Should you replace your roof with solar shingles?
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Troy Segal is a senior editor for Bankrate. She edits stories about Homeownership in addition to stories about the finer points of mortgages and home equity loans.
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Any homeowner who’s concerned about carbon footprints and energy costs has considered solar power — usually, in the shape of solar panels. But now there’s another option: an entire solar roof.
Solar roofs are composed of solar shingles, aka solar tiles, that can fit over existing shingles or be installed on their own. So the energy-harvesting ability is baked into the roof itself. The shingles do everything regular shingles do, roof-wise (protect your house from the elements), are fire-resistant, and are quite durable. Plus, they look a lot more sleek and seamless than solar panels.
If you’re considering replacing your roof (or are building a new one for a new home), solar shingles may be a particularly timely choice. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, offers enhanced tax credits of up to 30 percent of the cost of installations, increasing the incentive to go solar.
Let’s shed more light on the subject.
What are solar shingles?
Solar shingles or tiles are like regular roof shingles. But instead of being made of asphalt, clay or slate, they are made of glass that contain photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells act as semiconductors and transfer energy collected from the sunlight into electrons, which can then become electrical current to power your home. Each shingle typically produces between 13 and 63 watts of energy, depending on the brand (one of the latest, by industry leader Tesla, claims to have a max power of 71 watts). While they both convert sunlight to energy, solar shingles are quite different from the solar panels (we’ll dig into the differences later).
The first solar shingles were developed by DOW Chemical Company, rolling out in 2011. But the concept began to get serious traction in 2016, when Tesla purchased manufacturer Solar City and began offering what it deemed the Tesla Solar Roof. Today, there are several brands of the solar roof tiles available through manufacturers like CertainTeed, GAF Energy, Luma, SunTegra and of course Tesla. (Dow dropped out of the game.)
The average size of a solar shingle or tile is about 12 inches wide by 86 inches long. It takes about 350 solar tiles for a standard-size roof. Tiles weigh about 13 pounds per square foot, so most roofs can handle them without additional reinforcement.
What do solar shingles cost?
Although the have been dropping of late, as more makers enter the market, solar roofs are expensive. On average, the cost to install solar roof shingles runs 21 to 25 per square foot or 2,100 to 2,600 per roofing square. So a total project could easily average 60,000 to 75,000 — at least. That’s considerably higher than the cost of a conventional roof (between 5,646 and 12,031. according to HomeAdvisor). Even expensive traditional materials like clay or slate (800 to 1,800 per square) cost less than solar tile.
What solar roof tiles will cost you depends on several factors including:
- Roof size: The bigger the roof, the more shingles needed.
- Roof pitch/slope: As is the case with any roof, the more extreme the angling, the more difficult/risky the installation will be, which affects the overall cost.
- Home location: Labor (installation) costs vary by city and state.
- Energy needs of your home.
- Particular manufacturer/brand of shingle or tile.
Still, solar shingle have dropped since their introduction, and they may continue to do so, given the Inflation Reduction Act’s significant incentives and grants for solar implementation, for builders as well as consumers. The Solar Energy Industries Association believes that the IRA’s investment in clean energy will spur “a renaissance in American solar manufacturing,” driving down costs. as its recent “Catalyzing American Solar Manufacturing” report put it.
What do you save in energy costs?
While expensive to install, a solar roof can save in the long run. Depending on the number of tiles on your roof, solar shingles can reduce energy costs by anywhere from 40 to 60 percent, according to the consumer education site SolarReviews. Additionally, you may be eligible for federal and state tax incentives.
Helping the immediate bite a bit: Per the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, eligible homeowners who install solar shingles will qualify for a 30 percent tax credit on the installation cost. Starting in tax year 2023, this credit continues through 2032 (and then at a reduced percentage through 2034). Several states offer credits, rebates and other incentives as well.
