What Is a Tesla Solar Roof, How Does It Work, and How Much Does One Cost?
Is the Tesla Solar Roof better than a regular solar panel array?
Readers like you help support MUO. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read
The Tesla solar roof was first announced in 2016 by CEO Elon Musk. It is a roofing system that consists of glass tiles embedded with photovoltaic cells, which are used to generate electricity from the energy emitted by the sun.
Courtesy of its sleek design, this results in an aesthetically pleasing yet efficient system that doesn’t sacrifice the aesthetic integrity of your home. With additional products that can boost the solar roof’s effectiveness, here’s everything you need to know about Tesla’s Solar Roof.
What Does the Tesla Solar Roof Look Like?
One of the main benefits of the Tesla solar roof is that it is virtually indistinguishable from traditional roofing tiles and shingles that are already present on many homes. Unlike traditional solar panels, which are typically mounted on top of a roof, the Tesla solar roof tiles are designed to look like conventional roof shingles or tiles.
As it seamlessly blends into the roof, homeowners can utilize the energy from the sun, all while retaining the aesthetically pleasing look of their homes. On the contrary, those with traditional solar panels slightly sacrifice the exterior look of their homes as they protrude from the existing roofline.
How Does Tesla’s Solar Roof Work?
Tesla’s Solar Roof functions no differently than a traditional solar panel, though they run comparatively more efficiently than any traditional solar panel could. In addition, the tiles are extremely durable and long-lasting, courtesy of the glass tile construction made from tempered glass. Due to the material being highly resistant to cracking and breaking, tempered glass is commonly used on cell phone screen protectors.
Furthermore, the photovoltaic cells are designed to withstand even the most extreme weather conditions, such as hail, high winds, and varying temperatures. This is imperative for those that live in areas that experience all types of climates. Best of all, each tile comes with a 25-year warranty, justifying its durability claims.
Keeping track of the regeneration and usage is as easy as navigating the Tesla app. Navigating through the Tesla app allows you to keep track of the regeneration and usage of your household, all while giving you full control and instantaneously alerting you of any disruption.
Do You Need Tesla’s Powerwall to Use the Solar Roof?
The Tesla Solar Roof is its own product, but when paired with the right products, it becomes a force to be reckoned with. While the Solar Roof is responsible for the regenerative process, Tesla’s Powerwall is responsible for the storage aspect of the solar system. As such, each Solar Roof purchase also includes Tesla’s Powerwall to fully take advantage of the system.
Tesla’s Powerwall is an integrated battery system that stores solar energy in your household for backup protection when a power outage occurs. Since the Powerwall has an integrated solar inverter, once the system detects a disturbance in your power supply, it will automatically kick in to keep your appliances running. This differs from Tesla’s Solar Inverter, which serves as a middle ground for the energy obtained through your roof when using traditional solar panels.
Both available Powerwall models (Powerwall 2 Powerwall) have an energy capacity of 12.5kWh, which is highly dependent on how much solar energy can be obtained. As expected, winter months and cloudy days are the least effective, and vice versa. At its peak effectiveness, a singular Powerwall unit can power your home for up to 2.5 days. Multiple Powerwall units can be combined to have a larger reserve capacity, although most will suffice with two units.
How Efficient Is the Tesla Solar Roof?
The Tesla Solar Roof’s energy efficiency is what truly separates them from the rest of the units that are available on the market. The photovoltaic cells onboard can convert sunlight into electricity with an efficiency rate of up to 22%, which is significantly higher than the typical efficiency rate of traditional solar panels of 15%.
Each shingle is rated to approximately 72 watts, and courtesy of its small construction, not many are needed to replicate the regenerative capability of a traditional solar panel. As a result, homeowners can generate more electricity with a smaller number of solar tiles, which can help reduce the overall cost of the product. Furthermore, homeowners that utilize solar energy are eligible for a 30% solar tax credit, which effectively increases the monetary value of their homes!
How Much Does the Tesla Solar Roof Cost to Install?
Although the Tesla Solar Roof is advantageous to traditional solar panels, they are significantly more expensive when compared to their counterparts. While the initial investment is larger on the front end, the greater energy efficiency of the Tesla Solar Roof and the simplistic installation process are what truly make the upfront cost worthwhile.
The shingles themselves are cheaper to install per unit at 1.80 per watt, whereas traditional solar panels cost roughly 3 per watt. Despite the cheaper units, it’s the installation process that contributes to your larger bill. Removing your existing roof covers a large bulk of the cost at around 6,500. This is all included through the installation process, although this step can be bypassed if you have an adequate roof already.
The other bulk of the cost is the remaining aspects of the installation process, such as the electrical work and permitting. This eliminates the potential headaches and hassles of hiring the appropriate contractors for each job. After everything is all said and done, the cost of a Tesla Solar Roof installation will range anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000, depending on the size of your home.
Tesla’s Solar Roof Is Small and Efficient
Evidently, the Tesla Solar Roof is a groundbreaking product that has the potential to revolutionize solar electricity. While it may not be suitable for everyone, it offers a sneak peek of how solar energy may play a role in our lives during the transition to renewable energy.
