February 4, 2022

Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels - Which Is a Better Solution?

When looking for a greener energy solution, it may be hard to decide between solar panels and solar shingles, so we've broken it down to make it easier for you.

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A lot of homeowners today like to explore their alternatives to traditional roofs.  Many are interested in solar options that will help them cut the cost of their energy bill, reduce their carbon footprint, and sometimes even put some extra money back in their pockets.  Today, there are two main options for anyone thinking about installing a solar roof.  There’s the old traditional solar paneling that has been around for a number of years, and there are the newer solar shingles.  So, when it comes to solar shingles vs solar panels, which one is best?  Let’s look at which is the better product and which is the better solution for your home.

The Better Product - Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are a new and exciting option for people looking to make their houses greener.  They work in the same basic way as solar panels, but they are designed to look like regular asphalt shingles.  So you get all the benefits of solar panels, without having to ruin the aesthetic curb appeal of your roof.  But are solar reflective shingles worth it?

Given that they are such a new technology, do solar shingles really work?  Each shingle can generate between 13 and 63 watts of energy.  That doesn’t sound like much, but since they cover your roof like asphalt shingles, there are plenty of them to create electricity for your home.

There is one major drawback to solar shingles, though, and that is the cost of solar shingles vs solar panels. Solar shingles cost a lot of money. An average home can expect to pay close to $75,000 installing solar shingles. With a price that high, it will be hard to save enough energy to pay for the cost of installation. Are solar shingles worth it? They will be one day, but they’re just too new and cost too much right now. 

The Better Solution - Solar Panels

Solar panels have been around for a number of years now.  In fact, they have become fairly common around the US.  The average panel generates 10 kW of energy, so it can be an effective way to reduce your energy footprint.  

The drawback to solar panels is that they aren’t pretty to look at.  No matter how nice and new your house is, solar panels are going to jut out at odd angles from your roofline.  For some people, this may be a bonus, since it sends a message to your neighbors that you are doing your part to reduce energy consumption and makes sure everyone sees your solar panels.  But if you are just worried about the curbside appeal, solar panels leave something to be desired.  

On the other hand, solar panels are much cheaper than solar shingles.  Installing a full bank of solar panels on your roof will cost around $20,000 - less than a third of what solar shingles cost. This makes it a lot easier to justify their cost since you will likely be able to generate enough power to cut your electric bill to offset your investment in solar.  

So, given the difference in solar shingles vs solar panels cost, panels just make more sense.  While they do not look as nice on your roof, they have been around for a while, and that means they are more cost-effective. 

While solar shingles are an exciting new product, they are really still on the horizon for a typical homeowner. Solar panels may not look as nice as solar shingles, but, for the time being, they are the best solution all around.

The final question is whether either of these solar options is better than traditional asphalt shingles.  The answer really depends on your circumstances.  Does your home have open exposure to the sky? Or does it have trees shading the roof?  Does your county allow net meter readings, so that you can recoup the value of the extra wattage you are contributing to the grid?  There are a number of questions you need to ask before deciding on solar roofing options. But if solar is a good option for you, stick with panels until shingles have a drop in price. 

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