle wattages. Shingle wattage measures how much energy a solar shingle can produce. And just like light bulbs, solar shingles come in different wattages, costing between 3.50 and 8.00 per watt.
There’s a relatively simple way to compare shingle wattages: If there are two shingles, one with a wattage of 25 and another with a wattage of 50, the shingle with a wattage of 50 can produce more energy than the shingle with a wattage of 25.
Shingle wattages influence solar shingle costs because higher wattages are generally more expensive than lower wattages. However, homeowners will want to keep in mind that the cost of higher-wattage shingles can be offset by the additional energy they produce, resulting in lower energy bills.
Household Energy Requirements
The cost of solar panel roof shingles will heavily depend on a household’s energy requirements. Solar power systems come in different sizes and should be matched to a home based on the amount of energy its occupants need.
Larger families with more occupants typically have higher energy needs and require a more expensive solar shingle system. The size and layout of a house can also affect energy needs, since larger homes can have more appliances or electronics that require energy.
Energy efficiency is also essential, as homes that are more efficient require less energy to operate and can get by with a smaller and less expensive solar shingle system.
Homeowners should refer to their current energy bills and usage to help determine what size solar shingle system is needed to meet their household energy requirements.
Installing solar-powered shingles requires skilled labor. Homeowners who hire out for installation can expect labor costs to influence solar shingles cost per square foot.
The average cost of labor for installing solar roofing shingles typically ranges from 3 to 4 per square foot, though homeowners can expect to pay up to 60 percent more for complex installations, including those on steep roofs or roofs with multiple levels. Trees, chimneys, and skylights can also increase the complexity and potentially the cost of a solar shingle installation.
Homeowners can cut labor costs by scheduling their installation during the off-season or negotiating pricing. DIY installation is also an option but should be considered only if a homeowner has the right experience, knowledge, and tools.
Permits are legal requirements that help ensure solar shingles are installed safely and meet code regulations. Not all municipalities require permits for solar panel roofing installations, but most do.
Permit fees vary by location but typically cost between 100 and 1,000 for solar system installations. In addition to paying permit fees, some homeowners may need to pay for plan reviews or inspections.
Obtaining a permit can be time-consuming but necessary. Homeowners who complete a solar shingle installation without a permit can face serious consequences, including fines and forced removal of their solar system. Working with a licensed solar contractor can help streamline the permitting process and ensure the installation meets local regulations.
Geographic location can influence the cost of solar shingles installation in a few ways. First, the cost of living in a specific location can affect labor costs and permit fees. Climate can also influence costs, as areas with more sunlight may have a greater demand for solar installations. High demand can allow contractors to charge more, but local competition can help keep rates competitive.
Finally, different states and municipalities offer different rebates and incentives for solar panel installations, which can help absorb installation costs and make an investment in solar more affordable.
What follows is a chart that breaks down average installation by state to help homeowners estimate solar shingle installation costs by location.
|State||Average Cost (Materials and Installation)|
Additional Costs and Considerations
There are several additional costs a homeowner will want to keep in mind when estimating how much it will cost to convert their roof to solar shingles. While not all of the following scenarios may be relevant for every installation, it’s important for a homeowner to be aware of them to avoid unexpected and costly surprises.
Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels
Many homeowners wonder which is the better option when it comes to choosing between the best solar shingles, the best solar panels, and the best solar companies (such as SunPower and ADT Solar). One of the most noticeable advantages of solar shingles is their ability to blend seamlessly into a roof. Where installing solar panels can add bulk to a roof, installing solar shingles can give a home a clean and modern aesthetic, similar to painting roof shingles to update the look.
Solar shingles cost is less than the price of solar panels, particularly when homeowners are replacing a roof. Solar shingles can also be removed and reinstalled if a homeowner decides to relocate, making this type of shingle a good investment for those not ready to plant permanent roots.
However, solar shingles can be less energy efficient than solar panels. This can be especially true if a roof doesn’t have the best pitch or receives minimal sunlight throughout the day.
