Solar shingles and solar panels are cut from the same source – solar technology. Solar shingles are very relevant because they take away the need to install traditional solar panels on your roof. They are smaller than solar panels and are designed to appear as traditional roofing materials while tapping and utilizing solar power from the sun.
Shingles and panels share similarities that include cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, low maintenance, technology, and policies on net metering. At the same time, their differences lie in their flexibility, cost, and energy efficiency. Some merits and demerits come with the installation. Let’s begin with what solar shingles are.
What Are Solar Shingles?
Solar shingles are also referred to as solar roof shingles or solar roof tiles. These pieces of solar technology are smaller versions of conventional solar panels designed to look and function like roofing materials while also harvesting solar power from the sun and converting it into usable electricity for the home. It’s the perfect combination of a roof replacement and a solar system.
What Are Solar Panels?
Solar panels are devices or surfaces that contain embedded solar cells layered with silicon which tap sunlight from the sun and convert it to electricity. Unlike solar roof shingles, which can be a total roof replacement, you can install solar panels on an existing roof. Standard solar panels come in three types – monocrystalline panels, polycrystalline panels, and thin-film panels.
Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels – Similarities
Both solar installations appear different, but they share some similarities, which are inevitable since they’re both involved in generating renewable energy. So what exactly do solar panels and solar shingles have in common;
Traditional solar panels and solar shingles work the same way. They both contain integrated photovoltaics or solar cells, which are designed to convert light into electricity. Solar roof shingles and solar panels require exposure to the sun to channel electricity into the home for various applications. Solar shingles and solar panels work with solar inverters to convert the solar energy it taps from the sun into electricity which can even be channeled to the power grid if produced in excess. In summary, solar roof tiles and solar panels are similar because their technology produces renewable energy from sunlight.
When you install solar shingles or solar panels, you’re generating your electricity, and though the initial costs may be daunting, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run. This is even more potent now than before because the cost of going solar has significantly dropped in the past ten years compared to conventional electricity, which has increased by a slight fraction. Whether it’s solar shingle installation or solar panel installation you want to go for, it will go a long way in either reducing or eliminating energy bills payment.
Solar and environment-friendly are two words that go together. The rise of the solar energy industry has made it possible to reduce our carbon emissions into the environment. Fossil fuel usage emits a significant amount of greenhouse gases into the environment, depleting the ozone layer and doing more harm than good. However, solar power is clean energy that reduces the presence of carbon dioxide and other gases that are harmful to the environment. In summary, having a solar roof or solar panels on your roof positively impacts your immediate environment.
Solar shingles and traditional solar panels require little maintenance, which is precisely one reason they are increasing in popularity. This is also why it’s very cost-effective. After purchasing the solar system and its setup by solar installers, you don’t have to do much anymore. Traditional panels and solar roof tiles can last for up to 30 years with little maintenance. This is unlike other forms of energy generation that require much more maintenance.
Policies on Net Metering
Net metering is electric billing that entails the utilization of the power grid to store excess electricity generated by your solar system. Whether your solar power is generated via solar panels or solar shingles, you can earn incentives from it via net metering. That’s because every building integrated photovoltaics, including solar shingles and panels, is subject to the same policies. Suppose you happen to reside in a location where net metering is popular. In that case, you can sell excess solar power to the utility company for bill credits which means lesser utility bills for you.
Solar shingles installation usually attracts the same rewards or rebates as installing solar panels. A notable incentive is the 30% federal solar tax credit.
Solar technology did the world a favor by not just providing a way to harvest and utilize energy in an environment-friendly way but offering longevity as well. Alongside with low-maintenance, this is why solar roofing and solar panels are very cost-effective in the long run.
Solar Shingles Vs. Solar Panels – Differences
Solar roofs and solar panels may be products of the same technology, but they have several differences that make them unique from each other.
When it comes to affordability, solar shingles cost more than solar panels. The reason is that solar panels are more abundant in supply than solar shingles, and the latter is also more expensive to install. The installation cost depends on the solar shingles brand you choose, how complex your roof is, and if your existing roof needs to be replaced.
The cost of your solar roof installation per square foot will depend on the portion of space the solar shingles will cover on your roof. The number of solar shingles you’ll need to install depends on two factors;
- The amount of electricity you consume: the more light you consume, the more solar energy you need and the more solar shingles you’ll need to install
- The size of your entire roof
Putting it in figures, the cost of a 10 kw system via a solar roof can cost up to $64,000, while that of the solar panel system is around $29,000. Cost solar panels are much less pricey than solar shingle installations.
Solar shingles look different from solar panels. As mentioned earlier, solar shingles are designed to look just like existing roofing material, for instance, traditional asphalt shingles. This is why it can serve as roof replacement during installation. Unlike solar panels, it’s your new roof.
On the other hand, solar panels have more bulk than solar shingles. Depending on the type of solar panel you’re installing, they can be very flat, blue, or black. Also, when installed on your existing roof shingles, there’s a gap between them and your roof.
Solar shingles are more visually appealing than panels. Solar panels have more of a functional look and can sometimes appear awkward. On the other hand, once a roofing company assesses your roof and deems it fit for solar shingles, the visual appeal of the finished work will be very aesthetic. Solar shingles blend seamlessly like traditional metal roofing on a new roof.
This is a bit of a buster. Naturally, you’ll think that since the solar roof is much more expensive to install than panels, it will be more efficient, but the reverse is the case. Panels are more efficient because they enable more airflow under them thanks to the gap between them and the metal roof itself. This enables them to dissipate heat. Also, solar panels can be installed in a position that will expose them properly to sunlight. If the current installation spot is not getting enough solar energy, the panel can be adjusted to where it will get it.
On the flip side, solar shingles are built into the roof, and if they don’t get enough sunlight, nothing can be done about it because it’s a fixed installation. It can’t be repositioned. Moreover, the installation of solar shingles ensures that there’s no gap which means no airflow.
A solar panel is much more flexible than a solar shingle because it can be removed from its current spot and reinstalled on another. A solar shingle doesn’t have that luxury. This may make you wonder, “are solar shingles worth it?” Yes, they are.
The physical dimension of a solar shingle is 218.4 cm in length, 30.5 cm in width, and a thickness of less than 2.5 cm. All these, along with the installation equipment, will result in a weight 0f 15-20 pounds per square foot on your roof.
Solar panels, on the other hand, have a dimension of 165 cm in length, 99 cm in width, and a thickness that’s less than 5 cm. On surface examination, these solar panels weigh less, but on closer inspection, they are just dead weight because they add to the weight of the roof while the solar shingles make up the roof.