Solar shingles vs solar panels
Both solar shingles and solar panels can be a great option to take your home energy efficiency to the next level. But which is best for you? The advantages of each in a nutshell:
|weather-resistant and durable
|Can be more energy-efficient depending on roof slope, sunlight exposure
|Greater energy-bill savings
|Shorter installation time
|aesthetically pleasing (fewer potential HOA issues)
|inexpensive to install
What are the advantages of a solar roof?
When compared to conventional roofs and solar panels, there are some advantages to investing in solar shingles.
- They are projected to be long-lasting (30-40 years)
- They reduce energy use/carbon footprint and bills
- They blend in better and resemble traditional roof materials
- They are more cost effective per watt of solar energy than solar panels
- They are easier to maintain than solar panels
What are the disadvantages of a solar roof?
Downsides of solar shingles relate to their being such a new technology.
- Availability is more limited
- They are more expensive than conventional roofs and solar panels
- They have fewer style and color options
- Since part of the roof itself, they cannot be installed at an angle like solar panels can, to produce maximum energy
- They are not conducive to a DIY installation
The final word on solar shingles
Solar shingles are still pretty new, which means experienced installers and contractors may be limited in your area. And their exact lifespan and durability is still something of a question mark, of course: None have been around long enough to prove the current projections. Nor is there much sense, as yet, as to how they’d affect a house’s resale value (though eco-friendly features, in general, are getting more popular with homebuyers).
Still, if you’re an environmentally-conscious homeowner in need of a full roof replacement or a roof for a new build, solar shingles are worth considering. With some states now requiring that newly built homes be solar power-equipped, and enhanced federal tax credits in effect starting in 2023, the time to go solar may be now.
Renowise Solar Tile: Makes Your Roof a Power Generator (Single- or Double-Glass)
This Renowise solar tile combines roof structure and clean power generation into one. Unlike traditional mono- or poly-crystalline panels, this solar tile looks pleasing and elegant on your rooftop. Backed by superior waterproof, fireproof and hail-proof gradings, and certified by reputable CE and UL authorities, it’s a great option for futuristic solar homes or those who want to have their property upgraded.
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In some cases, traditional solar panels can hinder the sleek design of a house, this is one of the reasons why some homeowners choose not to install a PV system, especially those who have high-end designed houses. over, racking installation can potentially cause leakage on your roof if your installation is not done correctly, and exposed wiring can get damaged and become a hazard.
To come up with a solution to this issue, Renowise has developed the solar roof tile. This solar product provides two requirements into one for your house: roof structure and electricity generation. By replacing the existing roof tiles of your home with Renowise solar tiles you will be able to generate solar power while at the same time providing structural support to your roof that looks beautiful and elegant. This product comes up in two types of models that can be selected from Single-glass and double-glass roof tiles.
Renowise Solar Tile Description
Shape and applications
Both the single-glass and double-glass models have a triple-arch unique structure that resembles the shape of a terracotta concrete standard or lightweight tile. However, while the single-glass model is available only in black color, the double-glass can be found in both black and gray options.
As for applications, the single-glass model suits high-end commercial buildings with a polished look that intends to combine aesthetics, functionality and environmentally friendly materials. Meanwhile, the double-glass model is intended for small architecture and residential applications such as villas, houses and towns.
Solar efficiency and structure
In both models, each solar roof tile is made out of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells that provide a total power output of 30W, which have a solar efficiency of 18.7% (17.44% at solar tile level). These roof tiles are made out of three main layers, which constitute a backsheet, the CIGS solar cells and a toughened glass that provides a dynamic architectural look worthy of any high-end design house. The cables for PV cell wiring use MC4 connectors and are installed under the waterproof tape on the top end of the tile. These cables will not be visible at all.
Function ratings: Fire, hail, water and weight
over, since the solar tile acts as the roof structure of your house, it is also important to mention that the loading grade that both single and double-glass tiles can withstand is 2,400Pa. The roof tile is also manufactured with an IP67 rating, meaning your roof will be fully protected and insulated against any dust particle as well as complete water immersion. In other words, your new roof will have a high-standard sealing performance that will be waterproof without ever affecting the solar cells.