Ultimately, solar panels that look like shingles can be a good alternative to solar panels, depending on a homeowner’s unique energy needs and budget.
Existing Roof Removal
In certain circumstances, an existing roof must be removed before solar shingles are installed. The process involves removing the existing roofing material, including the underlayment, and preparing the area for new roofing or solar shingles.
It’s worth noting that an existing roof doesn’t always have to be removed before solar shingles can be installed. It depends on the type of solar shingles being installed. Some solar shingles are meant to be put directly into the roof deck, while others require removal of the old roofing material.
Homeowners will want to budget roughly 1,250 for removal and cleanup if the existing roof is removed. This cost may be higher if there are multiple layers of underlayment and old shingles to discard.
A solar shingle warranty is a guarantee from a manufacturer that the product will function as intended for a certain period of time. Warranties can also come from contractors in reference to their installations.
Warranties are not always automatic. Homeowners may need to register their solar shingles with the manufacturer to jumpstart their warranty. The length of a warranty can vary, along with its level of coverage. Most warranties last between 10 and 25 years and cover manufacturing defects. Damage caused by severe weather or fallen debris is often covered as well.
Choosing a solar roof tile with a longer warranty can cost more up front but can potentially save homeowners money on repairs down the line. It’s also important to note that certain actions or circumstances can void a warranty, including improper installation or lack of routine maintenance.
Tax Credits and Incentives
Tax credits and incentives can significantly reduce the up-front costs of solar shingle installations, making them more affordable to budget-conscious homeowners. The following are some ways a homeowner can find hidden savings when considering solar installations.
- On the federal level: The federal government offers solar investment tax credits in a certain percentage (it changes every year) for the total cost of a solar shingle installation, including labor and materials.
- On the state level: Some states, including California, Texas, New York, and Minnesota, offer tax credits and incentives for solar installations.
- From the manufacturer: Some manufacturers offer product rebates to help homeowners absorb initial installation costs.
Tax credits and incentives can change over time, so homeowners will want to stay informed of changes to avoid missing out on the best return. Also, tax credits apply only to homeowners who own their solar systems. While leasing solar panels or shingles is a great way to save on installation costs, tax credits are no longer an option in these scenarios.
Battery Backup System Installation
A battery backup system stores surplus energy generated by solar panels or shingles, which may then be used to power a home when there is no sunshine. A battery backup system can provide peace of mind during extreme weather events or help a property become more energy independent on a regular basis.
Battery backup systems can be incredibly useful—but they can also be pricey, costing between 10,000 and 21,000. This includes installation, which is best performed by a licensed professional to ensure system safety and functionality.
Homeowners installing a battery backup system may be eligible for tax credits or other incentives, which can help cover some up-front costs.
Benefits of Choosing Solar Shingles
Solar shingles provide a number of solar power benefits to homeowners wanting to lower their energy expenses and carbon impact. The benefits of solar shingles are discussed in more detail below.
Durability is one of the most significant benefits of solar shingles. Solar shingles don’t require frequent repairs or replacements, unlike traditional roofing materials. They are built to last, with the majority lasting 25 to 30 years.
Tempered glass is used to make solar shingles. It’s an incredibly strong material that can withstand harsh weather conditions, including hail, rain, and snow. Solar shingles are also resistant to corrosion and cracking.
The durability of solar shingles can help offset initial investment costs. Also, since solar shingles require minimal upkeep and can last for decades, homeowners can save money down the road by avoiding expensive repairs and replacements.
Decreased Energy Bills
Solar shingles convert sunlight into usable energy, reducing a homeowner’s dependence on traditional energy sources. This decrease in energy use can result in lower energy expenses, with the potential for significant savings over the lifespan of a solar shingle system.
Reduced energy bills from solar shingles are especially beneficial for homeowners who live in areas with high energy costs. Homeowners who can power their homes with a more sustainable energy source might shield themselves from future energy bill hikes and potentially enjoy more financial stability.