To help offset the large initial investment, many states and localities offer financial incentives for homeowners who switch to solar energy. With the push for cleaner energy, there are always ways to save! As the cost of battery materials decreases and as battery development progresses, the true potential of solar energy is yet to be discovered.
Solar Roof Tiles. What Are The Pros and Cons?
Akshay VR. 05 Aug 2022
The popularity of solar power is increasing day after day. Solar power has become the desire of many. Solar shingles, or tiles, are promptly converting into the popular category. These panels are designed to look like conventional roofing materials or tiles. People who want to transform their homes to environmentally and budget-friendly solar power are facilitating many advantages. Solar tiles are more durable in nature than panels and ordinary roof shingles. They are also lighter in weight so that the roofing structure does not take much stress. This creates a multifunctional roof covering, which is a long-term investment.
What Are Solar Tiles?
Solar tiles consist of thin-film solar cells that are made up of copper indium gallium selenite. The size of the tiles is 12×86 inches and has an approx. Weight of 13 pounds per square foot. The cell material is light and flexible and is a good semiconductor. Solar tiles are relatively new and are based on high technology, so they need to be installed by professionals. Installation is a labor-intensive job, so one has to make sure that it is done properly to protect your investment. Each tile is placed individually while wiring every wire inside the structure. Certain permissions are required to own solar-powered equipment, and a professional installer can handle this for you too.
How Much Power is Produced by the Solar System?
To generate more energy in a more efficient way with limited spacing, all the features of solar panels must be inherited from the tiles. There are various challenges faced by the tiles, but instead, the solar tile can produce up to the power of 50 and 114 Watts. When it comes to generating more power, homeowners need to consider the sides of the roof. The best location to install the solar tile is in the southern direction. The northern sides of the roof must be covered with matching tiles of regular roofing material.
Solar Tile Maintenance
Solar tiles look similar to roofing tiles, and the maintenance of the same is simple. You do not require specialized equipment to clean the solar tiles. Always make sure of some of the things while cleaning the solar tiles to remove the leaves, debris, snow, and ice. These tiles are lightweight but can hold large loads and heavy gusts of wind. With regular maintenance and cleaning processes, solar tiles can last for 25 and 30 years.
How Much Cost Does Solar Roof Tiles Require?
Provider to provide the cost of solar tiles varies, but an expected amount is 5,000 per kilowatt. While making a comparison, the residential solar panel system costs around 3,000 per kilowatt, whereas large commercial and industrial projects can reach the cost of upto 1,000 per kilowatt. In terms of cost, solar shingles have no comparison with solar panels in larger projects. However, they can prove to be very much cost-effective in the residential sector, especially when a roof upgrade and a solar power system are being considered.
When making a big decision between solar panels and solar shingles, personal preferences play a vital role. Since solar roof costs double the price of normal PV modules, their payback period is also double. However, the service life of both of the products is over 25 years. Long-term savings can be expected in both cases, but the solar shingles need more time to reach positive cash flow.
Working on Solar Roof Tiles
Solar tiles are generally made up of photovoltaic cells, and each tile is connected to the power distribution board via cables. These cells absorb the sunlight and convert it into solar energy, and from this energy, electrical energy is generated.
The energy is generated by each of the tiles and thus later converted into electricity either by making the utilization of an inverter or a solar diverter. These procedures are performed under the supervision of a trained professional.
The quantity of solar energy which is connected to the other tile is dependent on the amount of sunlight. Hence, these tiles are more efficient during the summer season.
To ensure maximum efficiency:
The maintenance and cleanliness of the solar tiles must be done on a regular basis.
Overlapping of the tiles is not mandatory.
Advantages of Solar Tiles:
The production of efficient energy is the biggest advantage of solar tile roofs and probably the most appealing thing to attract potential buyers. Solar roofs can help in the reduction of your electrical bill by the production of clean energy. The energy produced by the solar shingles is about 110 Watts per meter squared, while the tiles produce about 70 watts per meter squared.
Solar roofs are more environmentally friendly power generation sources than fossil-fueled power sources. There is a myth that the machines and manufacturing processes used to produce solar panels are powered by fossil fuels. However, in the future, they will be capable enough to run those machines and manufacturing processes from clean energy sources.
The solar roof tiles and shingles are made up of bad conductors of heat to meet the highest class specification for fire resistance which is a Class A fire rating.
Solar roofs are made up of strong glass that is highly impact resistant. The solar tiles are much more than the impact rating of Class 4 impact resistance. One solar company guaranteed that its Solar Tiles are 3 times stronger than other roofing materials.
The solar tiles are resistant to wind. They can handle wind speeds of up to 130 mph. This makes them a feasible option for those places that experience high winds.
The estimated life of solar tiles is about 25 – 40 years. However, these numbers are just the expectations because this type of roof system is less than 10 years old.
Solar Tiles are inflexible in nature and state that they will keep on working. They are more capable of holding things than other tile roofs that include slate, which can be brittle and break if stepped on.
