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How To Hide Solar Panels On Your Roof. Inconspicuous solar panels

How To Hide Solar Panels On Your Roof. Inconspicuous solar panels

    Solar Shingles: Turn Your Roof a Power Source (5 Brands)

    In the U.S., residential solar installations have been continuously increasing during the last few years, reaching 1GWDC in the Q4 of 2021.

    This solar energy adoption is driven by many factors, such as the cutting-edge technologies that are being developed, like instance solar shingles.

    Out there in the market, there are many solar shingle manufacturers. To help you decide which brand and product is best for your needs, we chose 4 different solar shingle companies as an alternative to Tesla solar shingles. For each brand, we will check out the products they offer, breaking down their characteristics and more importantly let you know if a solar shingle might be a good match for you.

    Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made from our affiliates through links in this article. (Learn )

    At are solar shingles and how do they work?

    Solar shingles are basically solar cells that convert the sun’s radiation into usable electricity, but also, they work as the roofing material for your home. These roofing solar cells are commonly shaped into shingles or tiles which are seamlessly arranged to provide structural support for the house roof and other types of buildings.

    Using solar shingles allows you to have a roof that achieves two functions: generate clean energy and give your home, office or any other of your buildings, an aesthetic look.

    Composition/Structure

    Solar shingles or tiles are made of solar cells that are commonly manufactured using semiconductor materials, such as monocrystalline silicon and copper-indium-gallium selenide. The cells are assembled in bands or strips to form the shingle or tile shape.

    In addition, since solar shingles are quite thin, this allows them to have greater flexibility and be lightweight.

    How do solar shingles work?

    Solar shingles or tiles perform as roofing material for your home. The main idea is to combine the solar cells with the roof sheathing rather than mounting solar modules on top of the shingles.

    Solar shingle’s basic principle works just the same as with conventional solar panels. In other words, the PV cells absorb sunlight in order to produce a flow of free electrons, which results in generating an electrical current that can power electrical equipment. The difference between solar shingles and solar panels is mainly their construction.

    Why should you choose solar shingle technology?

    In order to help you analyze whether choosing solar shingles for your photovoltaic system is the right option, we summarize and list the pros and cons of having them:

    Pros

    • Perfect solution for those cases in which a roof replacement is required.
    • Elegant and sleek design provides a futuristic look to your roof.
    • No obstructions from solar panels will be visible on the roof.
    • No external wiring that could be exposed to damage and cause potential hazards.
    • No weak spots on the roof from roof penetrations as with conventional solar systems.

    Cons

    • Higher upfront costs and lower return of investment (ROI) than conventional rooftop solar panels (unless roof is to be replaced).
    • Solar shingles generally have less energy efficiency than standard solar modules.
    • Few companies perform solar shingle installation.

    What is the average cost of solar shingle technologies?

    The amount of money you are going to pay for installing solar shingles in your roof is going to depend on your energy usage, the conditions, and age of your roof, the solar shingle manufacturer, and other factors.

    However, the cost of going with solar shingles can go anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000 whereas Tesla’s solar roof is generally located in the high-end scenario.

    Reviews of the best solar shingle brands

    Tesla’s Solar Roof

    Elon Musk presented the Solar Roof back in 2016. Since then, the product has gained huge popularity across the U.S. and other countries.

    It’s clear that the Solar Roof provides a futuristic and sleek look for homes and other types of buildings. Although, the Solar Roof is quite an expensive product and still not as efficient as conventional solar panels.

    Tesla’s Solar Roof consists of a rooftop built with solar shingles that contain solar cells. There are two types of shingles used in the final product design: the active ones, those which produce electricity, and the inactive ones, which just act as a roofing material. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using the Solar Roof.

    Advantages

    • Aesthetics: Solar Roof offers 4 different styles of tile. All have a modern and distinguished looking design.
    • Durability: It is claimed to be resistant to hail, wind, and fire, as well as to mechanical forces. Solar Roof is backed by ANSI standard tests.
    • Warranty: Offers a 25-year tile and power and weatherization warranty.
    • Renowned brand: Who is not excited to have a product of a brand like Tesla? Claimed to be one of the leaders of a zero-carbon emissions future.

    Disadvantages

    • High upfront Cost: Compared to building a new roof or replacing an existing one plus adding a regular solar system mounted on the rooftop, it can be 2 to 3 times more expensive to buy the solar roof of Tesla. Depending on the complexity of your roof, you could end up paying a total of somewhere between 40,000 to 70,000 to install the solar shingles.
    • Low ROI: Depending on many factors like your energy usage habits, the size of the system, your location, and others, the solar roof may have a very low payback in a 25-year lifetime compared to conventional solar systems. In some cases, it could simply be not economically viable.

    Considering the previous facts, it would be interesting to look for possible alternatives to buy and install solar shingles. Let’s check out some of them.

    CertainTeed Solar Shingles

    Another important brand that has been leading the roofing technology in the US for a long time is CertainTeed. It offers two different product alternatives related to solar shingles.

    Design Choices

    • Apollo Shingle ll: This design has solar shingles that can be installed in a new or existing asphalt shingle roof. The result is a combination of regular asphalt shingles and active solar shingles.
    • Apollo Tile ll: This product offers a more integrated design by using tiles that are embedded to a new or an existing concrete tile roof.

    Performance

    In both Apollo Shingle II and Apollo Tile ll systems, 14 high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells are used in every tile/shingle with a power rating of 70 watts per piece. The conversion efficiency of the shingles and the tiles are 17.2% and 17.8% respectively. In addition, both have an operating temperature that can go anywhere between.40˚C and 90˚C.