Solar shingles provide greater energy savings over time than traditional shingle materials. While the up-front costs of installing solar shingles may be higher, long-term savings from reduced energy bills can help offset a homeowner’s initial investment.
Lower Carbon Footprint
One of the main benefits of switching to solar shingles is that they can help reduce a homeowner’s carbon footprint. Traditional sources of energy emit carbon emissions and contribute to climate change. Installing solar shingles allows homeowners to lessen their dependence on such nonrenewable energy sources in a couple of different ways.
To start, compared to the production of traditional roofing materials, solar shingle production is much more eco-friendly. While the manufacturing process for solar shingles does require some energy, the amount is significantly lower than for other roofing materials.
Also, solar shingles generate their own electricity, allowing homeowners to rely less on the power grid. Lowering the electricity demand generated by power plants means fewer carbon emissions are put into the atmosphere.
Finally, using solar shingles allows homeowners to benefit from other eco-friendly avenues, including charging electric cars with solar energy.
Solar shingles can be a cost-effective investment in a few different ways. The most obvious way solar shingles can help a homeowner save money is by reducing energy bills by generating their own electricity. Additionally, many states offer tax breaks and incentives to homeowners who install solar shingles, which can help offset some of the initial costs.
Solar shingles can also increase a home’s value, as potential buyers may be willing to pay more for a unique and eco-friendly feature in a property.
Finally, solar shingles are made to be long-lasting and sturdy. Because the material requires less maintenance and fewer repairs than other roofing material, homeowners can save money over the lifespan of their solar shingle system.
Low Maintenance Requirements
Compared to other types of shingles, solar shingles are low-maintenance and can save homeowners time and money as a result. Solar shingles have no moving parts, making them less likely to break or require repairs.
Solar shingles also have a long lifespan and require less frequent replacement than traditional roofing materials. Homeowners who stay in their homes for decades may need to replace their roofs several times, but the frequency is likely to be less with solar shingles.
Additionally, solar shingles don’t require regular cleanings, even if trees or other objects above the roof drop debris.
Solar shingles are an aesthetically pleasing addition to a home, as they blend in with traditional roofing materials. This is an important feature, since most homes don’t need an entire roof of solar shingles but a much smaller section instead. By seamlessly blending with other materials, solar shingles can enhance a home’s aesthetics.
Solar shingles also come in various colors and styles, allowing homeowners to customize the look of their homes.
Finally, compared to solar panels, solar shingles are designed to be more low profile. They’re less obtrusive than solar panels yet provide adequate renewable energy.
Solar Shingles Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
When installing solar shingles, homeowners have two options: Do it themselves or pay a professional.
While a DIY route certainly offers some potential cost savings, there are vital considerations for homeowners to take into account before attempting a DIY solar shingle installation project.
First and most importantly, checking local solar panel installation regulations is paramount. Many states and counties require permits and inspections when solar equipment is being installed. Failing to comply with these regulations can leave a homeowner in hot water. Hiring a professional installer eliminates this risk, as they are well versed in ensuring installations are up to code.
Additionally, installing solar shingles requires a certain level of knowledge and expertise. While there are resources available for homeowners who want to DIY their installation, it’s important to know that a mistake can be costly and potentially dangerous. DIY installations may also not be covered under warranty or insurance.
Before deciding whether to go the DIY route or hire a professional, homeowners are also advised to consider the cost differences. Hiring a professional will likely be more expensive up front but can save money in the long run. Professionals can also access discounted materials and ensure an installation is done correctly the first time.
In fact, DIY installations don’t offer a lot of opportunities for cost savings. When installing solar shingles on their own, homeowners spend an average of 35 per square foot, bringing the total cost for a 1,500-square-foot roof to around 53,200 when all supplies are considered. This cost is similar to the average price of hiring a local professional to install a solar shingle roof.