Besides, if you live in a region where hail is a potential hazard for roofs and property, you will be glad to know that the Renowise solar roof tiles (both models) have a Class 4 rating which is the highest level of impact resistance available for roof materials. In summary, this means that a 2-inch steel ball dropped multiple times from a 20 feet height will not be able to damage your roof tile.
Meanwhile, your roof installed with single-glass roof tile will be protected with a B1 fire-proof grade rating which will make the roof tiles hardly flammable. Even more, if you choose to go with the double-glass model you will get an A fire-proof grade rating protection which means it will not be flammable at all, perfect for regions where forest fire is an important issue.
Both the single-glass and double-glass models have passed CE, Canadian, UL, TuV and China compulsory certifications.
Renowise Solar Tile Specs
Solar Panels vs. Tesla Solar Roof: The Key Differences
It’s pretty obvious when you have solar panels. Less so if you have Tesla’s Solar Roof. But there’s a price to pay for that sleek design.
When you think of solar power systems. you probably imagine the classic solar array : some black panels that point toward the sky and absorb the energy of the sun’s light and convert it into usable electricity. But if you look closely at the roofs of some houses, you might notice a surprise.
In 2016, Tesla.- yes, that Tesla.- introduced something novel. Instead of solar panels that sit in your front yard or stand out on the roof, Tesla decided to turn every shingle into a solar panel. The Tesla Solar Roof replaces an existing roof and captures sunlight to help power your home in a clean and streamlined manner.
There are some significant downsides, namely that the Tesla Solar Roof is quite expensive. (Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment.)
Can solar panels save you money?
Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.
For homeowners interested in solar energy, that creates the ultimate question: Should you go with the standard solar panel system or try the less intrusive.- but pricey.- Tesla Solar Roof? To help you with your buying questions, I have compiled the biggest differences between the two solar options below.
Solar panels should be relatively familiar by now, as they have been gaining popularity and have become more affordable in recent years. An array can be located on your roof or set to stand in your yard, depending on what works best for you. While there are a variety of different brands and types of panels, they all offer a clean energy alternative to fossil fuel sources like coal or natural gas. These panels can be expensive, and some are more difficult to install than others. But for the most part, you can expect cheaper energy bills, a smaller carbon footprint and increased property value.
Tesla Solar Roof
Instead of using panels, the Tesla Solar Roof turns your entire roof into your solar array. The Tesla solar roof uses tempered glass panels that replace your standard shingles, providing the same protection you’d expect from a traditional roof while also capturing solar energy. The Tesla Solar Roof is novel, but less proven and harder to transfer to another home if you move because they are custom made for each roof.
Solar panels or a Tesla Solar Roof?
Price is a tricky thing when it comes to solar systems, as a lot of it is going to be dependent on what your house and property is capable of supporting. There is the cost of solar panels, the infrastructure needed to support them, the installation costs.- and you have to account for the actual capacity of the system. In both cases, you can get tax credits and other incentives for installing these systems, so that will help to ease the price somewhat. Research suggests solar panels cost between 15,000 to 25,000 to buy and install.
Can solar panels save you money?
Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.
For the sake of simplicity: conventional solar panels are cheaper than the Tesla solar roof in terms of the overall cost. Tesla has also had some challenges keeping the price down for its solar roof system, which has been a point of issue for some people. Price estimates suggest can scale from 30,000 to 75,000, with some people reporting installation costs as high as 100,000.
The installation process for solar energy systems can be complicated. In general, traditional solar panels are easier because they can be installed in different places depending on the layout of your property.- either on your roof or on the ground. The Tesla Solar Roof can only be installed on your roof, obviously, and is a bit more of a to-do since it requires replacing your entire roof. There are fewer contractors familiar with the Tesla solar roof system than conventional panels, so this can create challenges in finding a capable installer.
Solar power capabilities
Both the Tesla Solar Roof and traditional solar panels will have a similar ability to meet your power needs, although your ability to scale your solar power system to your electricity needs might be more limited with the Tesla Solar Roof compared to panels. It will likely be easier to expand a setup with traditional solar panels in the future if you find your electricity needs have increased.