    Both systems are relatively easy to install, they are placed directly into the roof sheathing using standard deck screws, just as conventional asphalt and concrete tiles are installed.

    Their weight is much less than conventional tiles at three pounds per square foot. over, they are long-lasting withstanding up to 250 pounds per square foot. Also, they are waterproof and can resist high wind velocities of 140mph.

    Aesthetics

    Apollo II provides all-black solar shingles which look like suitable solar stripes or bands placed over the roof.

    On the other hand, Apollo Tile II matches the profile of flat concrete tiles. These tiles look like black solar laminate with a custom-colored frame that can complement a wide variety of earth-toned concrete tile colors.

    Cost

    The cost might change depending on your energy requirements, the difficulty of installation, your roof inclination, and roof age. However, some estimations are shown in the following table.

    ProductCost per watt

    These figures are estimated and subject to changes depending on the specifics of the project, which can elevate the costs by 25%.

    Warranty

    CertainTeed offers a 25-year limited power warranty claimed to be all-encompassing. The coverage includes 25 years on installation workmanship, PV cells, microinverters, and mounting system. Also, comprises 12 years on optimized inverters, 10 years on wind, and 5 years on data monitoring hardware.

    Suntegra Solar Shingles

    Another important player in the solar roofing industry is Suntegra, which claims to give a 2-in-1 roof and solar solution by providing solar cells that generate electricity and a roofing material that protects your home or building. It gives installers a cutting-edge way to integrate solar directly into the sloped roof of a house, commercial building, or carport.

    Additionally, Suntegra products are regarded to be constructed with 50% fewer materials than conventional rack-mounted PV systems and thus, they might be an alternative to adjust efficiently to your budget.

    Available Options

    • Suntegra shingles: Like the Apollo ll system, Suntegra also includes a solar shingles that are placed on a new or existing roof composed by asphalt shingles.
    • Suntegra tiles: Similar to the Apollo tile design, this system integrates to the existing concrete tiles that are inserted in combination with inactive concrete tiles. They can also be used when a new roof is to be built.

    Performance

    The solar shingles of Suntegra offer 3 different models with a range of power output between 105W and 114W. All of them use 24 monocrystalline cells per piece, capable of achieving an electrical efficiency from 15.9% to 17.2%.

    On the other hand, Suntegra tiles have lower efficiency than the shingles, ranging from 13.9% to 15.1%. Also, the tiles have 16 monocrystalline cells per piece.

    Both tiles and shingles have a maximum wind rating of 130mph and a maximum static load rating of 112 pounds per square foot or 5,400Pa. In addition, the temperature operating range is the same as the Certainteed product (between.40˚C and 90˚C).

    Aesthetics

    Both Suntegra shingles and tiles offer a low-profile, all-black, and pleasing-looking. They are characterized for being a discrete installation, almost hidden and barely noticeable from the ground level, which makes them an elegant design for any home or building.

    Price

    Just as we did with the CertainTeed shingles and tiles, estimations on the cost are shown in the table below, which are subjected to variations depending on the conditions of your roof, energy requirements, and location.

    ProductCost per watt

    Warranty

    For both shingles and tiles, Suntegra offers a 10-year product warranty and a 25-year power output warranty.

    Forward Solar Shingles

    In the few recent years, Forward startup company has had significant growth in the solar shingles market. Forward offers an engineered integration of the roof and the solar cells by the means of state-of-the-art technology and a unique aesthetic that matches the classical U.S. home.

    They offer their star product called Forward Metal Solar Roof, claimed to be a cost-effective and efficient solution that harvests a great amount of clean energy while it gives a sleek and futuristic appearance using shining metal standing seam type of roof. The system comes in 8 different possible colors to cover all requirements.

    It has a non-solar portions cost of 9.75 per square foot and a 3.75 per watt cost related to the solar parts, which are quite competitive compared to the previous brands mentioned. Also, it has a weatherization warranty of 30 years.

    The product is claimed to achieve an energy density of 19 watts per square foot while having an excellent thermal performance by the means of a passive ventilation system, which optimizes the heat dissipation and the airflow between shingles and your roof deck.

    Additionally, this design is claimed to be reliable, robust, long-lasting, and can withstand powerful mechanical forces. The most interesting fact about Forward is that they are probably the only valuable brand available that offers a solar-roof integrated solution based on metal standing seam roof type, making it perfect not only for homes but also for garages, barns, and other industrial types of roofs.

    Luma Solar Shingles

    Luma Solar is another important interesting solar shingle company that has been gaining momentum for many years in the US. It’s recognized by having solar shingles products with a high rate of electrical efficiency while also having a futuristic, seamless, and luxurious looking. Luma offers results in your house that have combinations between active and inactive solar shingles.

    The price changes depending on the conditions, roof complexity, energy requirements, and others. However, estimations set the average cost of the solar shingles of Luma at 4.5 per watt and could go up to 38 per square foot.

    Additionally, it offers a 25-year limited power warranty at 80% and a 5-year limited product warranty.

    Performance

    Luma Solar Roof claims to have solar shingles with an incredible conversion efficiency of 22,1%, which is even higher than standard solar panels. It uses 16 monocrystalline 80W cells per shingle.

    It handles a temperature operation range between.40˚C to 85˚C, having a great thermal and airflow management that maintains excellent levels of energy yields.

