Solar shingles have emerged as an innovative alternative to traditional rooftop solar panels, combining the dual functionalities of roofing material and energy generation. By seamlessly integrating solar cells into shingle-like structures, they offer a more aesthetically pleasing option for homeowners looking to harness solar energy. In this blog, we’ll focus on solar shingles pros and cons.
What are Solar Singles? How Do Solar Shingles Work?
Solar shingles operate similarly to conventional solar panels. The sun shines on the shingle, and it absorbs the light using photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells are solar cells that produce electricity from sunlight, and they are placed between layers of semiconducting material such as silicon. When exposed to sunlight, the material becomes energized, generating an electric field.
Solar roofs produce a direct current that passes through the inverter, which converts it into an alternating current. This current can be used by your home, stored in your solar battery bank, or sent back to the electricity grid.
Types of Solar Shingles
Solar shingles are commonly manufactured using two types of solar cells: CIGS cells and monocrystalline silicon cells. Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) cells make up slim and malleable solar shingles, renowned for their remarkable conversion efficiency. Another type is monocrystalline silicon cells, which are natural semiconductors commonly found in traditional solar panels. They have high efficiency but are expensive compared to CIGS cells. Now, let’s explore solar shingles pros and cons.
Unveiling Solar Shingles Pros and Cons: A Comprehensive Analysis
By combining the functionality of traditional roofing materials with solar power generation, these shingles offer a unique solution for homeowners and building owners looking to embrace sustainable energy practices. Through the points below, let’s learn about solar shingles pros and cons.
Pros of Solar Shingles
Let us find out about solar shingles advantages and disadvantages through these points.
1. Fire Resistant
Solar roofs have a very high fire rating of Class A, which means that they are an excellent material for areas where there is a high risk of fires. It is suitable for regions that are prone to sunny and dry conditions.
2. Increased Property and Resale Values
Investing in a new roof can significantly boost the value of your property, making it more attractive to potential buyers and ultimately enhancing its resale value. Solar roofs add value to your home and save you money. Homes with solar power systems sell for 4% higher on average. This is the most famous advantage from the list of solar shingles pros and cons.
3. Long Lifespan
Solar shingles last longer than regular shingles. They ensure optimal performance and efficiency for a period of 25 to 30 years. If you wonder how long solar shingles last, the answer to this depends on the manufacturers. The longevity of solar shingles depends on the manufacturer and solar companies offer their own warranties. For example, you get a 30-year warranty on Tesla solar roofs.
Note: It is highly recommended that you contact your shingle provider to clearly comprehend the terms of your warranty and receive instructions regarding maintenance.
4. Low Maintenance
Some maintenance and repairs may be required for early adopters of solar roof tiles, which are still being tested to determine their durability and maintenance requirements. In the long run with a lifespan of 10 years, it is likely possible they would require less maintenance.
5. Lower Utility Bills
The primary motivation for homeowners to invest in solar roof shingles is to decrease their energy expenses. With around 350 tiles, a standard residential setup can decrease the monthly energy expenses substantially ranging from 40% to 70%.
6. Sleek Aesthetics
With solar shingles, not only will your house be safeguarded like with traditional shingles, but you will also enjoy a smart and contemporary look that seamlessly integrates with your roof covering. Conventional solar panel installations are both unattractive and cumbersome, failing to provide any sort of home defense.
7. Weather Resistant
Solar shingles, just like other conventional roofing materials, are designed to withstand any climate conditions. The outer shell is made up of impact-resistant glass that is not at all fragile.
Solar tiles not only provide impact resistance but they are also designed to withstand snow and ice. While snow won’t cause any harm to solar shingles, it does hinder the sun’s rays from being absorbed when it accumulates. Soar roofs are well-suited to wind- and hurricane-prone regions like Florida. The weather-resistant material is capable of withstanding winds of up to 130 mph.
Several solar tiles claim impact ratings that exceed the maximum rating available, which is four. The roofing material with a rating of four needs to withstand hail impacts as large as two inches in diameter, approximately the size of a tennis ball.
Also Read: Top 7 Space Based Solar Power Pros and Cons
Cons of Solar Shingles
Solar shingles represent a novel and cutting-edge technology in the renewable energy field. Although they have a lower output compared to traditional solar panels, their high cost and limitation to specific regions make them less accessible to people. In this guide to solar shingles pros and cons let us now get detailed information on their drawbacks.
