As energy independence becomes a growing priority for homeowners, many are exploring innovative ways to generate their own power.
Solar shingles have piqued the interest of those seeking a seamless and visually appealing alternative to traditional solar panels.
In this blog, we will weigh the pros, cons, and costs of solar shingles to help you make an informed decision for your home. So, let’s embark on this journey to discover if solar shingles are the key to unlocking your home’s energy independence!
What are Solar Shingles?
Solar shingles, also known as photovoltaic (PV) shingles or solar roof tiles, are a type of solar energy solution designed to resemble traditional roofing materials.
These innovative shingles are integrated directly into the roof, providing a sleek and unobtrusive way to generate electricity for your home.
Solar shingles have become increasingly popular as homeowners seek energy independence while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of their homes.
Solar Roof Shingles vs. Solar Roof Panels
When considering solar energy solutions, it’s essential to compare solar shingles with the more common solar roof systems. Here, we’ll break down the key differences between the two in terms of size, materials, output, appearance, service life, efficiency, installation, and durability.
Solar shingles are smaller and thinner than traditional solar panels. They are designed to blend seamlessly with your existing roof, whereas solar panels are typically mounted on top of the roof structure.
Solar shingles are made from various materials, such as thin-film solar cells or silicon-based solar cells. In contrast, solar panels usually consist of crystalline silicon solar cells, which are known for their higher efficiency.
Solar shingles generally have a lower power output compared to solar panels due to their smaller size and lower efficiency. However, the overall output of a solar shingle system depends on the number of shingles installed and the available roof surface area.
One of the main advantages of solar shingles is their aesthetic appeal. They blend seamlessly with traditional roofing materials, making them an attractive option for homeowners concerned about preserving the appearance of their homes. Solar panels, on the other hand, are more conspicuous and can alter the look of a house.
Both solar shingles and solar panels have a similar service life, ranging from 25 to 30 years. However, the performance of solar shingles for your roof may degrade faster than solar panels due to their direct exposure to the elements.
Solar panels are generally more efficient than solar shingles, which means they can produce more electricity per square foot. This is primarily due to the use of crystalline silicon solar cells in solar panels, which have higher energy conversion rates.
Solar shingles require professional installation and may involve removing existing roofing materials, making the process more complex and time-consuming than installing solar panels. However, if you’re already planning a roof replacement, solar shingles can be a more convenient option.
Solar shingles are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and are generally as durable as traditional roofing materials. Solar panels are also built to last, but they may be more susceptible to damage from debris and high winds due to their elevated mounting position.
Pros & Cons of Solar Shingles
Before deciding whether solar shingles are right for your home, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of this innovative technology. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of solar roof shingles.
Pros of Solar Roof Shingles
- Aesthetics: Solar shingles blend seamlessly with traditional roofing materials, making them an attractive option for homeowners who want to maintain their home’s appearance while generating clean energy.
- Energy Independence: Installing solar shingles can help reduce your reliance on grid electricity, potentially lowering your energy bills and providing a sense of energy independence.
- Roof Integration: Solar shingles integrate directly with your existing roof, eliminating the need for bulky mounting systems required for traditional solar panels.
- Durability: Solar shingles are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and are generally as durable as traditional roofing materials.
- Home Value: Installing solar shingles can increase the value of your home, as more buyers are seeking energy-efficient and eco-friendly properties.
Cons of Solar Roof Shingles
- Cost: Solar shingles are typically more expensive than traditional solar panels, both in terms of material costs and installation.
- Efficiency: Solar shingles have lower efficiency compared to solar panels, meaning they generate less electricity per square foot.
- Limited Compatibility: Solar shingles may not be compatible with all types of roofing materials or roof designs, potentially limiting their applicability.
- Availability: Solar shingles are a relatively new technology, and not all solar installers may offer them as an option.
Best Solar Shingle Brands To Install
Several companies manufacture and install solar shingles. Here are five of the top solar shingle brands to consider for your home:
Tesla’s Solar Roof is a popular solar shingle option known for its sleek design and high performance. Tesla’s solar shingles are made with tempered glass and come with warranty. They are designed to integrate seamlessly with Tesla’s Powerwall battery storage system.
CertainTeed’s Apollo II solar shingles are a low-profile option that blends well with traditional asphalt shingle roofs. They feature high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and are designed for easy installation.
SunTegra offers two types of solar shingles: the SunTegra Shingle and the SunTegra Tile. Both options integrate directly with the roof and are designed for easy installation. SunTegra’s solar shingles are compatible with various roofing materials, including asphalt shingles and concrete tiles.
Luma Solar offers a premium solar shingle system that combines high performance with a sleek design. Luma’s solar shingles are made with monocrystalline silicon solar cells and are designed for easy installation on various roof types.
Timberline Solar by GAF Energy
GAF Energy’s Timberline Solar is a solar shingle system designed to integrate with GAF’s popular Timberline roofing shingles. This system features high-efficiency solar cells and is designed for easy installation by GAF-certified contractors.
Solar Shingles Installation
Installing solar shingles requires a professional installer with experience in both roofing and solar energy systems. The process typically involves the following steps:
- Assessment: The installer will assess your roof’s structure, size, and orientation to determine the optimal solar shingle layout and system size.
- Roof Preparation: Existing roofing materials may need to be removed or modified to accommodate the solar shingles.
- Shingle Installation: Solar shingles are installed directly onto the roof, integrating with traditional roofing materials. The installer will carefully align and interlock the shingles to ensure proper electrical connections and weatherproofing.
- Electrical Installation: The solar shingles are connected to an inverter, which converts the generated DC electricity into AC electricity for use in your home. The inverter is then connected to your home’s electrical system and the utility grid.
- Inspection and Activation: Finally, the system is inspected and tested to ensure proper operation and compliance with local building codes. Once approved, the solar shingle system can be activated and begin generating clean electricity for your home.
Cost of Solar Shingles
If you’re looking to buy solar shingles, the cost of solar shingles can vary depending on factors such as the system size, installation complexity, and the brand of solar shingles chosen.
Generally, solar shingles are more expensive than traditional solar panels, both in terms of material costs and installation.
However, the overall cost can be offset by energy savings, tax incentives, and increased home value over time. It’s essential to obtain multiple quotes from different solar installers to find the best value for your specific needs.
Power Your Home With Solar Energy
If you’re considering solar energy for your home, Construct Sun is a trusted provider of residential solar panel installation services. With service locations in Reno, Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Raleigh, North Carolina, Construct Sun is well-equipped to help you achieve energy independence.
Don’t wait any longer to harness the power of the sun for your home. Contact Construct Sun today to learn more about their solar installation services and take the first step towards a more energy-independent future.