What is the Main Difference Between Solar Shingles vs Solar panels ?
You can think of solar shingles like small solar panels that integrate with the regular shingles on your existing roof or a new roof (if you need one). They work the same way standard types of solar panels do, but where solar panels are assembled on top of your roof, solar shingles are used to build a roof.
The variation of types of solar energy products for residential homes is so numerous that it can be overwhelming for families to choose among the offerings. Both solar shingles and solar panels can help you save the planet and save some cash, but here are the major differences that might make you favor one over the other.
What Are Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels ?
Solar shingles are also known as solar roof tiles. They look similar to traditional roofing materials or asphalt tiles. Besides protecting the roof, solar shingles are also capable of generating electricity in a similar fashion as traditional solar panels. Solar shingles are like mini solar panels that utilize the same photovoltaic effect to generate electricity from sunlight, but they are much smaller. They are installed as a part of the roof rather than as a separate component mounted atop the roof. Solar shingles can be installed as part of a total roof replacement or restoration.
A single solar panel consists of a series of many photovoltaic cells arranged on a rectangular plate. To generate electric power for residential and commercial buildings, multiple solar panels must be connected to one another and positioned ensure maximum sun exposure. These solar panels produce a direct current that is converted and stored in batteries for later use. Solar panels are installed on top of the roof of your home, garage or outdoor patio using fitted mounting brackets. Generally, there is a gap between the panels and the roof.
The most obvious difference to this type of solar energy system is simple aesthetics; while photovoltaic solar panels tend to be pretty obtrusive, Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels blend in with the traditional roofing materials, allowing you to have a completely normal-looking roof. Like solar panels, solar shingles provide clean energy production through photovoltaics (absorbing energy from the sun), some of which may be stored in a solar battery and some of which is converted into useful alternating current (AC).Additionally, solar panels are rack-mounted, meaning that dozens of holes need to be drilled into your roof. Solar shingles, on the other hand, do not require that and thus require a less intrusive installation process.
How are solar shingles vs solar panels similar?
1. Photovoltaic technology
All solar panels and shingles are paired with solar inverters and connected to the power grid. They harness energy from the sun to supply clean energy to homes and businesses. Whether you install standard solar panels or shingles, you’ll generate renewable energy right at home, lower your carbon footprint, and save money on your electricity bills.
Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels installations are usually eligible for the same rebates and incentives as traditional solar panel systems, such as the 30% federal solar tax credit and most state and local rebates.
3. Net metering policies
All building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems (aka solar shingles and tiles) are subject to the same rules as solar panels, allowing you to send excess electricity they produce to your utility for credit on your electric bill.
How are solar shingles and solar panels different?
Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels are generally significantly less expensive than solar shingles – that’s because there are fewer solar shingle brands on the market, and they’re generally more expensive to install (although this can depend on the brand you choose, the complexity of your roof, and if your roof replacing).
Generally, the price per square foot of your solar shingle system will depend on how much your roof includes solar shingles vs. regular roofing material. While you won’t cover your entire roof with solar shingles, the number you have can vary significantly based on the size of your roof and how much electricity you consume. Read more about one well-known solar shingle brand in our analysis of Tesla’s Solar Roof vs. traditional solar panels.
Solar shingles use the same technology as solar panels but are often less energy-efficient. There’s typically less airflow under solar shingles than traditional rack-mounted solar panels, meaning they don’t cool as well, decreasing efficiency. The size of your roof may offset this problem: the larger the roof, the more solar shingles you can install, and efficiency becomes less of an issue.
Solar shingles are designed to replace or overlay standard asphalt shingles. On the other hand, solar panels can be affixed to almost any type of roof, from traditional asphalt to metal to tile
Advantages of solar shingles
Solar roof shingles are an exciting product with a few key advantages over traditional solar panels: their aesthetics and potential cost advantage when considering a roof replacement.
- They are easier to maintain than solar panels.
- They are cost-effective if you are building a new roof
- They are weather-resistant and durable.
- Shingles have a sleeker, more attractive aesthetic. They integrate well with concrete and asphalt roofs in particular.
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that solar shingles can be more durable than regular shingles made of asphalt. Some manufacturers even claim that their solar shingles can withstand extreme weather and are fire-resistant. They’re also lighter, making them ideal for homes that can’t support a lot of roof weight.
Most people are interested in solar shingles because of their appearance; if you’re concerned about putting bulkier solar panels on top of your roof, solar shingles might be for you. Products like the Tesla Solar Roof are much sleeker than traditional panels and easily blend in with your roof.
Cost-competitive with a roof replacement
You may have to replace your roof before installing solar panels, especially towards the end of its useful life. When you install solar shingles, you’re also getting a brand-new, more durable roof as part of the deal. And in some cases, this can be almost as cost-effective as installing solar panels and building a new roof to go along with them. This isn’t always the case, but a solar shingle installation can be a good choice for older homes needing roof repairs or a new roof installation.
Disadvantages of solar shingles
With any disruptive product comes some downsides, and solar shingles are no exception. The major downsides for solar shingles are pricing, availability, roof type limitations, and energy production capabilities. Considering these advantages and disadvantages is essential when deciding if solar tiles or solar panels are better for your property.
