Everything You Need to Know About Solar Roof Shingles

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Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by admin

Everything You Need to Know About Solar Roof Shingles

Harnessing the power of the sun is not only good for the environment, but it also saves you a lot on your electricity bills. However, before investing in solar panels, it is better to explore the different available options in the solar market. Solar shingles are a magnificent option for homeowners seeking to add value to their properties. Photovoltaic shingles are a relatively newer technology as compared to solar PV modules. Due to their smaller size, the number of solar roof shingles required to power your home is greater than the number of solar panels. In this article, let’s take a look at some of the best solar roof shingles available for your home in 2023.

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Important Points To Remember:

  • Solar shingles, also known as solar roof tiles, are thin sheets of photovoltaic (PV) material designed to be used in place of or on top of traditional roof shingles.
  • PV shingles are thin-film solar cells (TFSC) that are usually made from copper indium gallium selenide, which is a semiconductor and allows the cells to be thin and flexible.
  • Solar shingle is 12 inches wide, 86 inches long, 1 inch thick, and weighs about 15 to 20 pounds per square foot.
  • For a 2000-square-foot home, a solar roof costs about $40,000 to $65,000.
  • To determine the number of solar shingles required to power your house, you need to consider factors such as the size of your house and your average energy consumption.

What are Solar Shingles?

Solar shingles, also known as solar roof tiles, are thin sheets of photovoltaic (PV) material designed to be used in place of or on top of traditional roof shingles. This technology was initially developed by Dow Chemical. The purpose of solar shingles is to offer homeowners an affordable and aesthetically pleasing option for harnessing solar energy. In addition to electricity production, these shingles can also serve as a durable and weather-resistant roofing material.

Composition of Solar Roof Shingles:

PV shingles are thin-film solar cells (TFSC) that are usually made from copper indium gallium selenide, which is a semiconductor that allows the cells to be thin and flexible. This material is renowned for having the highest conversion efficiency rates, an average of approximately 10-12 percent. On the other hand, some manufacturers utilize monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si), a natural semiconductor commonly used in computer chip production. Mono-Si cells have an efficiency rate of about 15-20 percent, but they tend to be pricier than the TFSC.

The Working Mechanism of Solar Shingles:

Solar roof tiles are made of thin photovoltaic (PV) sheets. These thin layers absorb sunlight and eventually convert it into electricity. By utilizing solar shingles, homeowners can save money on their monthly bills and eventually recoup their initial investments. Solar shingles are fixed and can be easily installed in place of your existing roof tiles.

Size of Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels:

Solar shingle is 12 inches wide, 86 inches long, 1 inch thick, and weighs about 15 to 20 pounds per square foot. These dimensions are standard across the board, but they can vary among different brands.

In contrast, the average solar panel weighs around 40 to 50 pounds and measures 39 inches wide, 78 inches long, and 1.5 inches thick. These numbers also differ among manufacturers.

The Power Output of Solar Roof Shingles:

The electricity generated by solar shingles depends on the specific brand and type you choose. Typically, solar shingles produce 13 to 63 watts of power. According to estimates, if you install around 350 solar shingles, you can potentially reduce your average utility bill by 40 to 70 percent. However, it is important to note that you need an energy inverter kit in order to utilize the sunlight captured by the shingles.

Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels:

Let’s see how solar panels are different from solar shingles:

Solar Panel System:

Solar panels are incredibly flexible in terms of placement, removal and reinstallation. This means that you can install these panels where they will get the peak sun exposure. Conversely, the solar roof is installed permanently and is fixed in position.

1. Solar panels can produce more energy:

On average, solar panel generates at least 280 watts of power, whereas one solar shingle usually produces 13 to 70 watts.

2. Solar panels are more heat-efficient:

The solar panels are installed on the existing rooftop, so there is some space left beneath them. This space allows the heat to escape, hence cooling the panels and maximizing electricity production.  However, solar shingles don’t possess the same benefits.

3. The installation procedure of solar panels is fast:

After consultation, assessment, and approval, a professional solar installer will install the solar panels in about one to three days. Meanwhile, the solar tiles take at least one week after the same assessment-to-approval process.

4. Solar systems will save you more money on electricity bills:

Solar PV modules can reduce your electricity bill by 75%. In contrast, roof shingles can decrease your utility bills by approximately 40% to 70%.

5. Solar panel technology is more advanced:

Scientists and engineers have been working on solar PV modules for about a century. Meanwhile, solar roof technology has been around since 2005.

6. Wide variety of solar panels brands:

There are quite a lot of solar panel providers available in the solar market these days. However, there are only a few companies that manufacture the best roof shingles, so your options become quite limited when it comes to purchasing solar tiles.

Solar Shingles:

1. Appealing Aesthetic:

Solar roof tiles are slim and look like a standard rooftop. The aesthetic of solar roofs is sleeker than silicon solar panels.

2. The small size and lightweight:

Solar Shingles are quite lightweight. You may need almost 350 solar shingles to constitute a roof. However, due to their lightweight, they do not add any further burden on your existing rooftop.

3. Durable nature:

Despite their thin and lightweight nature, solar shingles are resistant to harsh weather conditions and seasonal change. However, the solar panels are quite durable as well.