    Additionally, every shingle weighs 19.8 lbs., and they are designed to withstand mechanical forces of 2,400 Pa for static wind loading and 5,400 for static load snow loading.

    Aesthetics

    Luma offers a distinguished good looking for your house, not only because of its futuristic appearance but also because of the Matte black finish, which gives a sleek line.

    Are these “solar shingle technologies” right for you?

    All the products mentioned above will provide an extraordinary aesthetic view for your home. Not to mention that some of them will offer the functionality of performing as the roofing material and act as the structural support by the means of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV).

    Replacing roof or just adding solar?

    If you are only looking for a solar PV system, installing solar shingles in the roof of your home can be an interesting alternative to go with if your requirements are more focused on aesthetical objectives than on cost-effective and efficient goals. From an economical point of view, it is still hard for solar shingles to compete with conventional solar panel systems.

    However, in cases where changing your roof is necessary, solar shingles may present themselves as a more economically viable choice that combines both approaches into one for a cost similar to a solar panel system plus roof installation. In some other cases, replacing your roof may not be what you need, but the structural engineer may require you to replace the roof to make the solar panel installation feasible. If you find yourself in a situation like that, you may want to reconsider going with a solar shingle installation.

    New Home?

    Another situation where solar roof shingles can definitely be a great choice is for new houses. Choosing solar shingles since the construction process can drastically reduce the cost impact, increase your ROI, and ease the installation process.

    Compare Quotes!

    In any case, if you are interested in solar shingles, it is advisable for you to get a quote for your roof-specific layout and compare it with other conventional solar panel systems plus roofing installation quotes. This will allow you to find out which approach would best suit your needs. However, keep in mind that in the end, the house will always look better with solar shingles, which is a plus to consider for the value of your property.

    Shingled solar panels: A must-consider solar shingle alternative

    Finally, shingled solar panels are an innovative technology which is carrying out a wide range of advanced features in terms of solar energy optimization.

    They should not be confused with solar shingles, which are part of BIPV, whereas solar shingled panels are more similar to standard solar panels but with cells that are cut into several strips that are subsequently connected to form modules by the means of an electrically conductive adhesive (ECA).

    Major developments on this technology have taken place in the residential sector so far. Solar shingled panels are a promising technology that is much less expensive and more efficient technology than solar shingles.

    Final Thoughts

    We have examined multiple solar shingle products and brands with the objective to show you some of the best brands available in the market today. We learned that a solar roof shingle investment is a solution that must balance aesthetics and functionality where the new shingles of your roof will actually be generating electricity.

    However, we also learned that the decision to install it must be balanced with the costs for such type of project since they can be considerable depending on the house. New houses or cases where a roof replacement is required due to structural stability reasons, are probably the best ones for solar shingle installations. In these cases, the economics can definitely be balanced with the benefits of a high-end finish.

    Solar shingles still have a long way to go and with the variety of products available for multiple roof types that go from shingles, concrete standard tiles, and even metal standing seam, there are plenty of choices that you can consider to start generating clean energy and potentially improve the look for your house. comment

    hide, solar, panels, your, roof

    Last updated: February 15, 2022

    How To Hide Solar Panels On Your Roof

    Solar panels are the future for our energy depleted earth and are an efficient means to reduce our carbon footprint. Solar panels in the home to reduce monthly electricity bills and allow homeowners some autonomy from the ‘grid.’ As impressive as modern solar systems are, they can be rather visually unappealing on a roof and interfere with modern and traditional homes’ roof profile.

    That got me thinking, are there ways to hide solar panels without compromising their efficiency? To hide solar panels on your roof, you could opt for the all-black solar panels or aluminum coverings that mimic your roof’s color. Otherwise, you may choose in-roof solar panels, building-integrated solar panels, solar roof skins, or invisible photovoltaic roof tiles.

    These systems are generally more expensive to install but reduce the visual disadvantage of traditional panels. If you want to embrace a solar-powered future and retain the aesthetics of a conventional roof, here are some ways to do it.

    Aesthetic Panels

    The traditional solar panel roof systems could be rather unsightly, regardless of their multiple benefits. The attachment hardware or ‘racking’ includes aluminum rails and flashing as well as L feet which can be rather conspicuous.

    Aluminum is a shiny material and tends to stand out on a roof and affects the home’s aesthetics and profile, giving a cluttered and unsightly appearance.

    hide, solar, panels, your, roof

    Modern solar installers have improved the aesthetics of the traditional panels by making the color uniform and hiding the eye-catching racking from plain sight.

    The all-black panels are a far less visible option with a solid black back panel system that eliminates the lines and aluminum frame of the standard panels. An excellent example of this black panel is the LG NeON 2 black.

    Alternatively, you can reduce the visual impact of blue solar panels by using black mounting hardware…or even rail-less mounts…and painting the aluminum racking black without adding too much to your solar panel costs. Installers can even match the racking system to your existing roof shade so that the worst of the installation materials are less noticeable.

    However aesthetic they may make the conventional solar roof panels, the fact that they are built above the roof itself is the main reason why solar roof panels can appear unappealing.

    Luckily, you have some options to eliminate this visual imperfection and to achieve your solar energy requirements.

    In Roof Solar Panels

    Instead of being placed onto your roof, solar roof panels replace the tiles and slates on your roof and sit flush on your roofline, unlike above roof rack-mounted systems. Instead of detracting from the profile of your roof, the panels become part of your existing roof without destroying its visual appeal.

