Solar Roof Shingles – Are They Worth It Considering The Costs?

Solar Roof Shingles - Are They Worth It Considering The Costs?

With the world focusing more on solar power, you might wonder if solar roof shingles are worth purchasing for your home.

One of the biggest benefits of solar roof shingles is that they are designed to match the appearance of your roof, which is a bonus if you’ve never liked the appearance of solar panels.

What, exactly, are solar roof shingles?

Solar roof shingles are built to look like regular roofing materials, such as asphalt, but they work like solar panels to produce energy.

A main difference between solar panels and solar roof shingles is that roof shingles are smaller in size – they tend to be an average of 12 inches by 86 inches in dimensions and weigh 13 pounds per square feet.

Let’s learn more about solar roof shingles and if you should consider them if you want to generate your own power.

Reasons To Consider Installing Solar Roof Shingles

Two Men Installing Solar Shingles

If you want to go solar, you’ll want to consider solar roof shingles. Here’s why:

  • They score high marks for energy efficiency. Many solar shingles you can purchase are constructed out of thin-film solar cells that are constructed out of copper indium gallium selenide. This is a semiconductor that has one of the best energy conversion efficiency rates, as Solar Magazine reports.
  • They last a long time. Solar roof shingles share a common benefit with solar panels: they can last for decades, and even when they reach the end of their lifespan they can continue to generate power.
  • They make your house look better. One of the best things about solar shingles is that they enhance the appearance of your home. While some solar panels that are installed on the roof of your house can look bulky, solar shingles are sleeker and blend in with your home’s roof because you can find solar shingles to match a variety of regular roof materials, such as those made with clay, slate, or asphalt shingles.
  • They comply with homeowners association (HOA) regulations. If you’re subject to these regulations, you’ll love that solar roof shingles look like regular roofs because of how they are sleek and lie flat, especially because the HOA might prohibit the installation of solar panels. This gives you the opportunity to generate solar power on your property even if you previously couldn’t.

How Much Do Solar Roof Shingles Cost?

The average cost for solar roof shingles is between $15,000 and $20,000 but this will obviously depend on how many square feet you will need of them.

Sophisticated solar shingle systems, such as those offered by Tesla, will cost even more – you’re looking at upwards of $70,000! 

Do You Need To Replace Your Roof To Install Solar Shingles?

Residential Roof

If your roof is in need of a makeover, it’s probably a wise decision to repair it before installing solar roof shingles.

However, if that’s not the case, you don’t have to worry about making changes to your roof before you can install solar shingles.

Just make sure you install the right amount of solar roof shingles so that you can power up your home according to your energy usage and what you’ll really need.

What Are Similarities And Differences Between Solar Roof Shingles And Solar Panels?

Here’s how solar roof shingles and solar panels are similar:

  • Both solar roof shingles and solar panels work in the same way. They’re even made up of the same components, such as wire, photosensitive waterproofing, and material to generate electricity from sunlight.
  • Both solar shingles and solar panels will last between 25 and 30 years, and they will both still work after that timeframe, although their efficiency will decline a bit every year.
  • Both solar shingles and solar panels give you federal tax credits. This obviously depends on how much electricity your solar power system can generate, but you are entitled to a federal solar tax of 30 percent, and you might find that the state in which you live also offers further credits.

Now, what about the differences?

  • One of the biggest differences between the two is that solar roof shingles tend to be a bit more expensive. This is because they not only generate electricity in the same way that solar panels do, but they also work as regular roof shingles.
  • Solar shingles require more labor when they’re installed. This is because they are the same size as regular roof shingles and they are required in larger amounts as compared to solar panels that are flat and large, making you require fewer of them. Every solar roof shingle needs to be wired inside the building, so it’s quite a tiresome and long process to install them.
  • Solar shingles are not as popular as solar panels. Maybe you’ve never even heard of them until you started reading this article! So, in order to get them installed, it might prove a little time-consuming to find a solar installer who will be able to provide and install them in your home. Their sleek appearance is certainly helping to build their popularity, so it’s surely just a matter of time before they will become more well-known in the industry.

What About Solar Efficiency?

Solar Shingles

When it comes to how efficient they are, there are some important things to consider if you’re not sure if you should install solar roof shingles or solar panels.

Here’s how the two compare when it comes to solar power efficiency:

Solar roof shingles offer around 13 to 60 watts for every shingle.

If you’re choosing the option of having 60 watts for every shingle, as an example, you’ll need 17 shingles that cover 22 square feet to produce one kilowatt of energy, as Infinity Energy reports.

On the other hand, you can find solar panels that have 350-odd watts each so you’ll only need 15 panels, and they will cover approximately 260 square feet of your roof space.

Solar roof shingles are considered to be less efficient than solar panels.

This is because they can’t be adjusted to ensure that they’re in the best position to receive the most sunlight every day in the way that solar panels can.

What this means during installation is that you might require an increased number of shingles to get the same energy output that you would from solar panels, and this will bump up the cost of choosing solar roof shingles for your home.

What also needs to be considered is that solar panels are attached to the roof structure with the use of brackets, so they aren’t that affected by the roof and its material as much as solar shingles.

These tiles become a part of the roof, so this makes them more affected by the state of the current roof.

What further makes the above point complicated is that with some types of solar roof shingles, the entire roof needs to be replaced, which can incur many more expenses.

That said, if you want to replace your roof anyway, choosing to purchase solar roof shingles makes the most sense because these will work as roof tiles and solar shingles in one product, thus being more value for money.

It’s also important to remember that you can cut costs: you don’t have to replace your entire roof. You can choose how many regular roof tiles will be replaced with solar roof shingles.

This can present you with a good opportunity to replace broken or otherwise damaged roof shingles with solar alternatives, helping you make better energy choices, one step at a time.

Related Questions

What is the Tesla solar roof?

This is a type of solar roof that makes use of shingles but it replaces your entire roof. It’s also known as the “Solar Glass Roof” and it costs $42,500 for an area that’s 2,000 square feet.

Are solar shingles strong?

You might not know this amazing fact about solar shingles: they are very durable because they contain a layer of quartz glass, as The Balance reports. This makes them a really strong material for your roof.


If you want to start making use of the UV rays that soak your home’s roof in sunlight every day so that it doesn’t go to waste, you’ll want to start using solar power in your home.

Not only does this reduce your monthly utility bill but it also helps to make you more sustainable.

However, the question is: should you choose solar panels or solar roof shingles?

In this article, we’ve explored solar roof shingles in detail, looking at why they should be considered if you want to use solar power, how they work, and what you need to know if you want to purchase them instead of solar panels.

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