You have heard about solar panels but now, let’s talk about solar panel tiles– commonly known as solar shingles.
But why should people spend a full day positioning and repositioning solar shingles when they can turn their whole roof into one giant solar panel? That’s because these aren’t just any solar shingles- they’re made by Tesla (although there are some other manufacturers as well).
Yes, you heard us right! In 2016, Tesla introduced the first solar shingle that changed the world. Why are solar shingles a better option?
Well, they are aesthetically pleasing and futuristic. Most homeowners use solar panels because they want complete control over their energy bills.
This is a good practice that allows them to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. The only thing is that solar shingles don’t come cheap.
You will have to save a lot before buying this army of bad boys. However, in the long run, you will see their benefits.
Let’s start with basics:
Table of Contents
What Are Solar Tiles/Shingles ?
Solar shingles contain a thin solar film called photovoltaic (PV) sheet. It lays on top of a shingle or replaces the shingle, which means that your entire roof will have tiny solar panels of sort. You can either get the solar shingles installed on your existing roof or get a new roof made entirely of the shingles.
Solar Tiles Features
Functionally, solar shingles are similar to the panels. They harness the sunlight and convert it into electricity. Following are the features that set it apart from solar panels:
Solar shingles vary in size and usually are bigger than traditional ones (although some brands manufacture smaller ones).
For example, the CertainTeed solar tiles brand is about 46in x 17in whereas the Tesla tiles are 14in long by 8.5in wide. The weight is around 13 pounds/sq. ft. The shingles are an inch thinner than normal shingles, and a standard roof usually requires 350 tiles.
Solar shingles are mostly composed of thin-film solar cells (TFSC). They contain selenide, gallium, indium, and a semi-conductor, which makes the cells flexible and thin. This material has a very high energy-efficiency rate (about 10 to 12%). There are other solar shingles that use Mono-Si cells. These have an efficiency rate of 15 to 20%, which makes them more expensive.
· Power Output
The power output of solar shingles depends on the type and brand of shingle. Most shingles produce 13 to 63 watts. It is estimated that a roof with 350 shingles can reduce electricity bill by up to 60%.
Pros and Cons of Solar Tiles/Shingles
Just like any other product that promises higher energy efficiency, solar shingles also have their ups and downs. They are worth buying, but you need to know their pros and cons first.
Unlike solar panels that destroy the appearance of your house, shingles become a part of your roof and offer a sleek appearance. Solar panels are quite noticeable due to their bulkiness. On the other hand, solar shingles blend in perfectly with your roof.
According to estimates, solar shingles can help you lower your electricity bill by an average 50%. Moreover, you also got 30% installment cost benefits, which makes them pretty appealing.
It all comes down to the efficiency, doesn’t it? The reason why solar shingles are less energy efficient compared to solar panels is because they cannot be positioned according to where the sunlight falls.
If you are getting TSFC shingles, then you won’t be saving too much on your energy costs. It’s possible that you might need to get more shingles installed to get equal energy output. In the long run, you won’t be able to recover the full cost of shingles installation.
Long Installation Time
It’s obvious – solar panels can be installed easily because most people prefer to get 3 to 8 plates, whereas solar shingles cover the entire roof and need to be installed carefully.
The labor cost is too high and on top of the material cost, you might be looking at an investment of more than $70,000. It can take about a week to install the shingles and get them to function.
Cost of Solar Shingles
Solar shingles are way pricier than solar panels. The two best companies offering solar shingles are Tesla and CertainTeed. There are less expensive brands too such as the Dow Powerhouse and SunTegra. Here are some cost estimates of 4 brands (prices can vary from region to region).
CertainTeed Apollo II Shingle – Cost Estimate
- Cost/sq. ft.: $11.45 – $13.10
- Cost/watt: $4.20 – $4.80
- Total cost of a 2,750 sq. ft. roof: $31,487 – $36, 025
Tesla – Cost Estimate
- Cost/sq. ft.: $22.00 – $26.00
- Cost/watt: $7.85 – $9.00
- Total cost of a 2,750 sq. ft. roof: $60,500 – $71,500
Dow Powerhouse – Cost Estimate
- Cost/sq. ft.: $11.00 – $11.85
- Cost/watt: $4.15
- Total cost of a 2,750 sq. ft. roof: $30,025 – $32,587
SunTegra – Cost Estimate
- Cost/sq. ft.: $10.35 – $11.60
- Cost/watt: $3.80 – $4.25
- Total cost of a 2,750 sq. ft. roof: $28,462 – $31,900
And that is why you should think before buying solar shingles for your house. You have to factor in the cost of your old roof’s renewal amongst other things, which can raise the total cost of the project. If you are looking for more informatory articles about renewable energy solutions for home have a look here.
- What are the Pros and Cons of Solar Tube Lighting in Homes
- Save Your Solar Power: Maximize the Energy with These Simple Tips
- 7 Tips to Create a More Eco-Friendly Home or Apartment
- 6 Eco-Energy Solutions for Your Home to Save Money
- 7 Solar Energy Myths – Busted!
- 4 Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home to Lower your Bills