    The system generally looks like a darker skylight without any visible racking and rails of the traditional solar panels. Unfortunately, this application is not readily available in the US as yet, but companies such as Viridian Solar has taken on very well in the UK. There is a 3% less energy efficiency due to the increased heat of this flush solar panel system, which may turn some homeowners away from the in-roof benefits.

    Building Integrated Solar Panels (BIPV)

    BIPV is gaining popularity in both commercial and residential fields due to the integrated aesthetics of the solar panel operation.

    So, what is BIPV? BIPVs are made up of solar cells incorporated into the building structure, such as curtain walls, railings, and roof tiles. As well as looking more natural, they can also provide sun protection, insulation, and reduce external noise.

    Increasingly companies are targeting the residential sector from its initial commercial FOCUS, such as World Technology Corporations Sunslates, which can mimic slate shingles, wood, and composition shingles.

    Solar panels—The best in the UK (2023)

    An all-inclusive guide on the best solar panels in the UK in 2023 to help you select the best brand for your home.

    Affiliate Disclaimer: All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Solar panels are renewable energy devices that convert sunlight into electricity through photovoltaic (PV) cells. They offer the benefits of lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint. Coupled with an 82% reduction in solar panel over the last decade, it’s no mystery why homeowners are increasingly making the switch.

    With the average residential energy costs in the UK set at £2,500 annually from October 1, 2022, until April 2023, and the growing trend of households adopting sustainable technology, there has been a boom in demand for solar panels.

    The UK Government provides schemes to incentivise homeowners to install green energy technology. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) programme pays you for exporting electricity to the national grid, while the Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO4) offers grants to low-income households to invest in energy-saving technologies. From April 2022, the VAT for this technology also dropped from 5% to 0% for five years, which means you could save up to £1,000 on solar panel installation costs.

    However, choosing the right solar panel system for your home can be challenging, given the many companies available. To help you make the right choice, we’ve researched the best solar panels in the UK in 2023. We’ve analysed costs, performance, warranty, and power output while providing you with some key things to consider when selecting your solar panels.

    What are solar panels?

    Solar panels are flat, framed surfaces that lie parallel to your roof. They are either rail-mounted or integrated into the tiling and are designed to collect energy from the sun, converting it to usable electricity.

    Solar panels use a process known as the photovoltaic effect. When the sun’s energy hits the panels, it heats the silicon cells that make up the panels. The increased temperature energises electrons within the cells and causes them to move. It’s this movement that generates the electric current, which is transported along the busbars to the solar converter. The current is then changed from direct current (DC) power to alternating current (AC), which is used to power your home.

    How much do solar panels cost UK?

    Solar panel systemFamily sizePanels costEstimated installation costTOTALPotential annual energy bill savingsPayback period

    The most popular size of a solar panel installation in the UK is a 4 kW system, which generates enough power for a family of four. The typical price of this is around £6,800, including the installation. Depending on your electrical use, you should save approximately £1,000 annually, which sets the break-even point at seven years. Until March 2027, there is 0% VAT on solar panels, increasing your savings, and with the cost of energy predicted to continue to rise, your panels will likely pay for themselves even sooner.

    Project Solar Evolution Elite 400

    Project Solar Evolution Elite 400 solar panels (Image credit: Project Solar)

    • Price range: O n request
    • Power output: 395 W to 415 W
    • Efficiency: 20.2% to 21.22%
    • Product warranty: Lifetime
    • Performance warranty: Lifetime
    • Limited peak power warranty: 12 years at 92%, 25 years at 85%, 30 years at 80%

    Project Solar UK is a front-runner in the solar panel industry, despite having only 10 years of experience. Customers love their high-quality design and installation service, earning them a 4.1/5 score on Trustpilot.

    The Evolution Elite 400 takes our top spot, providing a maximum power output of up to 415W with a good efficiency rating of over 20%. This is possible through the use of monocrystalline solar modules and high-efficiency PERC (passivated emitter and rear contact) cell technology. The solar panel boasts an impressive 10% more power output per square metre than standard modules and also provides excellent performance in low light conditions.

    With lifetime warranties on the product and performance, and the limited peak power warranty ensuring 80% power output at 30 years, the solar panels provide a good blend of power, reliability, and style due to their all-black look.

    The company is backed by industry-leading organisations such as the Home Insulation and Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme (HIES) and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). So you can be assured of the quality of the solar panels and the installation with this company.

    Costs

    The company does not release the price of its single panels. It provides quotations based on a free assessment in which they inspect the roof type, style, and requirements. According to Project Solar, a typical household system is approximately £8,000.

    What we like

    The Evolution Elite 400 is a top-of-the-line solar panel system offering a great blend of efficiency, power output, and reliability. The guaranteed output of 80% at 30 years and the lifetime warranty make it a secure investment for your home and a system you can connect and forget.

    SunPower Maxeon 3

    SunPower Maxeon 3 solar panels (Image credit: SunPower Maxeon)

    • Price range: £350 upwards
    • Power output: From 415 W to 430 W
    • Efficiency: 21.9% to 22.7%
    • Product warranty: 40 years
    • Performance warranty: 40 years
    • Performance degradation: 98% output during the first year, then 0.25% degradation per year

    Established in 1985, SunPower is an industry giant. With more than 1,000 solar technology patents, it’s known for providing the highest-efficiency solar panels on the market. The Maxeon 3 solar panel boasts an efficiency of up to 22.7%—the highest on the market—and has a power output starting at 415 W.