Ultimately, deciding to install solar shingles themselves or hire a professional depends on a homeowner’s skills, experience, and comfort level. Before deciding whether a DIY installation is the best option, it’s important for a homeowner to consider all of the factors involved. Hiring a professional is likely the safest and most cost-effective route for most homeowners.
How to Save Money on Solar Shingles Cost
Installation costs can make solar shingles feel inaccessible for a cost-conscious homeowner. But there are several ways to save money on materials and installation costs. What follows are some money-saving tips to keep in mind.
- Look for deals. Shop around and get multiple quotes from different installation contractors to compare and find the best deal.
- Go for the most cost-effective option. Larger or more aesthetically pleasing systems aren’t always the most cost-effective, so choose carefully.
- Ask about financing. Choose the best financing option, taking time to research financing through the contractor, through a bank, or via a solar power purchase agreement.
- Choose off-season installation. Install during the off-season to take advantage of discounts or promotions.
- Research rebates and tax credits. Look into rebates from manufacturers, and speak to a tax professional to avoid missing out on local, state, and federal tax credits.
- Make other eco-conscious changes. Invest in energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs to reduce energy needs and maximize savings from a solar shingle system.
- Keep up with maintenance. Handle any necessary repairs as soon as possible to extend the lifespan of a solar shingle system.
Questions to Ask About Solar Shingles Installation
When investing in solar shingles, choosing the best contractor for the job is crucial. A poorly installed solar shingle system could reduce energy output or even damage a roof. Answering the following questions can help homeowners feel confident that their solar shingles will be installed correctly and safely.
- Are you licensed and insured to install solar shingles?
- How much experience with solar shingles do you have?
- Can you provide me with a list of references?
- Can you provide me with a detailed quote that includes the system size and proposed layout?
- Can you explain the installation process?
- Do you offer any financing options?
- Will you and your team be completing the work, or do you work with subcontractors?
- How do you ensure the safety of your workers during installations?
- Do you handle any necessary permits or inspections?
- What is the estimated timeline for an installation?
- Who do I contact if there’s an issue with my system down the road?
Investing in solar shingles is an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a sustainable and cost-effective energy source. By considering factors like system size and style while taking advantage of money-saving tips, homeowners can reduce solar shingles costs and enjoy the benefits of a renewable energy source. For those interested in solar shingles, the following list of frequently asked questions can offer more insight into the installation process.
Q. Can I walk on solar shingles?
A person can walk on solar shingles, but it’s not recommended unless necessary. While solar shingles are designed to be durable and can likely accommodate a person walking on them, this can increase the risk of damage and potentially affect the system’s efficiency. If a roof with solar shingles needs to be inspected or repaired, hiring a professional with the experience and necessary gear is best to minimize the risk of damage.
Q. Will solar shingles power my house?
Solar shingles can power an entire house, though it depends on a few factors, including how much energy the home needs and how much sunlight hits the property on a typical day. A system’s efficiency levels also play a role. An appropriately sized and functional solar power system can produce enough electricity to power a home for a day while storing excess energy for the evening or cloudy days. Working with a qualified contractor can help ensure a solar shingle system can meet the specific energy needs of a home.
Q. What is the average cost of solar shingles?
The average cost of solar shingles can range from 35,000 to 75,000, with a national average cost of around 55,000. The actual cost of solar shingles, including materials and installation, depends on the system size, shingle material and wattage, and the cost of local permits. It’s recommended that a homeowner get multiple quotes and consider their financing options to make the cost of solar shingles as affordable as possible.
Q. How long do solar shingles last on average?
Solar shingles can last between 25 and 30 years, depending on the manufacturer and the quality of installation. Investing in high-quality solar shingles and finding a skilled contractor can help ensure the system functions properly for decades. Regular inspections and proper maintenance can help extend the lifespan of solar shingles and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible.
