Solar Shingles - How They Work and Different Comparisons

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Solar Shingles – How They Work and Different Comparisons

Solar Shingles – How They Work and Different Comparisons

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If you truly love the world and value a green environment, it’s a good idea to have solar shingles or a solar roof.

Choosing solar shingles over a higher cost with electricity and electricity bills will definitely have you go greener.

But if you want to learn all about solar shingles, keep reading!


solar shingles

What Are Solar Shingles?

Solar shingles, or solar roof tiles, are made of slim photovoltaic (PV) sheets that either overlay or replace the existing shingles on a roof.

They are an integrated photovoltaic (PV) building product and are referred to as shingle-sized solid panels.

They’re manufactured with particular materials that naturally undergo an electronic process in the presence of sunlight.

They are a relatively new technology designed to look like ordinary asphalt shingles on your roof.

They protect your roof and have the same durability and flexibility as regular shingles while harnessing the sun’s solar energy to generate power for your home.

And solar shingles are made of the same materials as those used in regular solar panels, including wire.

How Do They Work?

Solar shingles work with special abilities- absorbing light and turning it into electrical energy.

They provide your home with all-weather protection and against other elements.

Solar shingles are also used on the roofs of commercial and residential buildings to generate electricity, and some models can convert electrical energy to heat.

Solar shingles, in theory, are capable of producing electricity worth 100 percent of a building’s current usage, but it depends on several factors:

  • The building’s demand
  • The amount of sunlight the structure gets at that particular geographic location
  • The building’s current utility rates and availability of sufficient space on the roof that opens to southern skies

All solar shingles are designed to function as both roofing materials and power sources, but they can achieve that dual identity in a few ways.

Some of them utilize several silicon solar cells like most conventional solar panels.

Others rely on thin-film solar cells, which feature super-thin layers of certain photovoltaic materials.

Examples of super-thin layers of specific photovoltaic materials are:

  • Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)
  • Cadmium telluride (CdTe)

The thinness of these solar cells makes them lighter and more versatile, both broadly useful qualities.

While older versions of flexible thin-film solar roofing had to be mounted on top of other roofing materials, newer products are rigid and sturdy enough to serve as shingles themselves.

Solar Tiles

Solar tiles are similar to conventional shingles, but the usages are interchangeable. They also can refer to different types of roofing material.

Solar tiles are small modules attached to your solar shingle or even replace your solar roofing.

The finished look is more natural than conventional solar panels because the tiles blend seamlessly with the roof.

Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels: Different Comparisons

Solar shingles are small solar panels designed to resemble and replace traditional roofing materials, like asphalt shingles, generating energy alternatives.

Solar shingles are a widely produced option in the solar industry.

Instead of having them mounted on top of a roof as most home solar cells are, solar shingles are incorporated into the roof itself, an example of building-integrated photovoltaics.


Most solar shingles are about the same size as traditional roofing shingles.

The advantage of solar shingles is largely aesthetic.

They are more pricey and less efficient than standard solar panels, although they may become more practical for many people as better technology enhances their performance.

Solar panels are flat, rigid panes, often several square feet, making solar shingles much more labor-intensive.


The main goal is to decrease energy costs.

This is a significant consideration with solar installation.

How so? Most shingles will produce anywhere between 13 and 63 watts of power.

The number of tiles in a typical home roof installation can lower the utility bill by 40% to 70%, and by adding more tiles, you can increase the energy output.

But both solar shingles and panels are capable of this.

Service Life

Both solar shingles and panels have long life spans, usually up to 20 years to 30 years.

But the longevity of solar shingles varies by the manufacturer and the installation.

Workmanship warranties also vary. When you buy solar shingles, be sure that you note the difference between power warranties.

Solar shingle warranties can last for a couple of decades based on their production, while durability warranties that cover the shingles themselves can span the lifetime of the home.

On the other hand, solar panels have no moving parts, so minimal service and maintenance are required.

To keep your them generating efficiently, we suggest an annual service to ensure your system is kept in full working order.

Also, make sure that any fault or drop in the generation is flagged immediately and resolved.


Solar shingles blend into roofing materials like asphalt and concrete.

And many consumers prefer this aesthetic instead of enormous black panels on their roofs.

In short, solar shingles reek a sleekier aesthetic than bulky solar panels, specifically since only parts of the roof, like the edging, might be covered in shingles to be efficient.


A solar shingle overtops a solar panel in terms of efficiency.

Solar panels can be modified when needed to achieve the best angle to harness the sun’s rays, while solar shingles stay in the same place as they were first installed.

But you can always add more shingles to the existing roof to harness more solar power energy, but as with all home improvement projects, more materials mean more money.


One more advantage of solar shingles against solar panels is that they are more durable.

Unlike solar panels, They sit above the rooftop since solar roof tiles are actually a part of the roof.

They are also much more resilient and can withstand all harsh weather conditions and fallen debris.

What’s more, they are also fire-resistant, and this feature is non-fundamental in solar panels. However, you must know that the risk for fire is also low.


The cost of solar shingles comes at a higher price because of the conventional roofing material needed for solar shingle installation.

The average price of solar roof tiles ranges from $15,000 to $20,000, but Tesla shingles could cost more than $70,000, along with a lengthy installation period.