    This solar panel is designed for durability and performance. With its 112 Monocrystalline Maxeon Gen 3 cell configuration and patented metal foundation, it provides up to 25% more energy in its first year of operation. Furthermore, its performance degradation rate of 0.25% per year is one of the lowest on the market—standard panels degrade at 0.75% per year. By year 25, the panel can still produce around 92% power output.

    You’ll also get an industry-leading 40-year limited product warranty and a 40-year limited power warranty, with a maximum annual degradation of 0.25%. Based on real test data, only one in 20,000 panels have been returned under warranty.

    Recognition by prestigious institutions like Cradle to Cradle and TÜV Rheinland and its certification as a top performer in 2022 for PVEL’s Product Qualification Program (PQP) are indications of the company’s product quality.

    Costs

    The Maxeon 3 solar panels are the definition of “quality doesn’t come cheap”, with a price range of £300 to £350 per panel (excluding installation and labour costs). We recommend comparing the quotes with multiple companies to negotiate the best deal.

    What we like

    The Maxeon 3 solar panels are top performers with an industry-leading warranty period, and the highest efficiency and lowest performance degradation on the market—but that comes at a high cost. They’re ideal for households with heavy power consumption that need a system to perform for years without any problems.

    JA Solar JAM60S20

    JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels (Image credit: JA Solar)

    • Price range: £100 to £206
    • Power output: 370 W to 395 W
    • Efficiency: 21.0%
    • Product warranty: 12 years
    • Performance warranty: 25 years linear power output warranty
    • Performance degradation : 0.55% annual degradation over 25 years

    Since its inception in 2005, JA Solar has quickly made a name for itself in the global solar panel market, with products available in 135 countries. The company has succeeded in the market and is listed as one of the Global Top 500 New Energy Enterprises.

    The JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels are built with multi-busbar PERC monocrystalline cells in a 120 (6×20) configuration that allows for higher power output of up to 395 W, efficiency of up to 21.0%, and better temperature-dependent performance.

    When compared to brands like Project Solar and SunPower, the company’s 12-year limited product warranty and 25-year linear power output warranty are considerably lower. However, the panel can provide 83.1% power output in year 25, with a maximum annual degradation of 0.55%, which is on par with other leading brands.

    Don’t let the price fool you—JA Solar’s products are endorsed by leading organisations such as TÜV Rheinland and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). They’ve also been recognised as a Top Performer in 2022 for PVEL’s Product Qualification Program (PQP), alongside SunPower—and the quality lives up to expectations.

    Costs

    At a price range of £100 to £206, the JAM60S20 is one of the cheapest solar panels available on the market. These panels are perfect for financially savvy homeowners. Based on our research, a fully installed 4 kW system from JA Solar will cost approximately £6,000.

    What we like

    The JA Solar JAM60S20 solar panels are great for clients who want to enjoy the benefits of solar energy on a budget. The panels provide great output and efficiency, and even the performance degradation is on par with other leading brands. However, the warranty period is only 12 years, which may cause issues down the road.

    Sharp SunSnap ND-F2Q235

    Sharp SunSnap ND-F2Q235 solar panels (Image credit: Sharp)

    • Price range: £300 per panel
    • Power output: 325 W
    • Efficiency: 14.4%
    • Product warranty: 25 years
    • Performance warranty: 25 years

    Designed to blend discreetly with your roof, Sharp’s SunSnap ND-F2Q235 solar panels are one of the best-selling models on the market, and have been for several years. Continually refined, they remain a high-end option for many homeowners.

    Sharp, founded in 1912 and a trusted name in home electronics, developed its solar panel range more than half a century ago, culminating in the world’s most efficient panel—an accolade now owned by SunPower.

    The SunSnap panels offer a compact, stylish design, foregoing the need for mounting rails and delivering a near-seamless blend with your roof tiles. This makes them the ideal choice for listed properties or those in conservation areas. Using 60 polycrystalline cells per panel, they feature laminated and tempered glass, which copes well in extreme temperatures.

    Sharp’s SunSnap ND-F2Q235 solar panels provide a standard-level performance with 14.4% efficiency and 235-watt production, making them ideal for homes with lower energy needs.

    Costs

    At £300 per solar panel, you should expect to pay around £1,800 for a six-panel system, suitable for a one- or two-person household, or up to about £4,500 for a 14-panel system, generating enough electricity for a four or five-person family.

    What we like

    Sharp is a solid household name, known for delivering quality products that look good and perform well, and their SunSnap panels continue this tradition.

    Designed to be sleek, these panels will likely appeal to homeowners that value the appearance of their property. Delivering a decent performance efficiency-wise, these panels are reliable, well designed, and readily available.

    LG NeON H BiFacial

    LG NeON H BiFacial solar panels (Image credit: LG)

    • Price range: £350 per panel
    • Power output: 350 W to 400 W
    • Efficiency: 19.8% to 22%
    • Product warranty: 25 years
    • Performance warranty: 25 years

    Marketed as a premium model, LG’s NeON H BiFacial solar panels are the last ones to be manufactured by tech giant LG. Once an industry leader, LG left the solar panel sector in mid-2022. However, the NeON H will remain on the market while supplies last.

    LG’s innovative Cello technology allows its sixth generation panels to capture more than 30% more sunlight than its competitors by employing both faces of the panels—generating more electricity from a small footprint. This new technology also prevents the performance level from dropping on cloudy days. As a result, LG has won the EUPD Research Award for the last six years and the Inter Solar award for the last three.

    To transport the extra solar energy, LG has increased the number of bus bars from five on most panels to nine on the NeON H. Think of bus bars as motorways carrying rush hour traffic; with extra lanes, everyone gets to work early, avoiding traffic jams and hold ups. bus bars equals a more efficient solar panel.