Q. Are there any drawbacks of solar shingles?
While solar shingles offer homeowners many benefits, there are a few drawbacks for homeowners to consider. For example, solar shingles are one of the most expensive roofing materials available, and they’re typically less efficient than standard solar panels. Also, solar shingles aren’t compatible with every roof type. Despite these potential drawbacks, solar shingles are still popular for homeowners looking for a renewable energy source for their home.
Q. How many solar shingles will I need for my house?
The number of solar shingles a house will need depends on its size and typical energy usage. It’s important to note that replacing an entire roof with solar shingles is unnecessary. At the same time, factors such as the angle or direction of a roof and any trees or buildings that are blocking the sunlight can increase the recommended number of solar shingles. A qualified solar contractor can assess a home’s energy needs and make appropriate recommendations.
Solar shingle options
The Future is Solar Roofing Materials
Solar Shingles look great, save you money, and help the environment.
Our company has partnered with GAF Energy to create Timberline Solar™, the only roof system in the world that directly incorporates solar technology during traditional roofing installations. We are one of the first companies in the United States approved to install this cost-effective solar roofing system.
Homefix Custom Remodeling proudly serves homeowners in North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida.
The Benefits of Solar Shingles
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Solar shingles generate renewable energy from the sun, which reduces your carbon footprint and enhances your entire household’s eco-friendliness.
Increased Home Value
A solar installation will increase the resale value of your home. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), home values increase by 20 for every 1 saved on your utility bills.
There are numerous financial incentives available for homeowners to offset the cost of solar shingles, including federal and state tax credits, utility rebates, and leasing programs.
Solar shingles are mounted directly onto your roof, unlike conventional solar panels that stick out from the top of your house. You’ll get all the benefits of a full solar installation without any unsightly protrusions.
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WHY IS HOMEFIX THE BEST Solar Shingle Installation Company
We always aim to give our customers expert advice when installing solar shingles. Quality is essential to everything we do, and we adhere to these core principles:
We provide our clients with top-notch water-shedding, strong, and GAF-warranted solar shingles that can withstand winds up to 130 mph.
We install Energy Star solar shingles, which offer you a tax credit and make your roof safe for you and your family by converting your existing roof and adding sustainable energy sources.
Our products come in a range of design options, including the versatile Timberline Solar Energy Shingle™ or the world’s first solar shingle that can be nailed, Timberline Solar™.
Customer Service Financing Options
Homefix Custom Remodeling provides more than just state-of-the-art quality solar shingle replacement and installation.
We’ll assist you in finding a viable financing option with a secured or unsecured loan. We also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee because we stand behind every job we do. If you experience any issues with your new solar roof, don’t hesitate to reach out to your designated service manager for immediate assistance.
Real People, Real Homes
“Thank you very much for the new roof and new front door installation! And actually I appreciated your efforts so much I came back a second time for new energy efficient Windows.”
“My husband and I met with Has to have our Windows replaced in our home. He was very knowledgeable and helpful. He explained everything and answered all of our questions.”
This is my second time using HCR to install the rest of my Windows. The service and quality of the materials/Windows are top notch! I like quality and will pay for it. The service from the marketing and sales professionals all the way to the measurements person, finance person and QC person, yes all of them equal top notch service too. I love my Windows.
Frequently Asked Questions
New solar shingles in Maryland, Virginia, Tampa Florida, North Carolina and other nearby regions have a lifespan of about 20-30 years. However, it’s important to note that the exact lifespan will vary depending on the quality of the shingles and the installation process.
For example, if the shingles are not installed properly, they may only last for 10-15 years. Additionally, high-quality solar shingles may last up to 40 years. Ultimately, their lifespan largely depends on the individual product and installation.
Solar shingle replacement is becoming increasingly popular as it offers a number of advantages over other types of solar panels. They’re more aesthetically pleasing than traditional solar panels, which can be an important consideration for some homeowners. They’re also easier to install and offer a higher efficiency rating than most types of panels. Solar shingles from GAF energy are an excellent choice for those who want to generate their own electricity and save money on their energy bills.