1. Complete Removal
It is not possible to replace half your roof with solar shingles. You need to replace the entire roof material to install solar shingles. Unlike solar panels, which are easily installed in the required amount and space.
Although they come with a higher price tag, solar shingles are undoubtedly the most premium option available for roofing material. The cost of installing solar shingles may vary depending on factors like the brand, type of roof, and installation expenses. Investing in a solar roof can require an initial investment ranging from $40,000 to $60,000. And this doesn’t take into account the potential savings from the federal solar tax credit.
Proper installation of solar roofs demands specialized skills, such as wiring expertise, that only a licensed electrician possesses. If your current roof is in good shape, the installation of a new roof can be completed in as little as one week. Nevertheless, the installation of a new roof may require a significant amount of time, often reaching two weeks or even more, contingent upon the roofing company you choose.
4. Limited Availability
Only 1% of all solar installations are made up of solar shingles, illustrating their small presence in the market. Many regions still lack access to new technology due to the limited availability of brands and products.
5. Lower Efficiency
On average, installing 350 tiles can lower utility bills by 40% to 70%. However, installing solar panels can reduce energy costs by 90%. The energy efficiency of solar shingles is lower compared to that of traditional panels due to restricted airflow beneath the shingles. The power output of most solar tiles ranges from 13 to 63 watts.
The production of solar shingles depends on the orientation of the roof. Solar shingles cannot be installed in just any direction. This is because the shingles can only be installed in the natural direction of the roof. If the roof is not facing the right direction, the shingles may not produce as much energy as they could. Who knew it could be one of the cons that we would come across in this guide to solar shingles pros and cons.
7. Return on Investment
On average, it takes around 15 years for homeowners to fully recover their investment with solar shingles. With traditional solar panels, the entire investment can be recovered in just five years. When you install a new roof, as many others do, you can recover 100% of your investment. Solar roofs are currently costly due to their reliance on new technology. This explained everything about solar shingles advantages and disadvantages.
How Do Solar Shingles Differ from Solar Panels?
Both solar shingles and solar panels are building–integrated photovoltaics (BIPVs). Both harness the power of the sun to generate electricity and have the same net metering policies. Regulations governing credits for surplus energy fed into the power grid by households or businesses utilizing renewable energy are also the same.
Solar shingles are more than just a simple addition to your roof; they are a comprehensive roofing solution. Whereas, traditional solar panels are a component of the roof. Here is a table for a quick comparison of both.
|Parameters||Solar Shingles||Solar Panels|
|Durability||25-30 years||25-30 years|
|Installation||Minimum 1 week||Less than 1 day|
|Output||13 to 63 watts per shingle||250 to 400 watts per panel|
|Roof Type||Roof replacement or asphalt shingles re-roofing||Most roofing materials|
|Size||12 inches x 86 inches and less than 1 inch thick||39 inches x 65 inches|
|Weight||13 pounds per square foot||40 pounds each|
What are the Benefits of Solar Shingles in Terms of Incentives and Rebates?
After learning about solar shingles pros and cons, having knowledge about solar shingle incentives and rebates is equally important. You can claim the government tax credit for installing solar shingles just like you can for solar panels. From 2022 to 2032 to install one, you can receive an even higher tax credit of 30%. There is no limit to the amount that a homeowner can claim. And the expenses that can be claimed to enjoy the benefits of solar shingles include the following:
- Balancing equipment-The list includes inverters, mounting equipment, and wiring
- Contractor labor costs-This include inspection costs and permitting fees
- Energy storage devices-Those with a capacity rating of 3 kilowatt-hours or more
- Sales tax on expenses
- Solar panels or cells
In addition, various states enforce regulations on sustainable power, providing their own incentives and rebates.
Also Read: Can You Claim Solar Tax Credit Twice?
Are Solar Shingles Worth It?
An increasing number of states are now mandating the installation of solar systems in all new residential constructions. Solar shingles remain a novel and costly technology, even to this day. If you require a complete roof replacement, it is certainly worth considering them. When determining which option is best for your home, take into account the following things.
- Whether they are available in your region and if you can get a professional installer?
- Does your budget allow considering solar shingles?
- Possible location of installing them because you cannot adjust their angles
Solar shingles offer a visually appealing way to generate clean energy. However, their higher upfront costs and potential installation challenges require careful consideration. Understanding the pros and cons empowers homeowners to make informed decisions about this renewable energy solution. For more empowering solar content, keep reading.