    Costs

    Many manufacturers of solar panels throw all their research and development budgets into keeping production costs as low as possible. LG hasn’t followed this pattern, instead investing heavily in increasing panel performance and efficiency. The result is a product that, whilst not the least expensive, is certainly superior for output and reliability.

    What we like

    LG has been involved in the solar industry since 1985, and there aren’t many competitors that have invested as much in manufacturing such a premium-performing panel. Cello technology is an exciting prospect for the solar sector, but to date, LG is one of the few producing residential panels with this feature. For those who can afford the slightly higher price point, the NeON H is an excellent investment.

    The environmental benefits of switching to solar energy

    Many of the worlds’ governments are pushing the benefits of renewable energy, including wind, water, and solar, with good reason. Just one hour of solar energy can provide enough electricity to power the entire globe for a year. With such an infinite resource, it can help countries move away from fossil fuels that are not only harmful to life, but are a major contributor to environmental damage and greenhouse gases.

    When first installed, a solar panel system has a carbon footprint of around 14–73 grams per kWh ; for comparison, the average footprint of using oil is about 742 grams per kWh.

    After two to three years, a solar system becomes carbon neutral. It has prevented more emissions being released than were created during its manufacture. This significantly reduces your households’ total carbon footprint.

    Solar panel aesthetics

    Increasingly, customers demand solar panels that are not only energy efficient but that look stylish or blend in with their existing roof. Manufacturers wanting to keep ahead of their competitors are now putting more effort into the design aesthetics of panels.

    As a result, some best selling models tick the boxes for both efficient output and stylish good looks. The typical grid line design serves several purposes. Firstly, the white corner gaps allow the cells to expand in the sun, with the white being the visible backing material. The aluminium or copper lines, also called busbars, are the paths electrons take as electricity is generated. Fortunately, there are ways to make these lines much more discreet, if not do away with them altogether.

    This is what SunPower has done with its Maxeon panels—create a truly black panel with no busbars or visible frame. Sleek, smooth, and aesthetically superior, this is an ideal solution for properties with slate roofs, and for tiled roofs, the mirrored glass could pass as an envy-inducing skylight.

    Solar panels are generally mounted on rails, allowing them to capture the sun’s energy more efficiently; however, Sharp’s SunSnap ND-F2Q235 has eliminated the need for rails, blending seamlessly with your roof tiles. Sharp panels are perfect for listed properties or homes in conservation areas, generating an excellent output while being unobtrusive.

    Solar panels installed on an outbuilding and supplying a country property with power (Image credit: Adobe)

    Solar panels generating enough energy to power a stunning Scandinavian-style self build (Image credit: Adobe)

    Suburban homes in the south of England enjoying the benefits of solar energy (Image credit: Adobe)

    Solar panels can generate electricity for a wide range of properties (Image credit: Adobe)

    How to select the perfect solar panels for your home

    Selecting the perfect solar panels can be challenging, from finding out your requirements to studying all the choices available and their technical details. To help you, we have provided a list of important criteria to consider when choosing your solar panels.

    Power output

    Each solar panel provides a power output value, which is needed to figure out how many panels you’ll need to power your home. The most popular solar system is 4 kW which provides enough electricity for a family of four, and requires 16 panels. However, many companies are producing compact panels offering a greater output, lessening the number of panels needed to generate the same amount of electricity.

    Performance warranty

    The output of solar panels drops over time, and companies provide a performance warranty (either as a percentage of degradation or percentage of output), which indicates how well the panels will perform in the coming years. The better the performance, the better the panels will deliver power to your home over a longer period. Panel technology is advancing rapidly and manufacturers are now producing panels that offer an improved, more stable performance. In turn this minimises the drop in energy generation over time.

    Product warranty

    Fixing solar panels is costly, so you want to be sure that the panels you pick will last. The warranties offered by companies can range from 12 years to a lifetime. The longer the product warranty, the longer your panels should perform at their optimum.

    Efficiency

    Efficiency is important because the higher the efficiency, the better the solar panels are at converting sunlight into electricity. Installing high-efficiency panels means you will need fewer panels to achieve your required output. The most efficient panels in our list offer an efficiency rating of 22.7%, but any efficiency over 20% is considered great.

    Price

    Solar panels aren’t cheap, and the installation process can cost you thousands on top of the price of the panels. When selecting your solar panels, look for the right balance between price and performance. The JAM60S20 panels are an excellent example of achieving good performance from cheaper panels.

    However, there are government solar panel grants and local authority funding that can help to make systems more affordable.

    How to calculate your solar panel requirements

    Although your chosen installer will calculate your unique system requirements, it helps to have a rough idea of what you need from your solar panels beforehand.

    How much electricity does your household use?

    You can find out how much electricity you consume annually from your online account or bill, which is given in kilowatts per hour (kWh). To work out your daily consumption, divide this figure by 365.

    How much electricity do you want to generate from your panels?

    Most homeowners want their panels to generate as much electricity as possible, with minimal energy supplied by the National Grid. However, the more powerful the system, the more it will cost to install. As a rough estimate, a 3kW system will provide enough power for a two to three-member household.

    Solar panel systemNumber of panelsRoof space requiredFamily size

    How much sun do you receive per day?

    The direction your roof faces determines the amount of sunlight the panels can capture. On average, the UK receives 4.1 hours of sunlight per day. so if your roof faces south, your panels should be able to capture 100% of the light that hits them, working at optimum efficiency.

