Solar Shingles Explained – How Much Do Solar Shingles Cost?
Solar shingles are a new technology that could replace solar panels.
Designed to look like ordinary shingles, solar shingles mimic the appearance of conventional roofing while generating power for your home. You get the appearance of shingles combined with the usefulness of photovoltaic (solar) panels.
How do solar shingles work? Are solar shingles the right choice for your home? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the cost of solar shingles and how they work.
What Are Solar Shingles?
Solar shingles, or photovoltaic shingles, are solar panels designed to look like ordinary roofing materials.
Normal photovoltaic (solar) panels have a distinctive appearance. They stick out on your roof. Some dislike how solar panels detract from your home’s existing décor.
Solar shingles solve these problems, providing the aesthetic appeal of shingles with the functionality of solar panels.
Thanks to advances in technology, solar shingles have risen in popularity in recent years, and a growing number of homes now use solar shingles instead of solar panels. Tesla’s Solar Roof uses advanced solar shingles to produce electricity, for example. Other major solar shingle manufacturers include SolarCity, CertainTeed, SunTegra Solar Roof Systems, and Atlantis Energy Systems.
How Do Solar Shingles Work?
Solar shingles have the same technology as solar panels. The only difference is the size, shape, and appearance. Instead of being large and blocky, solar shingles have a shingle-like appearance: they’re designed to look like asphalt shingles or slate.
Some solar shingles can be installed directly onto your roofing felt and mixed with regular asphalt shingles, making them easy to add to your roof during roofing repairs.
After installation, solar shingles tend to look similar to ordinary roofs. However, upon closer inspection, it’s easy to spot the deep, dark, or black color of the solar shingles. It’s like a combination of solar panels and shingles. However, many homeowners like the appearance of homeowners shingles better than the awkward look of larger solar panels. Some solar shingle companies have also started to integrate more color options into their products, giving homeowners a range of choices.
How Much Do Solar Shingles Cost?
Solar shingles cost between $4.00 and $9.23 per watt, including equipment and installation. Costs vary depending on the manufacturer, the size of your system, and the technology within the solar shingles.
For comparison, it costs around $3 per watt for a traditional solar panel system, including equipment and installation. Solar shingles are more expensive than traditional solar panels, although prices continue to drop as technology improves.
Tesla’s Powerwall webpage has an online solar shingle calculator. Just input your address and your average monthly electricity bill, and Tesla will instantly estimate the cost of your Solar Roof system. Tesla’s Solar Roof is one of the more expensive options in the solar shingles market, and you may be able to find a better deal with other solar shingle manufacturers. However, Tesla’s solar shingles may also be the most durable in the industry.
Types of Solar Roofs
If you want a solar roof, you can buy either solar tiles or solar shingles. The technologies have a similar purpose but different designs.
Solar tiles are durable tiles with multiple layers. The tiles have integrated thin-film solar cells or monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon solar cells.
Solar shingles, meanwhile, are shingles designed to replicate the appearance of ordinary shingles. They’re made from integrated monocrystalline silicon solar cells.
Although solar shingles have risen in popularity in recent years, they’ve been around for decades. The first solar shingles launched all the way back in 2005. Today, the technology continues to improve, making solar shingles more affordable than ever.
Solar Shingles Versus Solar Panels
If you want to add solar power to your home, then you can choose between solar shingles and solar panels.
Solar shingles are more aesthetically pleasing than solar panels, but they also cost more. However, if you are already planning to replace your roof, then solar shingles may be a better long-term option.
Some of the things to consider with solar shingles and solar panels include:
- Aesthetics: Solar shingles are more aesthetically pleasing. They’re designed to look like ordinary home shingles instead of bulky solar panels. If you like the idea of solar power but don’t want to add bulky solar panels to your home, then you may like the aesthetics of solar shingles.
- Ideal If Replacing your Roof: If you are replacing your roof anyway, then solar shingles may be a more cost-effective option.
- Pricing: Solar panels tend to be cheaper than solar shingles, although the price difference has narrowed over the years.
- Energy Efficiency: Solar panels tend to be more energy-efficient than solar shingles because you can position them for maximum sun exposure. Shingles, meanwhile, need to follow the curve of your roof, which could mean suboptimal sun exposure.
- Lifespan: Solar shingles tend to have a lower lifespan than solar panels, although things are changing rapidly. Tesla’s Solar Roof, for example, has been proven to withstand hailstorm damage and other intense damage, and Tesla offers a 25-year warranty.
- Availability: You can install solar panels virtually anywhere in or around your home. However, you need to install shingles on a roof with a specific slope and facing.
Overall, solar panels are best for those who want maximum energy production at a reasonable rate. Solar shingles, meanwhile, are ideal for those who value aesthetics over functionality. As solar shingle technology continues to improve, however, solar shingles are becoming a better option for homeowners.
Solar Shingle Maintenance
Solar shingles require similar maintenance to an ordinary roof. You need to watch for snowfall and leaves. However, you don’t need to clean the shingles with specialized equipment.
Most homeowners wash their roofs with a hose to keep them clean. A garden hose can clear debris from the shingles, maximizing power production.
Check your solar shingles for damage after a hailstorm or windstorm. However, most modern solar shingles are surprisingly durable and rated to withstand hailstorms, windstorms, and other disasters.
With basic maintenance, solar shingles can last 25 to 30 years.
Best Solar Shingle Companies Available Today
Solar shingle companies offer a range of different options. Some companies emphasize functionality and efficiency. Others emphasize aesthetic appeal and design.
Some of the most popular solar single companies available today include:
- Tesla Solar Roof: First announced in 2016, Tesla’s Solar Roof has had a challenging rollout but it has risen to become one of the best-known players in the space today. It’s one of the priciest options available, but it’s also one of the most aesthetically appealing and durable solar shingles available today. Plus, it’s a whole roof replacement that uses both solar and non-solar components.
- CertainTeed Apollo II: The CertainTeed Apollo II doesn’t look as good as the Solar Roof. However, they may be the second best-looking solar shingles in the industry today.
- SunTegra Solar Tiles and Shingles: SunTegra’s Solar Shingles can be mounted on top of your current asphalt shingles, while the Solar Tiles can be used as a replacement for concrete tiles.
- Hanergy HanTile: Hanergy’s HanTiles have a unique appearance, mimicking the look of dark, terracotta roofing tile.
- Luma Solar Roof: The Luma Solar Roof is a complete replacement to your roof – similar to the Tesla Solar Roof.
Request an Estimate from a Local Solar Shingle Company
The costs of solar shingles and solar panels vary widely. The prices are also changing constantly. With new technologies and new companies entering the market regularly, the best way to determine the price of solar shingles is to request an estimate from a local company.
Alternatively, Tesla provides free and instant estimates for its Solar Roof solar shingles. Enter your address and monthly energy usage into the online form at https://www.tesla.com/powerwall, then get instant information about the estimated cost of your Tesla Solar Roof array.
To learn more about the cost of solar shingles in your area – and to decide whether or not they’re worth it – contact a solar shingle company near you.