Solar shingles are made out of the same materials as traditional roofing tiles, so they are just as waterproof. In fact, energy-efficient solar shingles are more resistant to cracking and breaking than regular roofing tiles. If you’re looking for waterproof roofing, reach out to our team to discuss your options.
Established in 1991, Homefix Custom Remodeling has been the leading company providing residents in Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina, and the nearby region with top-tier solar shingle installation and replacement. Our skilled technicians combine state-of-the-art technology with time-tested methods to bring our customers customized and energy-saving solutions for their properties. Besides rendering solar shingle services, you can also count on our team for cutting-edge roof installation and comprehensive gutter cover protection and replacement. Reach out today to set up a consultation with our team!
It takes an average of 28-36 solar shingles to power a typical U.S. home. The number of shingles you’ll need will depend on the size and energy efficiency of your home, as well as your local climate conditions.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels Tiles: How to Pick Cost per Square Foot
When you decide to switch to solar energy power, you’ll likely notice the option to choose between solar shingles vs solar panels.
But, knowing how to pick between the two and how much of the cost per square foot will run can be critical to ensure that you maximize your budget and receive the most for your money.
The significant difference between solar shingles vs solar panels and tiles is their aesthetic features, where panels stand out while shingles fit into the roof, not easily detectable.
This complete guide explains the additional differences based on outstanding features like cost per square foot, output, size, installation, maintenance, and other aspects.
What Are Solar Shingles?
DOW company introduced solar shingles/ solar roof tiles in 2011.
They increased in popularity when Tesla launched them in 2016, and to date, more people are adopting them as an excellent solution to renewable energy use. 5
These shingles consist of thin PV panels that transform the sun’s energy into electricity that powers residential homes.
Manufacturers market it as a unique alternative to solar panels since they blend into your roof’s design.
It takes a keen eye to notice them since they become part of your roof. It works if you want to avoid the PV system sticking out from the top.
The downside of the panels is that they can’t ‘move’ to collect direct sunlight.
Solar panels equipped with tracking systems follow the path of the sun to maximize their output and efficiency.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Roof Shingles?
Not many understand how solar shingles work, but from experience, users hail them for their impressive aesthetics and modern convenience. For one, the shingles blend effortlessly into your roof, remaining inconspicuous to passers-by.
They look like polished asphalt shingles, ideal for homeowners who want solar power minus the sticking put panels. Tesla is also working to produce the shingles in fun colors matching various roof types.
Secondly, many solar roofs have advanced tech, facilitating tracking of energy output, making them more modern, unlike panels. They also increase your home’s value which is an excellent investment if you resell.
Disadvantages of Solar Roof Tiles
While solar roofs have incredible qualities, you should also watch out for some downsides as a first-time buyer. Since they are relatively new to the market, unlike panels, it is more challenging to find installers, and it can take a while to set them up.
The price tag is one of the deciding factors in the solar shingles vs. solar panels war. Solar roof tiles are comparatively pricier than panels, given their features, and many find them worth it only when they need to replace their roofs. 6
Another disadvantage is that shingles fit into the roof’s angle. Therefore, you cannot adjust them according to the sunlight.
(Image: National Institute of Standards and Technology 13 )
The power output will be too low if the spot doesn’t receive sufficient rays.
Moving houses also becomes challenging because you may have to leave them intact for the next buyer to avoid tampering with the roof.
Lastly, note that there are more shingles for every panel in the same square foot, increasing the points of failure due to several electrical connections. 3
What Are Solar Panels?
The use of solar power dates back to over 100 years ago when people used it for locomotion in steam production.
Only later did Edmond Becquerel discover the Photovoltaic effect of the sun’s rays, leading to the invention of the first solar cell.
Solar panels developed from this, harnessing the sun’s photons and using them to disrupt electrons in the photovoltaic (PV) cells, which generates a direct electrical current (DC).