    Roof directionPotential % of solar energy captured

    Solar panel power

    Solar panels are available with outputs ranging from 200 W to 450 W. However, manufacturers are beginning to produce smaller, more compact panels that generate more electricity as the demand for them increases.

    Calculate the number of panels required

    First, you need to calculate how much electricity you can generate. Take the wattage of the panel you are considering—300W is the most popular size —and divide by the average hours of sunlight:

    For example 300W x 4.1 = 1,230 kW per day

    Next, divide the amount of electricity your household uses per day by the amount the panel can generate, and that will give you the number of solar panels you require.

    How to maintain your solar panels

    It is always best to hire a professional to clean your solar panels for safety reasons and to avoid damaging your system. (Image credit: Adobe)

    Solar panels don’t require much maintenance, making them ideal for homeowners. Still, you should consider a few things to ensure your panels perform at their best.

    Solar panel cleaning

    As solar panels are installed on your rooftop they will accumulate dirt, which will lower their performance as sunlight won’t be able to penetrate. We recommend cleaning your panels a minimum of twice a year with a soft brush or sponge and a low-pressure water hose. Always contact your supplier before cleaning to get their recommendations on how to avoid damaging your solar panels. It is advisable to contract a professional to clean your solar panels, as climbing on your roof and using water near electrical equipment without proper safety equipment could be dangerous.

    Inspect for cracks

    Inspect the mounting structure for the panels twice a year during cleaning to confirm that the panels remain firmly attached. It’s also important to check the integrity of each panel to ensure there are no cracks or damage to the surface structure, allowing rainwater to penetrate.

    Inspect for corrosion

    Solar panels are typically mounted using metal brackets, which can corrode over time. Corrosion can damage your panels and even your roof, with panels falling off completely in some cases. We recommend checking for corrosion twice a year when cleaning your panels. If you live in a coastal region, you should do this more frequently, as salt in the air from the ocean can speed up the effects of corrosion.

    Inspect output

    When installing solar panels, the installer will add a controller, or meter, that allows you to inspect the performance of your system. We recommend checking this often, especially after cleaning, to ensure your panels are performing as required. If you notice low performance, contact your installer and ask them to conduct an inspection. It may mean your panels are damaged and need repairing or replacing.

    Seek professional help

    If you’re unsure of how to maintain your panels or cannot reach them, contact your installer to seek professional help. Many companies offer service contracts that will save you the hassle of climbing up on your roof, while also ensuring no accidental damage occurs to your panels.

    How we chose the best solar panels in the UK

    We conducted thorough research and compared some of the top-rated solar panels UK suppliers to help us offer an honest and informative review. To do this, we looked at costs, product quality, warranty terms, customer reviews, and expert opinions. This enabled us to develop our own view of the various systems available in the UK.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are solar panels worth it?

    The short answer is yes. While the initial investment in a solar panel system may seem expensive, the time it takes to recoup that cost in savings on your electricity bills is growing shorter as the cost of energy continues to rise. Whereas the break-even period on solar panels used to be around 20 years, thanks to an 82% decrease in the cost of solar panels over the last decade and the aforementioned increase in energy prices, the right system could pay for itself within six years or less, depending on its output.

    Add to that the potential to become even less reliant on electricity from the National Grid at night by installing a solar battery and the ability to earn money for any unused electricity through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), and solar panels become an even more attractive investment for your home.

    What are the two main disadvantages of solar energy?

    There’s no escaping the fact that solar panels are a costly investment that once would have set you back around £10,000, with a payback period of about 15 years. However, the past couple of years has seen dropping dramatically to an average of £5,000 to £6,000 for a typical 4-kW solar panel system. Combine that with the Rapid rise in the cost of electricity, and you’re looking at a return on investment of around five years.

    The other disadvantage is the weather in the UK, and the panels’ dependency on clement weather to perform to their maximum efficiency. Cloudy days hinder their ability to generate electricity, with older panels dropping to around 35% of their output on sunny, clear days. Modern panels, though, are more forgiving and are designed to continue working well despite dull skies.

    How much does it cost to install solar panels in the UK?

    The most popular size of solar panel installation is 4 kW. This generates enough electricity for a family of four with typical usage, and requires 16 panels to be installed. The cost of this is about £600 for two installers working across one day, depending on the roof accessibility and type. Larger systems require more time to install, but a general rule of thumb is £300 per person per day.

    Do solar panels increase the value of your home?

    Not only do solar panels improve your home’s energy efficiency, but if you decide to sell up and move, they increase the appeal of your property. Adding over 4% to its value and potentially lessening its time on the market, solar panels can be a great addition to your home.

    How many solar panels are needed to power a typical house?

    A typical 4 kW system suitable for a family of four requires 16 panels, taking up around 30 square metres of roof space. If you need a more powerful system to generate more electricity, you’ll either need panels with an increased capacity or more panels to produce the desired output. A 6 kW system, for example, could require 24 solar panels and use 43 square metres of space.

    Can I run my house purely on solar power in the UK?

    Whilst it is possible to run your entire home on solar energy, it really depends on how you use the electricity that’s generated. If you use your appliances during the day when the panels are producing power, at night—when they don’t produce electricity—your household won’t need to draw on the National Grid to back up your solar system. Managing your electrical usage is the key to powering your home through solar energy.

