The United States is considered the world’s third-largest energy market as the cost of solar technology decreases and traditional energy increases. Therefore, more and more homeowners are turning to solar power to offset the rising costs of their energy bills.
If you’re thinking about going solar, you’re probably wondering about your options or which type of solar roofing — solar panels vs solar shingles — is the better choice for you. Below we’ll give you a quick and easy breakdown of what each type of solar roofing has to offer.
Solar Panels Vs Solar Shingles
If you weren’t already aware, solar panels and solar shingles are the only two options for creating a solar roof. To better understand how they differ, we’ll start by defining them:
Solar Roof Panels
Solar panels are the larger and more traditional version of solar power roofing. These conventional solar panels consist of a series of photovoltaic cells arranged on a rectangular plate — also known as a panel. Solar panels are usually installed side by side so they can be linked together. This formation allows them to generate the necessary amount of energy to power a home or building by absorbing direct sunlight and converting it into energy that can be stored within the photovoltaic cells for later use. This means that the panels must also be physically linked to one another and angled in the proper position that allows for optimal sun exposure.
Solar Roof Shingles
Solar shingles are also commonly referred to as solar roof tiles due to the fact that they are similar in appearance to traditional roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles. Solar shingles actually serve two purposes — they protect your roof and generate power from the sun in the same way as solar panels. However, solar shingles are installed as part of your roof, usually in isolated areas rather than covering your entire roof.
The Differences Between Solar Panels and Solar Shingles
While the appearance of the two types of solar roofing materials is different, they essentially work in the same way to take in direct sunlight and convert it to energy. They also share the same:
- Net metering policies
- Rules regarding utility credits for excess energy sent back to the grid
- Material make up
However, there are several key differences between them that will directly influence your choice as a homeowner when it comes time to make a purchase decision. These differences include:
- Solar panel systems are generally available in most areas as most states have a strong solar energy presence — except Montana, Nebraska, and Wyoming (which collectively account for less than 1%t of solar customers). This means that they’re easy to come by.
- Solar shingle systems are technically still in their infancy, as they’ve only recently become popular starting in 2020. Therefore, production is fairly limited, making availability scarce — which means your area or region may not have access to certain solar tiles.
- Solar panel installation today is much more cost-effective, ranging between $15,000 and $26,000. The national average for traditional solar panels ranges from $2.50 to $3.50 per installed watt, which equates to a $20,000 average cost. (Brands like CertainTeed, SunTegra, and Tesla solar panels range between $10,500 and $18,000).
- The cost of solar shingle systems depends on a variety of factors, including the brand, your roof type, and per-watt installation. You can expect solar tiles to cost between $40,000 and $60,000 (before you receive a federal solar tax credit).
It should be noted that when it comes to solar panel installation, your existing roof must be in good condition so they’re able to support the weight of the panels. If your existing roof is not in good condition, you’ll need to invest in a new roof before the solar panels can be installed.
- Solar panels are designed to last between 25 and 30 years — which includes maximum energy production. Once they turn 25, the energy output begins to decrease significantly.
- Solar shingles also have a 25 to 30-year lifespan, which is slightly longer than asphalt shingles. However, this will depend entirely on the manufacturer. For example, Tesla solar shingles come with a 30-year warranty.
- Solar panels are noticeably bulky and large, which is the tradeoff for investing in a clean energy source that’s incredibly cost-effective for your home.
- Solar shingles are much more attractive as they mimic the look of regular shingles or tiles. They blend in, providing a sleek aesthetic while offering the same protection for your home as traditional shingles.
Fortunately, solar panels have come a long way in aesthetics and design, which means you’ll likely find a solar product that suits your tastes.
- Solar panels are ideal for all types of roofing materials, including asphalt shingles, wood, metal, and so on. They’re much more ideal for existing roofs as the angles can be adjusted to catch the most sun.
- Solar shingles work better with newer construction as they’re designed to be just like regular shingles. Therefore, it’s ideal to have them installed in the areas that see maximum sun exposure as they cannot be angled or propped up.
⚡Output and Efficiency
- Solar panels are the more efficient of the two. Not only can they be adjusted to capture the most sunlight but they also produce between 250 to 400 watts of power per panel. This will lower your energy bills by an average of 90%
- Solar shingles are less efficient due to their size and installation, which constricts the airflow beneath them. You can expect your solar tiles to produce 13 to 63 watts of power, lowering your energy bill by 40%-70%
When you upgrade to solar power roofing, you’ll be eligible for a government tax credit. As of right now, if your solar power roofing is installed between 2022 and 2032, you’ll be eligible for a 30% credit, and there’s no maximum amount that you can claim/
This includes the following expenses:
- The solar panels, cells, or shingles
- Labor costs, such as permits, fees, and inspections
- Installation equipment — wiring, mounting hardware, and inverters
- Energy storage decides that have a capacity rating of 3 kilowatt-hours or more
- Sales tax on the above expenses
Many states also have policies regarding renewable energy and offer their own incentives separate from the federal government.
If you’re thinking about switching to solar energy for your home, you really can’t go wrong with either choice. Of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to the experts at Roof Troopers before making your decision. Contact us today to learn more about solar roofing installation.