It’s also important to remember that solar shingle companies may have different prices. Solar shingles have only been around since 2005. Because the technology is relatively new, there isn’t a lot of data to indicate whether they have as long of a lifespan as traditional solar panels. Depending on where you live, finding a contractor that installs solar roof shingles can also be challenging.
- They are more expensive than solar panels.
- The technology is still evolving as well. Not all existing roofs are conducive to solar shingle installation—you might have to rebuild the entire roof.
- They are currently limited in style and colors, though brands like Tesla are introducing new options.
- While solar panels have been around for quite a while, solar shingles are young by comparison. Therefore, not every solar manufacturer offers them.
We’ll get to the biggest sticking point for solar shingles: They’re expensive. Check out our analysis on the Tesla Solar Roof vs. traditional solar panels for a more in-depth look at pricing differences. In just about every case, solar shingles cost more than solar panels. This gap will likely shrink over time, but as long as solar shingles remain a relatively uncommon product, they will likely remain the pricier option. In some cases, depending on the brand, you may find that if your roof needs to be replaced, the cost of a solar roof is comparable to a roof replacement and new solar panels.
Aside from the much-hyped Tesla Solar Roof, several companies have announced and even started installing their own solar roof products. But, in many cases, these options have rolled out very slowly and in limited geographies. Solar shingles are just not being produced at a large scale yet, and as such, they’re often very hard to install – which is why roofers usually complete installations. Some customers have been on waiting lists for years, and there’s not necessarily an end in sight. However, some brands, like CertainTeed, are now available nationwide and don’t currently have a waitlist.
Most shingle products are made to replace standard asphalt tile roofing, and some brands have alternative options for other roof materials, like tiles. Solar panels can be mounted on just about any roof type, from asphalt to metal, making them a more flexible option for homeowners. Solar panels are ideal for an existing roof, while solar shingles are better suited for new constructions or replacing your roof.
Efficiency and energy production
Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels technology has matured significantly in the past decade, and panels these days can have efficiencies of over 22% or 23% in some cases. Solar shingles sacrifice efficiency and energy production for their sleek aesthetics, and most shingle brands have 14% to 18% efficiencies. If you have a large enough roof, this won’t be a problem for you, but if your roof is small and you use a lot of electricity, solar shingles may not provide enough solar energy.
Types of solar shingles
Typically, two types of solar cells make solar shingles: CIGS cells and monocrystalline silicon cells. CIGS cells are made of copper indium gallium selenide. These thin and flexible solar shingles have a high conversion efficiency. The other type, monocrystalline silicon cells, is a natural semiconductor in many traditional solar panels. They, too, have a high-efficiency rate and are typically more expensive than CIGS cells.
Are solar shingles right for you?
The simple answer to this question is that it depends. When deciding between Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels for a solar system installation, there are a lot of factors to consider. Solar roof tiles are becoming increasingly popular for aesthetic reasons. They can be a good roofing option for property owners, subject to homeowners’ association (HOA) regulations. Because solar shingles are thin and lie flat on the roof, they look more like a standard rooftop. However, they lack much of the trustworthiness of traditional solar panels, which often offer 25-year warranties.
From availability in your area to the present condition of your roof, deciding on a solar system is truly unique to each property and homeowner or business owner considering making the switch. If you’re interested in solar shingles, you’ll want to consider these two key factors:
Solar shingles cost more, but they are more aesthetically pleasing than solar panels.
Solar tiles aren’t as efficient as solar panels, but they can still generate enough electricity to cover 40% to 70% of your electricity costs.
FAQs about solar shingles
What are the costs of solar shingles vs solar panels?
Solar shingles may be a more cost-effective solution in some cases, such as new construction or replacing a roof. However, solar panels are almost always cheaper for existing roofs.
Can Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels power a house?
This depends on how much power can be generated by the solar shingles, the size of the home, and your energy consumption. If a solar roof is exposed to enough sunlight to meet the needs of a household, then yes, solar shingles can technically power a house.
Are solar shingles a good idea?
The choice to get solar shingles depends on many factors. Solar shingles are a more cost-effective choice in some cases, and solar panels might be a better option in other situations. For example, solar shingles may be the more attractive choice if it’s time to replace your roof.
How long do solar shingles last?
Like solar panels, solar shingles are designed to last for many years – on average, 25-30 years.
Can Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels be used as a roof?
Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels are not designed to replace a traditional roof. While they can be fitted to a roof, homeowners can expect damage if a solar panel system is used as their primary roofing material. Additionally, homeowners can’t do any construction or walk on solar panels that have been substituted for a traditional roof. Solar shingles allow for a little more flexibility without the risk of damage
Is solar shingles installation DIY-friendly?
No. Solar shingles are usually installed as part of new roof construction, or they are customized to fit an existing roof. Either way, the project is meant for experienced roofers only.
Will Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels increase the value of my home?
As with solar roof panels, solar shingles will also increase the value of your home. While the exact value depends on a variety of factors, including comparable homes in your area, home buyers typically appreciate the potential energy cost savings of a solar roof.
What types of warranties are available for Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels ?
There are a variety of warranties available for Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels , including product warranties, output warranties and installation and workmanship warranties.