Mobility and longevity
One downside of the Tesla Solar Roof is the fact that it really can’t move with you. Because it is custom-fit to the roof of your home, you can’t pack it up and install it on another home. Conventional solar panels offer a bit more flexibility here, as you could potentially take your solar system with you.- though you may want to leave it to benefit from the boost in property value that they provide.
Winner for most: Solar panels
For now, conventional solar panels are the safer bet if you are looking to make the switch to solar power. They are a proven product. They are also typically cheaper and offer a bit more flexibility in terms of how you install them.
Tesla’s Solar Roof shows a lot of promise, but the custom tiles can be cost-prohibitive and early troubles with the product make it hard to recommend at this stage. Future versions of the Tesla Solar Roof may improve and make good on the promising concept. For now, stick with what works so you can save on your energy bill and shrink your carbon footprint.
Solar Shingles For Your Roof [Data Facts]
Solar roof shingles are the best possible replacement for traditional solar panels. Although solar shingles have been around for a while, their popularity only spiked when Elon Musk announced his own Tesla solar roof. With a competitive price, sleek design, and unprecedented functionality, solar roof solutions are the best investment for those who do not want to compromise their roof looks and property aesthetics.
What are Solar Roof Shingles?
Solar roof shingles are roof tiles with built-in solar cells. The photovoltaic shingles can, therefore, completely substitute for your roof and look much better than standard solar panels added to the roof. Proponents of the technology also say that roof shingles are more durable than traditional solar panels and that they give multipurpose to the otherwise useless surface: generating electricity and staying protected from the elements now go hand in hand.
As yet another product on the solar market, solar tiles can help usher renewables into daily life and help mitigate climate change. Made from conventional roofing materials, with an added solar cell in each tile, they are a great substitute for building-integrated photovoltaics – a solution many disliked. The newer generation of solar tiles can cover the entire roof and give it a uniform, sleek design that you will want to see, not hide away from.
When choosing solar shingles, there are several factors you should consider. All of these are important in determining what your roof will look like, which brand you will use, how much energy you will get, and lastly, what the cost will be. The factors to consider when choosing solar shingles for your home include:
The lifespan of solar shingles is around 25-30 years. This means that your shingles will generate electricity for the next two to three decades after the installation is done. During this time, your shingles will produce energy that is enough to pay them off, especially as your energy costs will be almost nullified. Conventional shingles cannot do this.
When it comes to the size of your shingles solar array, it can be observed that the size can relate to the size of individual shingles and the size of the total solar array. In the former case, choosing shingles you think will work the best with your existing shingles is the most important factor. In the latter case, the size of your solar system is also important, as it should be large enough to produce all the energy your family needs, especially in the upcoming years. You may need an expert to help you with the calculations.
The number of roof shingles is also important. Here, you need to understand that each shingle produces only a limited amount of energy. This means that you need to divide your total energy needs with the DC output of the shingle model you would like to purchase. As most shingles can produce between 35 and 80 Watts a piece, you will need quite a few to cover your needs.
Bear in mind that the total cost of your installation and the average cost per foot sq. will depend on the ratio between active and inactive shingles. Tesla solar shingles, for example, come with both active and inactive shingles. However, their ratio is determined by your energy needs and roof size.
The material used in your shingles also has a big say in their looks and performance. In general, the basis for the shingles is asphalt, concrete, or metal. The solar cell inside can be polycrystalline or monocrystalline. Alternatively, thin-film solar cells can also be found. Monocrystalline shingles have the highest efficiency, while thin-film technology offers the lowest possible power output.
Different materials mean different efficiency, which, in turn, means differences in the energy generation capacity. With solar shingles, you can generally expect an energy generation capacity of between 35-80 Watts per shingle, which is great considering their cost and the number you need. Always take all these factors into consideration before making your purchase.
How Do Solar Shingles Work?