Today there are various types of solar panels for all your household and commercial needs, efficiently powering appliances and equipment.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels: How Do They Work?
Solar shingles and panels have the same working principle, transforming the sun’s rays into energy and electricity. The rays hit the shingles or the PV cells, and the system absorbs the light and does the rest.
The PV cells between the silicon materials and other semiconductors convert the sunlight into energy thanks to the electric field.
The shingles and panels working with the inverters transform the direct current to alternating current (AC) that powers all your home, vehicle, or appliances.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels: Cost and Other Comparisons
Solar shingles vs solar panels are a dilemma for first-timers, causing the need to know how to pick the better version as per their needs.
They work the same but have distinct concepts, including design, efficiency, installation mode, and price points.
The following are the significant differences.
One of the most impressive features of solar shingles is how they enhance a building’s aesthetics. 7 They go unnoticed thanks to how effortlessly they integrate with your roof; you can install them in place of new roofs if you have renovation plans, saving money for new roofing systems.
They are trendy, attractive, sleek, and lightweight. In contrast, you will always spot solar panels since you install them on your roof.
They are more massive and seem bulkier, which is unsuitable for a subtle look.
Solar roof tiles are similar to standard shingles, measuring 12 by 86 inches and less than an inch thick. They weigh 13 pounds a square foot, making them lighter and more flexible than typical panels.
They don’t apply excessive pressure on your house; you don’t need to install brackets and mounts. However, the size of standard solar panel differs since they measure 39 by 65 inches and weigh 40 pounds. 2
It explains why installers insist that your roof should be in excellent condition before set up; otherwise, it won’t survive the panels’ weight.
Solar shingles and panels are long-serving, maintaining their efficiency for 25-30 years. Thanks to advanced tech and improved performance, they can withstand the harsh elements and stay effective for over two decades, after which their output declines.
Solar panels have circulated in the market for longer than solar shingles. They are available in most areas and are the go-to for many wanting to install solar power in their homes and businesses.
However, solar roof tiles are scarce due to less supply in the market. Only a few brands are currently manufacturing them, contributing to the long waiting time when you want to install them.
Solar roofing shingles cost more than twice the price of standard solar panels, ranging between 40,000- 60,000 before tax credit based on the manufacturer, type of roof, and how you want it installed.
Generally, it costs 15-25 per square foot.
Solar installation is usually costly, but panels are relatively friendlier, costing 15,000- 26,000. 8
If you are worried about how much do solar panels cost, you will find them the cheaper alternative, costing 4-10 a square foot.
If you are in a hurry to set up solar power, the best way to go is to install solar panels because the process takes only a day, and you can DIY to save on extra costs. The only rule is that your roof must be in excellent condition.
However, solar shingles installation takes longer, averaging a week or two, depending on the nature of your roof and the design you want. It is more skill intensive and tasking to DIY, and you may have to leave it to the professionals.
Another critical deciding factor to consider when comparing solar shingles and solar panels is their output levels. 4 Since you can adjust panels and point them directly beneath the sun’s rays, you can significantly improve their performance.
They usually produce 250-400W, which is higher than the performance of shingles. Solar roofs are less effective because you cannot adjust them, and they don’t allow for proper airflow beneath them.
Most produce only 13- 63W, lower than panel performance.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels: Pros and Cons
Solar panels and roof tiles are fantastic ways to reduce your family or business’s carbon footprint. They work the same but are two different technologies, and the following breakdown may help you pick your favorite.
|Solar roof tiles are aesthetic, sleek, attractive, and modern.||They are more expensive.|
|They don’t stick out and can go undetected while on the roof.||They have a low power output, unlike panels.|
|They help increase your property’s value.||Their failure rate is higher.|
|They feature more advanced tech.||They are scarce in the market since they are new products.|
|They are more affordable||They are bulkier and stick out more while on the roof.|
|They are more readily available in the market.||Your roof must be intact before installation.|
|They are more efficient; have a high power outpu||They need more room on the roof since they are larger.|
|They are less likely to fail.|
|Installation is simple and takes a short time; you can DIY and customize it.|
Solar Shingles Can Be Nailed In
A striking difference between solar panels and shingles is their installation methods. However, manufacturers like GAF Energy have introduced a new solar tile concept where you nail the sheets onto your roof.
