Making smart investments into your home can really help grow its value. One great way to do this is by installing a solar energy system. This eco-friendly investment both sets you up for significant long-term savings on your electric bills and increases the future resale value of your home.
Solar energy systems are now cheaper than they have ever been—the cost to install solar has decreased by more than 70% since 2010. As solar technology production becomes less expensive, it becomes more accessible to the everyday consumer.
Solar panels are not the only option, either. Each year, new developments in the solar industry lead to innovative, commercial solar technologies. These include everything from improvements in traditional solar panels, to mobile energy solutions, and even building-integrated photovoltaics.
Solar shingles are another example of this, offering homeowners all the benefits of a solar panel system while further serving as the shingles for a home’s roof. The dual-purpose nature of solar shingles separates them from other solar energy systems on the market in terms of both functionality and aesthetics. This provides a number of benefits for the homeowner, but before we go into those, let’s touch on the difference between solar shingles and standard solar panel systems.
Solar shingles vs. solar panels
Photovoltaic cells are the primary component in both solar shingles and solar panels. More commonly referred to as solar cells, these individual, crystalline silicon wafers absorb and convert sunlight into usable electricity. The main difference between a solar panel and a solar shingle is the way in which these solar cells are grouped and formatted.
In a solar shingle, the manufacturer places cells within the shingle to serve as both the roof covering and as a means to generate electricity. This means solar shingles must be as durable as similar rooftops. Pros and cons for solar shingles and solar panels include:
- Blend in with the rest of your roof shingles better to give more aesthetic appeal
- Increase the resale value of your home
- Dual functionality as solar energy system and roof covering
- Can be installed as a complete replacement for a damaged roof
- More expensive (actual cost highly dependent on specific features of your home’s roof)
- Feasibility of installation depends on the features of your roof, like slope and square footage
- Less energy-efficient, for now
- Manufactured by fewer companies
- Difficult to find professional uninstallation
- Less expensive than solar shingles
- Many manufacturers and installers to choose from
- More energy-efficient
- Can be uninstalled easily and transported to new property
- Increase resale value of home
- Considered less aesthetically pleasing by some
- Heavier and bulkier
- Depend upon a roof in good condition before installing, soit may require roof repairto continue with your project
- Require a larger upfront investment
To summarize the main points, solar shingles are currently more expensive and less energy-efficient, but often look better and serve the purpose of both roof and energy producer.
A typical 5 kW solar panel system in the US will cost a homeowner around $13,000-$15,000 and be suitable for a home of about 2,700 square feet, the average size of a US home.
A similar-sized solar shingle system may cost three times as much. For example, Tesla’s solar roof package for a home of that size could cost upwards of $40,000. There are a few other competitors in the solar shingle market however, and these companies offer shingle systems at a price closer to $25,000. There is also a 30% federal solar tax credit that can be applied to any solar energy system, which can certainly influence final price considerations.
Although solar shingles are more expensive than classic solar panel systems, they have a very unique and pleasing appearance that blends in well with the roof, and they only slightly less efficient.
Another notable benefit of solar shingles is of course their dual purpose. If you are already in need of repairing or replacing your rooftop, you can knock out two birds with one stone by choosing solar shingles!
Tesla solar shingles, Wikimedia
Other solar shingle options
Although Tesla can feel like the only player in the solar shingle market, for buyers on a budget their product may be out of reach. Thankfully, there are several other popular options that are less expensive.
Dow’s Powerhouse line of solar shingles is a very popular option. These shingles have the same level of performance and protection as an asphalt shingle, and are rated around 15% efficiency, which is comparable to some lower-end solar panels. For a 5 kW system, we’ve seen prices at or above $20,000. These shingles are still somewhat noticeable on your roof, but do blend in with the rest of the roofing material reasonably well.
Another great option are SunTegra’s solar shingles. These shingles are a bit more efficient than Dow’s Powerhouse shingles, and as a result are slightly more expensive—coming in at around $25,000.
Almost every competitor of Tesla in the solar shingle market offers lower prices than the world-famous brand. However, the pricing discrepancy is not without reason—when you compare the appearance of each brand, Tesla does come out on top.
Why solar is a great investment
Along with the obvious long-term savings on your electric bill that solar power offers, there are quite a few other benefits. Firstly, when you install a solar system, whether panels or shingles, your home’s resale value will almost always increase.
Secondly, green energy solutions are becoming more and more crucial due to the issues posed by climate change. By adopting a solar energy system, you are also helping your city and country move away from its dependence on oil-based energy.
If you are thinking about going solar, then solar shingles may be a great option for you—especially if you’re also in need of roof repair or replacement! Have any more questions about solar shingles? Ask us in the comments below, or on Twitter @Roofrapp. And, if you’re a solar installer looking for more work opportunities, click here to sign up to grow your business with Roofr!
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