Solar shingles have been around for a while. They came into the market because many people complained that traditional PV panels simply do not look good enough on their roofs. With the advent of polycrystalline silicon solar cells and thin-film solar panels, the market was finally ready for solar shingles and their production. Thin-film solar cells are inexpensive to produce, but as the technology is still new, the cost of solar shingles is still relatively high.
Solar shingles are installed as regular shingles: they are mostly either screwed or nailed in place. Once there, they are connected either in series or using parallel connections and connected to your solar inverter and the solar battery. Once everything is connected, they act as regular solar panels, producing electricity when exposed to direct sunlight.
One of the biggest solar shingles pros is that they produce solar energy and act as a traditional roofing material. You get to use renewable energy in your home and do so at a high conversion efficiency: some solar shingles use monocrystalline technology – enabling around 20% conversion efficiency.
Types of Solar Roofing
As solar shingles became more popular over time, other types of solar products started appearing. Solar shingles or solar roofs became so popular because they already included the cost of replacing the roof and reduced the need to look for two separate contractors: one to replace the roof and one to install PV panels. For this reason, two new products have sprung up in the solar market:
Integrated Solar Metal Roofing
Integrated solar metal roofing is a type of multi-layer metal roofing that consists of glass coating, color, and a monocrystalline layer. The wiring and all other electrical components are hidden under metal for a clean look. The entire system is placed on a vented racking system, increasing its efficiency and power output.
Interlocking Solar Panel Roofing
In response to the ever-increasing of solar roofs, GAF and Suntegra introduced interlocking solar panel roofing. This kind of roofing helps you avoid the solar shingle cost and all the additional work accompanying solar shingles. A system like this is easy to install, competitive in price, and it makes a good compromise in an aesthetic sense, especially between regularly mounted solar panels and an interlocking, integrated system.
Solar Roof: Installation Cost Average Cost
Solar shingles worth thousands of dollars are sold every minute in the US. But what is the cost of a roof installation for you? The answer to how much money you should cash out for solar shingles on your rooftop depends on the following factors:
- The age and the condition of your roof,
- The orientation and the slope of the roof,
- The average insulation in your area (in hours/year),
- The average solar irradiation in your area (in W/m2),
- Your energy habits and needs,
- Any future plans for introducing new electricity-powered devices.
All these factors will significantly influence the cost of solar shingles and roofs in each case. These factors, especially your energy needs (on an average monthly basis), will determine the number of solar shingles or integrated solar panels you need, as well as which type of solar shingle products you will need. A solar shingle roof can therefore cost anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000, with additional costs if you need a new roof.
Solar Roof Brands
As solar shingle roofs have proven to be reliable, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing, more homeowners wanted to add these to their new homes. The increase in demand drove the up and has made the solar roof business more lucrative. For this reason, many companies offer one form or another of solar roofs. Tesla solar roof tiles ushered the way to the new area.
Although solar shingles have been sound for several years now, it was the Tesla Solar Shingle that has really brought it to the full attention of the market. With the Tesla solar roof, Tesla promises, you will pay around the same price as for a standard roof and solar panels combined. In reality, Tesla mostly matches their promise as they approach each rooftop individually.
In most cases, depending on your home size and energy needs, your Tesla solar roof will consist of both active solar tiles and inactive solar tiles. This approach gives Tesla more chances to come up with an ideal solar roof for you, as well as to limit the expense. However, standing at 13.50 per square foot of inactive solar shingles, Tesla solar roof is still way more expensive than a standard asphalt shingle, constant at around 3.50-5.50 per square foot.
Luma Solar Roof
Luma Solar roof, on the other hand, comes with greater solar power – each of its solar tiles is rated at an 80 Watt power output. The solar panel shingles they place have inactive shingles as well so that you can have a uniform look and feel to your solar roof without any compromises. The inactive solar shingle installation also costs less, as they are cheaper to manufacture. This way, you keep the costs at an acceptable level: Luma Solar Shingle solution costs around 4.50 per Watt of DC capacity.