4. Roof replacement:

This is the prime benefit of installing solar roofs. If you are building a home or need a new roof then installing solar shingles would be a better financial option for you. With the help of solar tiles, you will be able to construct an attractive and brand-new roof.

5. Maintenance:

The cleaning of solar tiles is a lot simpler as compared to solar panels. Solar shingles can act like a single power-generating roof, so you don’t need to put much effort into cleaning them

The Disadvantages of Solar Roof Shingles:

1. Limited availability:

Solar shingles are a relatively newer technology, which means that not all solar manufacturers offer them at this time.

2. Technology:

The technology behind solar shingles is still evolving and improving. It is worth noting that not every existing roof is suitable for solar shingle installation, and in some cases, you may need to rebuild the entire roof just to accommodate them.

3. Cost:

Shingles tend to be more expensive than solar PV modules. However, it is important to consider the long-term benefits and savings on electricity bills when evaluating the overall cost-effectiveness.

4. Limited variety:

Solar shingles are currently available in a limited range of styles and colors. Brands like Tesla are introducing new options to increase the aesthetic appeal and design flexibility of solar shingles.

The Similarities between Solar Panels and Shingles:

  • Net metering:

Solar panels and shingles both offer you the benefit of net metering. This means that you can send the surplus electricity back to the grid station in exchange for bill credits.

  • Solar incentives and rebates:

Solar system and shingles are eligible for federal as well as state incentives.

  • Cutting-edge technology:

Both utilize modern cutting-edge technology in their manufacturing.

  • Reduce carbon footprint:

Both solar panels and shingles produce clean energy with zero percent carbon emissions. Thus, helping you fight climate change while keeping your carbon footprint low.

  • Reduce your electricity bill:

Both the solar system and roof tiles provide you with clean and cheap electricity.

  • Twenty-five-year lifetime warranty:

Solar panels and photovoltaic tiles offer a 12-year performance warranty and a 25-year life warranty.

  • Increase your property value:

Solar systems and photovoltaic shingles both increase your property’s value.

Cost Comparison Between Solar Panels Vs Solar Shingles:

The solar roof system is more expensive than the PV modules. For a 2000-square-foot home, a solar roof costs about $40,000 to $65,000. Meanwhile, an average solar array installation in the U.S. costs approximately $10,000 to $20,000 after rebates and incentives. With financing options like solar loans, you can own solar panels without causing any dent in your budget.

If you are on a budget, then solar panels might be the best option for you. They are more efficient, effective, flexible, and affordable.

The final cost of solar shingles will depend on:

  • The size of your rooftop
  • The roof pitch and slope
  • Your home location
  • The energy requirement of your household

The Efficiency of Solar Roof Shingles:

Solar shingles are not as efficient as solar panels for several reasons. Unlike solar panels, which can be adjusted to optimize the angle for capturing sunlight, shingles remain fixed in position. Although it is possible to add more shingles to increase energy production, this requires additional materials which can add extra cost.

Features of Best Solar Roof Shingles:

When comparing the quality of the best solar roof shingles in 2023, several important features need to be taken into account:

  • Aesthetics: Solar shingles are designed to blend seamlessly with conventional roofs, making them less noticeable as compared to standard solar panels.
  • Installation: Solar shingles installation tends to be easier as it is approved by Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) due to their less obtrusive appearance. Additionally, the installation process for solar shingles can be quicker since there is no need for additional racking equipment.
  • Savings: By installing solar shingles, homeowners can significantly reduce their electricity bills. Furthermore, they may qualify for the 30% Residential Clean Energy Credit. Solar shingles can also be eligible for various state solar incentives, net metering, and renewable energy credits (RECs). However, it is worth noting that solar roof tiles and shingles are typically not available for lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA).
  • Value: Installing solar shingles or tiles can enhance the overall value of a property. Potential homebuyers often perceive solar installations as a desirable feature, which can increase the overall value of your property.
  • Materials: Solar shingles are typically available in two main types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline solar shingles or tiles tend to offer higher efficiency levels, meaning they can convert more sunlight into electricity as compared to polycrystalline options.
  • Warranty: The standard warranty offered for solar shingles is typically 25 years. This warranty provides homeowners with long-term assurance and coverage for potential issues or defects that may arise during the lifespan of solar shingles.

How Many Photovoltaic Shingles Do You Need?

To determine the number of solar shingles required to power your house, you need to consider factors such as the size of your house and your average energy consumption. Solar shingles can be seamlessly integrated into your current roof, and the quantity of shingles needed is affected by the size of your rooftop. In general, greater number of shingles will result in higher energy production.

In conclusion, solar shingles offer a sleek and attractive option for harnessing solar energy while integrating seamlessly with existing roofs, particularly concrete and asphalt roofs. Although they are still a developing technology, solar shingles are weather-resistant and require less maintenance as compared to solar PV modules. While they may be more expensive and offer limited style and color options, many brands are working towards creating the best solar roof shingles for homeowners. With their ability to generate clean energy, they can potentially reduce your electricity bills. As technology continues to advance, solar shingles have the potential to revolutionize the way we generate and utilize solar energy.

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