    However, if you choose to install a solar storage battery. you can store the generated electricity until required, reducing your reliance on supplied energy.

    hide, solar, panels, your, roof

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    Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels Tips from solar panel shingle experts in New Braunfels in San Marcos TX

    If you are looking for a way to go green and save money on your energy bill, you may consider solar panels. Solar panels have become more affordable in recent years, but they can still be costly depending on the size of your home and how much electricity it uses each month. A new alternative that many people are unaware of is solar shingles. These shingles replace the traditional asphalt or tar roof with a lightweight tile with built-in photovoltaic cells. Here we will compare solar shingles and solar panels and help you decide which is right for your home.

    Solar Shingles

    Solar shingles are aesthetically very similar to the regular asphalt roof. The solar cells are built right into the solar shingles, which means that they will not alter the appearance of your roof in any way. Solar shingles can blend in with your traditional rooftop because they look just like a regular tile, but they have the built-in ability to generate electricity from the sun. Solar shingles allow you to remain inconspicuous and stylish while maintaining your favorite “green” home feature.

    Solar Panels

    Solar panels are the typical alternative energy method for homeowners who want to save money on their electric bills. Solar panels look like arrays of small rectangular solar cells, and they usually attach to the roof, which is not always easily visible from the ground. Traditional solar panels have an “industrial” feel that can obstruct your view or clash with your home’s aesthetic style. Solar panels are usually black, which may not be in line with the color of your roof. The form factor of solar shingles is more sleek and stylish than solar panels because they do not have to generate electricity in a separate location.

    Comparison of Solar Shingles and Solar Panels

    Solar shingles and solar panels both have myriad benefits, but there are some clear disadvantages as well. Solar cells tend to be more expensive than asphalt or clay tiles because they require special manufacturing methods that make them stronger and lighter than traditional rooftop materials. Despite this added cost, the price of solar shingles is much lower than solar panels, and they can sometimes be purchased as a part of the home’s original design, which reduces installation costs. On the other hand, solar panels will probably need to be installed later because it usually requires additional construction that is not included with the purchase of the solar cells themselves.

    Solar shingles also offer advantages in terms of aesthetics. The solar cells are built into the shingles themselves, so you do not have to worry about an eyesore of a rooftop ruining your view. The photovoltaic cells blend seamlessly with regular tiles and even come in designer colors that can enhance your home’s beauty instead of detracting from it. Even though solar shingles and panels both provide an alternative form of energy to your home, solar shingles offer more benefits than solar panels in terms of modernity and beauty.

    Between Solar Shingles and Solar Panels, Which is Right for Your Home?

    Solar shingles are a newer, more sophisticated alternative to solar panels. Not only is their appearance sleeker and more attractive, but they also save you time and money because most of them can be installed at the same time as your original roof. Solar panels are an older technology that requires additional construction to create a space for the solar cells themselves. So if you are building a new home or it’s time to do a total roof replacement anyway, solar shingles are the way to go. If your roof does not require repairs, you already have a roof style you love, and don’t mind the bulkiness of solar panels, then solar panels are the way to go.

    Which is Efficient?

    When it comes to efficiency, solar shingles and panels effectively generate electricity. However, there are some pros and cons for each form of alternative energy. Solar panels have a lower “in-rush” cost, which means they can be installed one at a time. The installation costs of solar shingles would be higher, but it is sometimes possible to install them simultaneously as your original roof or when your current roof comes to the end of its lifetime and its time for a roof replacement. Because solar shingles are produced as a part of regular tiles, they produce less energy than traditional solar panels and will overall save you less on your energy bills. Some homeowners may perceive this as wasting resources because not all the power comes from solar shingles. If this happens to also be your perspective then it might be best to go with traditional solar cell panels for your home.

    The efficiency of solar shingles and panels ultimately depends on how much sun exposure they receive. The more sunlight your home receives, the lower your electricity bills will be because your rooftop panels or shingles will produce more energy for your house. Solar shingles are slightly less efficient than solar panels because they do not have the same production capacity. Solar shingles are also more likely to become damaged or degraded than solar panels, which means that you will be forced to replace them earlier, and the efficiency of your home’s energy production will take a hit.

    Which is Better for the Environment?

    Solar shingles and panels both have positive and negative impacts on the environment. Solar panels create a cleaner form of energy that reduces your carbon footprint, but they must be purchased new and often require additional construction to provide a space for them on your rooftop. Solar shingles are built into your existing roof, so there is no need to purchase additional materials. The rare earth elements used in solar panels require more energy and resources than solar shingles. So, the environmental impact of creating traditional rooftop panels is higher.

    Solar Pannel cells both create a renewable source of energy without contributing to pollution or global warming, but they also negatively impact the environment. Solar panels may require the replacement of your traditional roof, which means that you will need to obtain new materials to install them. While this is not a huge problem during the roof’s lifespan, it does introduce some negative consequences for your carbon footprint.

    Solar shingles are better for the environment because they do not have additional construction requirements. They are produced during the regular production of your traditional roof, which means that they do not require additional materials or energy to produce them. The rare earth elements used in solar shingles are also recyclable. So, while they may have a higher environmental impact than solar panels, their negative impact is less significant than other common forms of roofing.

    Conclusion

    There is no single best solar roofing option. Solar shingles and panels both produce electricity and reduce your carbon footprint, but each has its own set of positive and negative consequences. Solar Shingles are recyclable and produce slightly less energy while solar panels are bulky but produce slightly more energy. At the end of the day its really up to what you think is right for your home.

    If you are interested in exploring the idea of Solar panels for your home in Austin TX, Contact Divided Sky Roofing and Exteriors today!

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