CertainTeed Apollo II
CertainTeed offers two solar products for partial or full roof replacement. The company offers Apollo II Shingles and Apollo II tiles. Both come with monocrystalline solar cells and are sure to fit in with your existing roof pretty well. As they are monocrystalline solar cells, these two products have high-efficiency levels and are comparable in their performance to the Tesla Solar Roof.
Suntegra also offers two lines of products to its customers: solar shingles and solar tiles. Their solar shingles come in the following power output ratings:
They are made of high-quality, durable material, comparable to asphalt shingles in their durability. Unlike a traditional solar panel, they do not have the blackish hue that most solar shingles have. Unlike most solar panels, they are quite expensive, as their price starts at 3.80 per Watt of DC power.
The Suntegra solar tiles, on the other hand, come at a higher price range: 6.16 – 6.57 per Watt of DC power capacity. They come with slightly lower efficiency and power output: 64 and 70 Watts. If you still decide to install solar shingles by the same company, you will get more residential solar power from the same roof surface area.
GAF Materials Corporation
GAF is currently one of the largest producers of roofing materials in the US. Recently, it has introduced its own line of solar shingle solutions, which are supposed to cover the entire roof in solar cells. Some of its solar tiles are made from asphalt, so the installation is similar to the installation of traditional asphalt shingles – they are nailed into the underlying construction.
Total roof replacement with GAF solar roof tiles may cost you around 30,000 for a standard US roof. Each tile is certified at 45 Watts of output power, giving you more than enough electricity for an average US residence.
Forward Solar Roofing
Forward Solar Roofing has come up with a solution for integrated solar metal roofing. This way, the company can offer active solar shingles (or solar roofing) that cost around 50% per square foot compared to Tesla solar roof. As solar shingles cost a lot of money, a complete solar roof may be quite pricey. Forward solar roofing avoids these costs and saves you money.
Solar shingles are much like your standard roofing tiles – occasional rain will do most of the cleaning and maintenance for you. Still, if you live in an area with a lot of trees or even an area with heavy snowfall, you may want to invest some time in clearing the shingles from anything that may shade them, especially during the autumn and winter part of the year.
Besides this, there is very little maintenance. It is usually suggested that an electrician should visit the site once a year and check the wiring and solar batteries (if you happen to have them), but there is very little work that actually needs to be done once your new roof is in place.
Cost Comparison Between Solar Shingles Conventional Roof
Many homeowners do not want to install traditional solar panels, as solar shingles look so much better. Made to resemble conventional roofing materials, they are the way to go for everyone who can afford them. Cost, in particular, is the biggest issue, as solar shingles are even more expensive than conventional solar panels.
For this reason, it is recommended that you only consider solar shingles on a new property or if you are already planning to replace the entire roof. This will give you a unique opportunity to explore different options and solar roofing brands available out there. As more solar shingle manufacturers come to the market, traditional roofing materials are likely to fall behind in the production lines, leaving space for the next-gen technology.
Cost Comparison Between Solar Shingles Conventional Solar Panels
Before comparing solar shingles and panels, it is important to note that, although they serve the same function, they are different products. Solar shingles are considered more of a high-end product and are meant for:
- Homeowners who want to preserve the aesthetic aspect of their home,
- Homeowners who want a more sleek and durable product that will last for decades,
- Homeowners who want to replace their roof and install panels – solar shingles reduce workforce costs and save time.
With this in mind, we can compare the pricing. Solar shingles will cost between 15,000 and 20,000 for an average American home. An average solar panel installation will cost around 16,000 for an average US home. This puts them in pretty much the same price range, depending on the brand and the size of the system.
However, if you need to replace your roof and get access to solar energy, then shingles are a much better option. Do not forget that solar panel installations demand a good and sturdy roof. Replacing the roof will cost thousands of dollars. With solar shingles, the costs are absorbed, as you do not need to pay extra for the tiles/shingles as you do with a standard roof.
Another important aspect to consider is the manufacturer. Tesla solar shingles, for example, often cost multiple of those other producers. That is because Tesla solar shingles are considered a premium product, and there is even a lengthy waiting list for those who would like to install them. However, in both cases, you can count on solar tax credits and other incentives.