Nonetheless, the ultimate cost of solar shingles depends on the following:

  • Size of the roof
  • The energy needs of your household
  • The manufacturer and installer of the shingles you have chosen

Pros and Cons of Solar Roof Shingles

Solar roof shingles surely have a ton of benefits, but also be wary of the drawbacks they possess.


  • They are quicker to install
  • Shingles are sleekier and aesthetically pleasing
  • They integrate well with concrete and asphalt shingles in particular
  • They are more cost-effective when you plan on buying a new roof for roof replacement
  • They are weather and fire-resistant
  • Only requires a small amount of maintenance


  • NOT modern solar technology
  • Only a few of the best largest roofing companies manufacture solar shingles and install them
  • Solar shingles cost more money than traditional solar panels
  • They have a lower conversion efficiency
  • They are also more difficult to take with you when you move houses
  • Solar shingles are more dependent on the slope of your entire roof deck

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels

Now, lets check out what you should expect with solar panels in terms of pros and cons.


  • Wide variety of solar panel options
  • There are many solar installers available
  • They are more affordable than solar shingles
  • They are more efficient
  • They are also easy to adjust to get the optimal position


  • They are bulkier, have semi-rigid designs, and don’t have elegant aesthetics
  • Your entire roof must be in excellent condition to have them installed
  • The solar panel installation process is usually a little longer than solar shingle installation

Installing Solar Shingles: How-Tos

Installation of solar roofing shingles may take up to a week.

The old shingles will need to be removed from the existing roof, new shingles put into place, and the entire solar system connected through your inverter and solar battery.

Installing solar shingles does not require a mounting system. They are not mounted on racks like other solar panels are.

Instead, solar shingles are attached directly to the roof deck in place of conventional roofing shingles.

And before the installation begins, an installer will assist you at your home to help evaluate

The number of solar shingles that you’ll need. There are a couple of factors that will determine how many shingles you need for solar roofing:

  • The size of the shingles that you selected
  • The square foot of your house
  • The amount of energy you need to generate

Most home buyers do not need to cover their entire roof with solar shingles,

You can intermingle them with traditional roof shingles to cut costs while generating plenty of solar power.

It can take much longer if you are building or redoing your roof before adding solar shingles. Some solar tile manufacturers, like Tesla, will take two or more weeks to install.

This is in sharp comparison to solar panels, which you can install within a day.

There’s More!

It also helps homeowners avoid replacing older but functional shingles.

It can be performed by a single solar roofing product as long as the solar roofing contractor has experience installing photovoltaic shingles.

It tends to be more expensive than installing traditional solar panels, especially if you want them to cover your roof.

Top Best Brands for Solar Shingles

If you have no idea about what’s in and out of the solar shingle market, we got you too!

Whether you are looking for a roof shingle that generates clean energy, more energy, is energy-efficient, and the ones that make less energy for your new roof.

Here are some of the best brands that offer the best solar power systems for your green home:

Tesla Solar

Tesla Solar Shingles

Tesla solar roof is by far the most popular and well-known solar roofing option.

However, Tesla solar roof shingles aren’t the only ones out there.

Tesla’s sleek, mouth-watering solar roof looks amazing and will make you the envy of your block.

You’ll have to pay more for a full roof replacement, not to mention the premium for the Tesla brand name.

According to Tesla, the active solar roof tiles cost $1.80 per watt.

Tesla solar shingles are made from quartz, which improves their efficiency and resilience.

These come in attractive textures with a 30-year power output warranty.

Plus, an app allows you to monitor your shingles’ energy levels at a glance.

Certain Teed

certainteed solar shingles

CertainTeed offers two solar shingle options: the Apollo II system and the Apollo Tile II.

Both options provide the same power production of 14 solar energy for a total of 60 watts.

The Apollo II system is designed to integrate with asphalt shingle roofs, while the Apollo Tile II is designed to suit roofs with concrete tiles.

The Apollo II system has a conversion efficiency of 15.4%, and the Apollo Tile II system has a conversion efficiency of 16%.

Also, the high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar batteries provide a power rating of 70 watts per solar shingle.

Luma Solar Roof

Luma solar is another US company in the market that produces 60-watt solar roofs made of thin polycrystalline cells with dimensions of 138.6 x 38.7 cm.

Like Tesla, they come with a 25-year warranty and guaranteed 80% solar power.

The solar roofs alone cost $4.50 per watt.

The Luma Solar Roof boasts that their products are rated to exceed category five hurricanes and have an impressive 80 watts per shingle energy rating.

SunTegra Shingles

Each SunTegra Tile has 16 solar power and offers 64 to 70 Watts of power output.

SunTegra’s product contains 24 solar powers each and offers 105 to 114 watts of power output.

According to SunTegra’s product specifications, the Tile system has a conversion efficiency of 13.9% to 15.1%, and the Shingle system has a conversion efficiency of 15.9% to 17.2%

They also attach to an existing roof and integrated solar panels and other low-profile roofing materials.


So, a solar shingle or a solar panel?

When it comes to solar power, there are a lot of brands to choose from.

There are also many factors to consider, like the square foot of your home, conventional roofing materials, etc.

Solar roofing does come at a high price ONCE, but it will help you save more for about 30 years.

It’s safe to say that solar shingles are better than traditional shingles and traditional solar panels.

If this article was helpful, share and let us know where we can improve!

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