Solar Roof Shingles Buying Guide For 2022 – Forbes

Solar Roof Shingles Buying Guide For 2022 - Forbes

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Harnessing the power of solar energy is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for your wallet. While roof panels are what often come to mind, solar shingles are another option for homeowners seeking to add value to their properties.

What Are Solar Shingles?

Solar shingles, or solar roof tiles, are made of slim photovoltaic (PV) sheets that either overlay or replace the existing shingles on a roof. They absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. By relying on this method of energy as opposed to electricity, for example, homeowners will save money on monthly bills and eventually recoup their initial investments.

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Like regular roof shingles, solar shingles protect your home from the weather and other elements. These shingles are not only energy-efficient, but they also offer a more attractive aesthetic to a home than do the large, bulky panels normally associated with solar-powered energy.

Solar Roof Shingles vs. Solar Roof Panels

Solar shingles work in a similar way to solar panels—they both absorb the sun’s rays, converting the light to thermal or electrical energy. However, there are a few important differences that you should know about when determining your home’s solar energy needs:

Size

Solar shingles are about the same size as traditional roofing shingles, with the average size being about 12 inches wide by 86 inches long, and weighing about 13 pounds per square foot. The thin tiles are less than an inch in thickness. It takes about 350 tiles to complete a typical solar roof installation.

Materials

Solar shingles are typically made from copper indium gallium selenide, which is what allows them to be so flexible and thin. This semiconductor is an ideal material as it results in a high conversion efficiency rate, which is about 10% to 12% on average. Some shingles, instead, use monocrystalline silicon, which is also used to fabricate computer chips. While these are more expensive, they are worth the extra price as they have a higher efficiency rate of around 15% to 20%.

Output

As the primary goal is to lower energy costs, this is a major consideration with solar installation. The majority of shingles will produce anywhere between 13 and 63 watts of power. The number of tiles in a typical home roof installation can lower the utility bill by 40% to 70%; by adding more tiles, you can increase the energy output.

While both solar shingles and solar panels convert the sun’s rays into energy, there are a number of differences that will help you decide between the two options:

Appearance

Since solar shingles blend right into the roofing materials, such as concrete or asphalt, many prefer this aesthetic rather than large black panels attached to the roof. In general, solar shingles create a sleeker aesthetic than do bulky solar panels, particularly since only parts of the roof, like the edging, might be covered in shingles to be efficient.

Service Life

Both solar panels and shingles have long life spans, typically upwards of 20 years. However, the longevity of solar shingles varies by the manufacturer and the installation. Warranties also vary; when you purchase solar shingles, be sure that you note the difference between power warranties. Solar shingle warranties can last for a couple of decades based on their production, while durability warranties that cover the shingles themselves can span the lifetime of the home.

Efficiency

Solar shingles are outshined by panels in terms of efficiency for a number of reasons. While solar panels can be adjusted as needed to achieve the best angle to capture the sun’s rays, shingles stay in the same place as they were first installed. You can always add more shingles to the roof to harness more energy, but as with all home improvement projects, more materials mean more money.

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Installation

Solar shingles can take as much as a week to install—and that’s if your existing roof is in good shape. If you are building or redoing your roof before adding solar shingles, it can take even longer. Some solar tile manufacturers, like Tesla, will take two or more weeks to install.
This is in sharp comparison to solar panels, which can be installed within a day.

Durability

Solar shingles have one major advantage to panels: They are more durable. Unlike panels, which sit atop the roof, solar roof tiles are actually part of the roof. As such, they are more resilient and can stand up to harsh weather conditions and fallen debris. Additionally, solar shingles are fire-resistant, a feature that is not inherent in solar panels. (It should be noted, however, that the risk for fire with solar panels is very low.)

Cost

Solar shingles can be on the pricier side depending on how much square footage you need to cover and which types you’d like to get. It’s important to understand your budget before opting into a solar shingle project.

Solar Shingles Cost

Solar shingles typically cost more than solar panels because of the amount of materials needed for installation. The average price of solar roof tiles ranges from $15,000 to $20,000, but Tesla shingles could cost more than $70,000, along with a lengthy installation period. However, the ultimate cost of solar shingles depends on the size of the roof, the energy needs of your household and the manufacturer and installer of the shingles you have chosen.

Pros and Cons of Solar Shingles

Here is a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of solar shingles for your home:

Pros

  • Shingles have a sleeker, more attractive aesthetic. They integrate well with concrete and asphalt roofs in particular.
  • They are weather-resistant and durable.
  • They are easier to maintain than solar panels.
  • They are cost-effective if you are building a new roof

Cons

  • While solar panels have been around for quite a while, solar shingles are young by comparison. Therefore, not every solar manufacturer offers them.
  • 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 more expensive than solar panels.
  • They are currently limited in style and colors, though brands like Tesla are introducing new options.

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monocrystalline technology used for solar panels. There are two designs, one that coordinates with concrete tile roofs and another that matches with asphalt.

SunTegra

SunTegra is another option for those looking for a more budget-friendly option in solar roofing. Its simple, lightweight configuration reduces the time it takes to install and integrates well with either asphalt or concrete roofs.

Luma

Luma solar shingles are different from others on the market in terms of their high efficiency (21%) and durability—they can withstand Category 5 hurricanes. They are also billed as the only solar shingle that can be upgraded, which is a great feature to have as the technology improves.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is solar shingle 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 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?

There are a variety of warranties available for solar shingles, including product warranties, output warranties and installation and workmanship warranties.

How long do solar shingles last?

Solar shingles can last up to 25 to 30 years and are sturdy enough to last even longer with excellent maintenance.

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Daniel

Daniel

On this website I dedicate myself to writing everything that I am discovering about solar self-consumption for homes and businesses.

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