Benefits of Solar Roof Shingles
Like any other solar product, solar shingles have many benefits. Being able to make your own residential solar power from your roof without compromising the look of your property on its own is a benefit high enough for many American homeowners to go with this product. The major benefits of solar shingles include:
- Reduction in carbon footprint,
- Saving on your electric bill,
- Being able to apply for tax credits (under the Federal ITC) and solar rebates,
- Preserving or improving the looks of your home and the roof.
Drawbacks of Solar Roof Shingles
However, most solar shingles have their drawbacks as well. As it goes, solar shingles are a relatively new product on the market. They are still considered a high-end, luxury product that costs a significant amount of money. As the solar industry keeps rolling out new solar power systems and cheaper solar shingles, it can be expected to see more of them on the roofs around the US. The major drawbacks of solar shingles include:
- The very high initial price per square foot and project – as most solar shingles need to be mounted on a new structure (to ensure safety and durability for years to come), you may also need to have a full roof replacement,
- Solar roofing comes in limited styles. Unlike traditional roofing shingles, solar shingles contain silicon solar cells. This solar energy solution, for this reason, needs to have a surface that can interact with sunlight – giving you a limited availability of colors and patterns,
- Solar shingles are similar to solar panels – they need exposure to direct sunlight, always at a certain angle that’s supposed to help generate the most electricity. These thin-film solar cells need to face the South – if your home roof does not face the South, it may be impractical to install solar shingles, as solar panels will yield the maximum energy output if tilted or re-oriented. We cannot say the same for solar shingles, as they have to be laid flat on the roof surface.
Are Solar Roofs included in Solar Incentives and Tax Credits?
Yes, your solar shingle roof is included in solar incentives and tax credits. As this type of roof can produce renewable energy, it is eligible for most state and federal solar incentives and taxes. You should apply for the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, state solar incentives, as well as state and utility company rebates. The Federal ITC gives back around 22%of investment value back, while rebates and incentives can give back up to 1 per Watt of DC capacity.
Do homes with solar sell faster?
Yes, homes with solar sell faster. Many new homeowners are eco-conscious people who know that a solar roof increases the value of the property without an increase in property taxes. Furthermore, the freedom of having no or very low power bills is attractive to many. If you are thinking about installing solar panels on your existing roof before selling, this may be a good option, as every kW of solar capacity installed on your roof increases your property value by around 6,000.
Are Solar Roofs Worth it?
Yes, solar roofs are worth it. Most solar roofs (such as Tesla solar roof) are comparable in cost to a conventional roof with solar panels installed. The Tesla solar roof also has the benefit of a unified look of the roof, as not everybody is comfortable with the sight of solar panels on their existing roof. The best thing to do to ensure you have a solar roof in place is to start planning one before your house is built to ensure that all equipment can be installed right away, with no delays.
What time of day are solar panels most efficient?
Solar panels and solar roof tiles are most efficient during the solar noon – around 2 PM during the summertime in the Northern hemisphere. You will see the highest net solar power production from your solar panels or solar roof tiles between 10 AM and 4 PM, as this is the time when the Sun is at its highest position in the sky. Besides time, there are other factors that can influence the efficiency of your solar panels, such as orientation, shading, longitude and latitude, and the time of the year.
Do solar panels work during rain?
As the sky is mostly overcast during the rain, your solar panels will not work. This is especially true for dark, gloomy days with thick clouds in the sky. However, your solar panels can still produce some electricity in the event of a slightly overcast sky. The biggest benefit of mixing rain and solar panels is that your solar system will be free of dust after rain and will be able to produce much more electricity than before.
Solar shingles are considered the next generation of solar panels. Relatively cheap and perfect for those who are looking to upgrade their property and change their roof, solar shingles are the energy source of the future. As they produce free electricity and are eligible for tax incentives, you can also expect to have significant savings on your power bill. Now is the right time to choose between traditional solar panels and solar roof shingles.
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.
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