As the years go by and your roof slowly gets older and older, technology gets better and better. Imagine going back to the early 1900s and trying to explain to homeowners that within the next 100 years, their roofs would be able to produce electricity. Just by mentioning electricity, they’d think you’re crazy! But that’s how things are when you install solar shingles.
Solar roof shingles have recently gotten prevalent in houses all over the US, especially in our “area of operations”, SoCal. Like solar panels, solar roof tiles can help you reduce your electricity bills while giving your roof a fancy, futuristic look.
But what are solar roof shingles? How do they compare to solar panels? And what are the pros and cons of solar shingles? We’ll answer all of your questions regarding this new roofing type below.
What Are Solar Shingles
Solar roof tiles are one of the most contemporary roof types, becoming available in the early-2000s. One could compare their introduction to the roofing world to that of composition roofs in the 20th century.
Despite being introduced in the 2000s, solar roof tiles weren’t really a viable (or a well-known) option until the 2010s, especially when Tesla started selling them. Since then, houses all over the US have started installing solar roof shingles.
Admittedly, because they’re so new, they’ve yet to be fully optimized. In turn, as we’ll cover below, they might not be the best choice if you already have a durable roofing material over your head, like a metal roof or a slate one.
How Do Solar Shingles Work
Before we cover the pros and cons of solar shingles, let’s actually understand how these work. The simple answer to this is that they function almost identically to solar panels and act as shingles for your roof.
So, each solar roof tile contains solar cells which absorb solar energy and turn it into direct current. By utilizing a built-in inverter, the DC turns into an AC, which can then power your house. Simple enough, right?
Of course, in reality, this whole process is somewhat complicated, and the efficiency depends on the type of shingle you get installed. But we’ll leave all that up to their manufacturers, and we’ll happily install them without knowing the itty-bitty details.
Solar Roof Shingles Pros
Now that you have a basic understanding of solar roof tiles let’s check out what their pros are.
Solar roof shingles’ functionality is their selling point. The fact that these act like asphalt shingles and produce electricity at the same time is a technological marvel. Plus, while their efficiency is debatable, a fully-fledged solar roof will generate enough power to cut the electricity bill down to half, or even more, if you’re in sunny SoCal.
You’d think that solar roof tiles are fragile. Think again! While we’ll have to wait a few more years to see how durable they are, these can withstand everything you throw at them. They’re practically weather-resistant and also fire-resistant.
While most roofs are replaced within two decades, solar roofs are estimated to last up to 30 years. Once again, this isn’t guaranteed, as they haven’t even been around for that long. But, as more houses install these, we’re confident that their longevity will get even higher.
Who doesn’t like a cool-looking roof? Why have mundane asphalt shingles when you can have the aesthetically-pleasing solar ones? They don’t only look cool, but they give your house a futuristic look on top of all their functionalities.
Solar Roof Shingles Cons
Look, solar roof shingles are certainly the roofing type of the future. But, in their current state, they do have quite a few cons.
- They are costly. Arguably the biggest drawback of solar roof tiles is that they’re pretty expensive upfront. While the initial investment will pay off with the energy savings, there’s no doubt that your bank account will take a big hit, especially if you have a large house.
- They aren’t as efficient as solar panels. With solar panels, you can expect to spend 50% less on energy bills compared to solar shingles. Sure, solar panels need to be installed on top of an already-built roof, but in terms of efficiency, they supersede shingles.
- They’re still pretty new. Isn’t everyone somewhat afraid of new things? Well, with solar roof tiles, we’ll all have to wait a decade or so to see how they really perform. But, until then, it’s better to install these in new houses.
- Their installation takes much longer than solar panels. Since panels are installed over asphalt shingles, their installation takes a day or so. With solar roof shingles, you can expect the whole process to take at least a couple of weeks, just like a full roof installation would.
How Much Do Solar Shingles Cost
We’ve already hinted that solar roof shingles are expensive. But, the actual numbers can vary significantly. It all depends on the manufacturer you choose, as well as how big your roof is and the contractor you employ to do the installation.
On average, a solar shingle roof installation will cost you around $50,000. The cost of the solar tiles themselves is around $20,000. To put that into perspective, an asphalt shingle roof would cost $10,000 on average.
Going Solar Is the Wise Way
There’s no doubt that solar shingles will dominate the roofing market in the coming years. But, in their current state, the wisest option is to only install these if you’re already considering a new roof or if your budget is high enough. And, if you’re in SoCal, we’re the ones you should call!
At Roofing Wise, we’ll install and maintain your new roof the wise way. Call us now at (833) 315-7663 to get a free estimate!