Solar roof tiles have a good look and field. The looks are non-similar to the traditionally used bulky solar panels. The tiles are sleek and blend in shape with the roof, which can give it a nice clean contemporary look.
Solar tiles are available In differentiated shapes and forms.
Solar roofing tiles can be more versatile in nature than residential and commercial roofs. However, we have a belief that they are more commonly used in residential homes.
Solar labs is one of the best solar design software widely used by industry experts. It helps you design a highly accurate design in under 15mins.
Solar shingles or tiles are the cutting edges of the latest roofing technology. This definitely is a major advantage. Some of the originally selected Solar Roof Glass owners have grabbed a lot of attention from the media about their new roofs. They became the pioneers of this new technology.
Solar roof systems can be linked to your smartphones with the help of an application. This app permits homeowners to monitor and keep track of their roof’s energy savings.
Solar roof tiles are made up of elements that are UV resistant. This feature helps in protecting the roof from harmful UV radiation. Which helps extend the lifespan of the roof system.
This is one of the major advantages in the category. The life span of the solar roof tiles is less than 10 years, so we aren’t fully sure about what kind of maintenance is required there. It is the point to think that as long as the solar tiles are appropriately interconnected, they do not ask for any type of maintenance. However, early adopters of this new technology may experience some maintenance and repair functionalities because solar roof tiles are in the testing stage to see how long they will last and what kind of maintenance, if any, is needed.
As affected by the latest leading technology, the cost of solar roofs is higher than any other roofing material. The cost is totally dependent upon the company, but it can range anywhere from 1,100 to 2,600 per square. In case one is not aware of this, 1 roofing square refers to 100 square feet. So a 2,000-square-foot roof will amount from 22,000 to 52,000.
Solar roofs are still being developed and tested. They haven’t hit the mass market yet. Some of the companies are still collecting pre-orders, among which only a few clients are receiving their roof. This will allow the company to refine its product and ensure it will last longer than the predicted lifespan. The customer will be able to find other companies that facilitate solar tiles or solar shingles that do not have a pre-order list.
A solar tile requires technical installation techniques. It requires trained specialists in both electrical work and roofing. The time taken by a single worker would be about 2 weeks to have his new roof installed by a crew of 15 to 20 people. That is significantly more than the typical roof that consumes less time in the installation. As this technology progresses and more people get trained, the installation time will be decreased.
If the installation is a technical process, any repair required will be a technical part too. It may involve special ordering or technology specialists that will visit your home to make the repair. Else it could be as simple as disconnecting the broken tile and sliding a new tile.
Return on Investment
Solar roof tiles and shingles have a costly upfront cost. It is estimated that it will take at least 15 years to get your return on investment from energy savings, which is about half of the life expectancy of the roof. The standard solar panels have a better return on investment as it typically takes about 5 years to return your money back. An increase in technology will result in increasing the return on investment as well.
When you install the solar tiled roof, you will have to connect the wiring in order to connect your house to the roof and to install battery storage. You will also need to get a repaired roof when you install the solar tiles because the tiles can’t be installed on the surface of the previous roof system. The old roof system must be replaced before the installation of the tiles. This repairing system is different from other types of roof systems; it includes SPF, Asphalt Shingles, TPO, etc., which allow you to just cover the previous roof system.
Another demerits of solar tile roofs is that if you ever decide to move out of your house, the solar tiles cannot be reused. Solar Panels are different because they can be removed and taken with you to your next house.
The installation of solar tiles on the top of your house’s roof helps you feel cozy and safe and generates electricity. Manufacturers try to continue to make solar tiles more affordable and more efficient. Thus, as a result, it is definitely looking brighter for solar-powered homes.
Republic Of Solar
Insights, Resources and Opportunities.
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.
1 Greenlancer. (2022, May 18). Solar Shingles Vs. Solar Panels. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from Greenlancer
2 Magerl, K. (2022, October 28). Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels: What Are the Differences? Retrieved March 25, 2023, from Lawn Starter
3 Noor, U. (2020, June 24). SOLAR SHINGLES VS. SOLAR PANELS: CONSIDERATIONS, BEST PRACTICES AND MORE. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from 8M Solar
4 Stillwell, D. (2022, July 17). Solar shingles vs. solar panels. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from Consumer Affairs
5 This Old House. (2023, October 3). Should You Buy Solar Shingles? Retrieved March 25, 2023, from This Old House
6 National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2000). Solar Roofing Shingles: Office of Power Technologies (OPT) Success Stories Series Fact Sheet. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
7 Kinkaid, M. (2021, December 10). Solar Panels: Are Aesthetics Important Than the Environment? [email protected] of Nebraska – Lincoln. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
8 National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (n.d.). Solar Manufacturing Cost Analysis. Solar Market Research Analysis. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
9 Wikipedia. (n.d.). Tesla Energy. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
10 US Department of Energy. (n.d.). Reducing Electricity Use and Costs. Energy Saver. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
13 National Institute of Standards and Technology. US Department of Commerce. Retrieved from