Do Solar Shingles Make Sense for Your Home?
Solar shingles are the latest in solar PV technology. Integrated straight into your roof, solar shingles are sleek and aesthetically pleasing. However, they come with many downsides that often get overlooked. Read on to learn whether solar panels or solar shingles are right for you!
Reasons To Get Solar Panels
Better Price Value, Lower Cost and Durability
Better Solar Efficiency and Savings
Reasons To Get Solar Shingles
Price Is Not a Factor for You as a Homeowner
Speed-to-ROI Isn’t Important
You’re Moving Within 5 Years
Reasons To Not Get Solar Shingles
Now that we've covered the upsides of both solar panels and solar shingles, it's time to take a look at why solar shingles haven't taken off in the way that solar panels have.
Price and Costs
When it comes to price, there are numerous downfalls to solar shingles. It is currently more cost-effective to get a high-quality solar panel system than it is to get solar shingles.
Lack of Solar Shingle Efficiency
There are many difficulties involved in creating a mini panel. One of the major issues is that a smaller solar panel, with the same efficiencies as a regular residential solar panel, is going to produce less electricity per solar panel.
Solar panel efficiency is continuing to improve, which decreases the number of solar panels needed and increases the visual appeal of solar. These efficiencies, however, haven't gotten to the point where a solar shingle will produce as much as a top-of-the-line solar panel.
Currently, Powerhouse solar shingles produce between 55 and 60 watts per shingle. The SunTegra solar tile is rated for 67 watts, while its solar shingle can produce up to 100 watts. Tesla solar shingle specs aren't available, but Elon has admitted to sacrificing efficiency for aesthetics of the shingle.
Another issue is solar array energy loss due to panel mismatch. Each connection to a new solar panel decreases the efficiency of the array. Unless the system has a DC optimizer or microinverters, there is an average of 2 percent energy loss.
The efficiency loss caused by connecting a few solar panels is insignificant. However, when the efficiency loss is shared between hundreds of solar shingles, it's a different story.
Another Way To Avoid the Aesthetic Impact of Solar Modules
Ground mount installs, also known as backyard solar, are another way to mitigate opposition to the look of solar panels on a home. This installation type is just one of the variety of solar installs possible with a residential array. Go Solar Group is flexible in catering to each homeowner’s aesthetic needs with a variety of installation types.
Solar Shingles Don’t Leverage the Time Value of Money (TVM)
Customers who wait for solar shingles will probably continue waiting for another three to four years before they become widely available at an affordable cost. Those who would otherwise go solar with regular rooftop solar panels would be wise to invest in solar now instead of waiting.
The three or four year wait also reduces the time value of money and cuts significantly into opportunity cost. Waiting for solar shingles hinders the amount of money the homeowner can ultimately save with rooftop solar.
Additionally, the price of solar panels is a fraction of the cost of solar shingles and will, most likely, continue to be for a while. The concept of solar shingles has been around since 2005, but the idea is not catching in the solar market. Currently, the price of solar shingles is only viable if the homeowner compares it to the cost of replacing a roof and adding solar panels, which most homeowners don't need to do.
The Durability and Longevity of Solar Shingles Is Yet To Be Proven
Many systems installed in the 70s still work today, which is over 30 years of production. That is 25-plus years that homeowners could be saving with proven technology, instead of paying increasing utility rates while waiting for the newest and latest gizmo to work out its kinks.
Flexibility of Solar Panels Compared to Solar Shingles
If you’re moving to a new home, or need your roof replaced, solar panels can be temporarily removed and reinstalled. Solar shingles, however, don’t offer the same flexibility.
Dismounting solar shingles and putting them on a different home wouldn't be worth it, and because the shingles are so small, wiring is a big issue. Re-shingling the roof after the shingles have outlived their warranty would, most likely, also be a hassle.
The Arguments for Solar Shingles
There are several instances where waiting for solar shingles would be an intelligent option.
If You’re Planning To Get a New Home in the Next 5 to 10 Years
Engineers designed solar shingles to be an alternative to traditional roofing. However, they are best suited for homes that are in the process of being built.
Price Is Not a Factor Whatsoever, and Aesthetics Are Your Number One Objective
Those heavily invested in the aesthetic appeal of solar shingles are often willing to give up savings for curb appeal. If the price is a non-factor, and you are okay with waiting for the technology to become more accessible, solar shingles may be a good fit.