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Solar Roof Shingles vs. Panels: Choose The Right Solar Roofing Option For Your Home

Posted on December 7, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 6 Min.

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Solar Roof Shingles vs. Panels: Choose The Right Solar Roofing Option For Your Home

Whether you choose solar shingles or panels, your decision is not just about picking a product, it’s an architectural statement, a financial investment, and an act of environmental responsibility all rolled into one. This decision also echoes through your energy bills and impacts your property value and ecological footprint. You can make the right choice by understanding the details and comparing both options.

At RST Roofing and Renovations, we’re here with a detailed guide on solar roof shingles vs. panels. Let’s begin by looking at the features of each.

Introducing Solar Roof Shingles

Solar roof shingles are a groundbreaking innovation combining traditional roofing materials with photovoltaic (PV) cells. At first glance, they resemble standard shingles in both size and flexibility, but have within them thin layers of solar cells capable of converting sunlight into electricity.

Solar Roof Shingles

Advantages of Solar Roof Shingles

Solar roof shingles come with numerous perks, including:

  • Cost Effective: With solar shingles, you get a roof covering and solar energy in one product, which is more cost effective.
  • Better Curb Appeal: Their low profile and dark color maintain a traditional and sleek look roof.
  • Ease of Installation: Due to their shingle design, this solar option is easy to install and can be done so as a regular roof replacement. 
  • Modern Design: Solar roofing shingles are best for homeowners who want a modern or minimalist look for their home.

Understanding Solar Panels

Solar panels are also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems. These units are designed to capture the sun’s energy and convert it into usable electricity. Typically made up of many individual solar cells composed of silicon, they work together to produce power. These cells are encased in a protective glass and reinforced by an aluminum frame, ensuring durability against natural elements.

Solar Panels
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Advantages of Solar Panels

  • Affordable: If your existing shingles are in good shape and you don’t want a new roof, installing solar panels on those shingles will be more affordable.
  • Quick Installation: It’s easier and quicker to install solar panels, and more time will be saved if you don’t replace the shingles.
  • Traditional Aesthetics: If you are happy with an old school aesthetic appeal, solar panels are a good choice, as most of their older and new models still have a prominent profile and placement.

Solar Roof Shingles vs. Panels: An In-Depth Comparison

Deciding between solar shingles and panels is not just a matter of personal taste, it’s a strategic decision that hinges on several important considerations. Here’s a comparison of solar shingles vs. solar panels:

#1 Associated Costs: Initial Purchase, Installation, and Maintenance

The initial cost of installing traditional solar panels is typically less than solar roof shingles. However, it’s important to look closely at the bigger picture.

  • Acquisition: Purchasing solar panels can be less expensive than shingles upfront.
  • Installation: Installing solar panels is usually quicker and may incur lower labor costs compared to the intricate process required for shingle installation.
  • Maintenance: Both options require some upkeep; However, because solar shingles also serve as your roof’s first line of defense against the elements, potential repair costs might be higher if they sustain damage.

An informed choice requires balancing these variables with long term benefits rather than just initial prices.

#2 Performance Comparison: Efficiency, Power Output, and Productivity

Efficiency doesn’t just mean how well a product converts sunlight into electricity, it’s also about how much energy you can generate from your solar products.

  • Efficiency: Most solar panels generally offer higher efficiency ratings compared to solar shingles.
  • Power Output: Due to their larger size and optimized orientation, solar panels tend to have higher power output capabilities.
  • Productivity: Panels often fare better in productivity over time as they can be angled optimally toward the sun, a feature most shingles lack due to their fixed position.

If squeezing every last drop of energy from each ray of sunlight is your goal, conventional panels might be the better option.

However, some of the industry’s leading solar roof shingles and tiles are an exception. For example, a Tesla Solar Roof can generate more energy than a roof with traditional solar panels.

#3 Longevity: Lifespan, Warranty, and Maintenance

How long will your solar investment last? This question brings the longevity of each option into focus:

  • Lifespan: Both technologies promise a lengthy service life of around 20 years with proper care.
  • Warranty: Warranties differ by manufacturer but often align closely between solar shingles and panels. So, look carefully at what each coverage entails.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Should repairs become necessary down the line, issues with traditional panels are typically easier, and potentially less costly, to address because they don’t double as an actual roofing material like solar shingles do.

To ensure you reach an informed decision, let’s understand some important factors that will guide your choice.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Solar Roof Shingles or Panels

Selecting the right solar roofing option can be like navigating a maze of technology, design considerations, and personal preferences. Here are some things to keep in mind as you make your choice: 

#1 Specific Roofing Requirements and Constraints

Every roof is unique, with varying slopes, angles, ages, and structural limitations. The physical attributes of your roof should direct your decision:

  • Age and Condition: If your roof is nearing the end of its life, it’s a good idea to opt for solar shingles, as they’ll essentially replace your existing roofing material. On the flip side, if you’ve recently installed a new roof, retrofitting with solar panels may make more sense.
  • Weight Tolerance: Assess whether your current roofing structure can bear additional weight. Solar panels are heavier than shingles, so they might not be the best choice if your home is older. Hence, confirming this aspect with a professional is crucial.
  • Roof Slope and Orientation: The angle of your roof impacts how well it can capture sunlight. Steeply pitched roofs may favor panels that can be angled optimally towards the sun.

By understanding these requirements early on, you can avoid roadblocks that could potentially disrupt or limit your installation options.

#2 Available Space for Installation

Space dictates pace when it comes to generating solar energy. Here’s how solar roof shingles and panels measure up:

  • For sprawling roofs with ample unobstructed areas, solar panels offer a straightforward path to maximize output since they aren’t constrained by roofing layout.
  • Conversely, solar shingles can be better for smaller roofs or those with multiple dormers or skylights because their customizable nature allows them to blend around such features without significant space loss.

Always remember that efficiency isn’t solely about fitting as many units onto the roof as possible, but is also about leveraging what space you have.

#3 Electricity Consumption and Energy Needs

Not all homes use the same amount of electricity. Balance your household’s energy needs against what each system can produce:

  • Evaluate past utility bills to determine your home’s monthly energy usage.
  • Compare these numbers against the estimated output from either solar tiles or panels based on calculations specific to your geographic location and roofing specifications.

Bigger families with higher consumption rates might lean toward larger capacity panel systems, while smaller households may find solar shingles to meet their needs.

#4 Personal Preferences

Finally, and often most subjectively, take into account your personal preferences relating to how an addition will complement the existing aesthetics of your home:

  • Does seamless integration rank high on your priority list? You’re not alone. It’s a desire common among homeowners invested in maintaining certain architectural styles. In this case, solar shingles are the better choice.
  • Those open to a modern touch might embrace solar panels not just for their functional prowess but also as a visible statement of commitment towards sustainable living. 

No matter what your aesthetic preferences are, always consider durability alongside design. It’s important to love not just how something looks but to trust in its longevity, too.

If you are looking for professional guidance or solar roofing in Georgia, GA, our experts are here to help!

Solar Roof Shingles Vs. Panels: Which Is Right For Your Atlanta Home?

At RST Roofing and Renovations, we prefer energy efficient roofing solutions, and that’s why we offer top grade solar roof shingles and panels. Our experts are dedicated to serving the community with their outstanding roofing services and employing the latest eco-friendly technologies. If you want to install a solar roof in Atlanta, GA, you can trust our honest and talented professionals. Call us at (404) 548-8901 to discuss your solar roofing needs over a free roofing consultation with our experts.

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