The best aspect of this design is that installation takes a day or two, unlike conventional shingles, which need more than a week.
Additionally, the shingles that you nail down are usually cheaper.
When To Use Tesla Solar Roof vs Solar Panels
The Tesla solar roof, courtesy of Tesla energy, is an impressive design gradually gaining traction in the market. 9 Like other products from the company, it is high-tech and sleek and stands out from other designs from various manufacturers.
You can go for it if the budget is not an issue, although it is usually a deal breaker for many first-timers. It costs almost thrice the price of standard solar panels, but you get your money’s worth if going for the aesthetic appeal.
If panels stick out too much for you, subtle solar roof tiles are better options. They are also lighter and slimmer; you don’t need extra support or harnesses to keep them up.
Are Solar Shingles Right For You?
One of the first questions from homeowners is, are solar shingles worth it? They are new to the scene, highly innovative, and have an impeccable design, but with some downsides.
They are more expensive and less efficient than solar panels.
(Image: National Renewable Energy Laboratory 14 )
However, improving your house’s value and wanting an inconspicuous look is worth the investment. It often goes unnoticed and integrates effortlessly with your roof.
It is also long-lasting, like panels, and can serve you for over 20 years. 1
Solar panels and shingles are viable solutions to help reduce your utility bills while being kind to the environment. 10 Solar roof tiles win in aesthetics thanks to their sleek, lightweight, and modern design.
The only challenge is that they cost more per square foot and are less efficient than panels.
On the contrary, solar panels are cheaper, more effective, and readily available. The problem is that they are heavier, which can be a detriment on an older roof installation.
The solar shingles vs solar panels comparison is close because each has a fair share of ups and downsides, and the solution narrows down to personal preference.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels, Which Is Expensive?
Given the advanced sleek design, solar shingles are more expensive than panels. They retail at and cost 40,000- 60,000 before tax credit.
In contrast, solar panels are significantly cheaper, at 4-10 a square foot, and usually cost 15,000- 26,000, making them ideal if you are on a budget.
How Much Does Solar Roof Cost?
A solar roof is the most expensive in the market, and it can set you back 40 000- 60 000 based on factors like the brand and installation method.
It is usually 15-25 per square foot, hence only affordable for some homeowners. However, the sleek, lightweight look is worth every penny if your budget is flexible.
What Are Solar Shingles Cost Per Square Foot?
Solar roof tiles are the pricier option of other designs, considering that it is a new tech and careful construction that fits into roofs. They usually cost 15-25 per square foot, the most expensive rate in the solar power market.
Are There Solar Panels That Look Like Shingles?
Since there are many solar panel manufacturers in the market, tight competition leads to designing slimmer and lightweight panels. You can check your local stores for brands that produce the sleekest design.
They may not precisely look or work like solar roof tiles but may come close in design and tech advancements. The installation method will also be the same as any other panel, but the different look makes it stand out.
1 Greenlancer. (2022, May 18). Solar Shingles Vs. Solar Panels. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from Greenlancer
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3 Noor, U. (2020, June 24). SOLAR SHINGLES VS. SOLAR PANELS: CONSIDERATIONS, BEST PRACTICES AND MORE. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from 8M Solar
4 Stillwell, D. (2022, July 17). Solar shingles vs. solar panels. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from Consumer Affairs
5 This Old House. (2023, October 3). Should You Buy Solar Shingles? Retrieved March 25, 2023, from This Old House
6 National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2000). Solar Roofing Shingles: Office of Power Technologies (OPT) Success Stories Series Fact Sheet. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
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13 National Institute of Standards and Technology. US Department of Commerce. Retrieved from