Are Solar Shingles Worth Buying Compared To Solar Panels?
Solar energy has become more of just a trend in the United States but a practically solution to more traditional forms of electricity. The government is trying to incentivize those to switch to solar, and the marketplace has become much more competitive, driving price down as technology as improve in efficiency.
Solar panels are the traditional form of solar energy in the USA. These are the large rectangle panels we can find usually on top of roofs. They usually are about 6 feet by 3 feet and black to maximize absorption. The average ones can produce about 200 watts, but this does vary based no make and model. Solar panels technology first was developed in the 1950’s and as the technology has vastly improved since then, the basic principle remains the same. In fact, it is still possible to find 30 and 40-year-old panels functioning today, albeit producing at a lower capacity. In recent decades, solar energy panels have taken the country by storm.
Solar panels have the luxury of being able to have different mounting options, like roof or ground, but also to tilt and angle them to optimize sunlight absorption. The new upgraded models even have auto tracking option that can auto adjust to follow the suns positioning in the sky.
The installation of the panels is usually about 6 inches off the surface of the roof, which is good because no heat is transferred to the roof and uses minimal bolts. This area can become a nest for rodents, insects or birds, but can be easily cleans with normal panel cleaning.
Solar roof tiles or solar shingles first were developed around 2005. They are designed to look like and replace traditional asphalt shingles, so they are much smaller than the panels. Because of the technology and their smaller size, they produce less electricity up to about 60 watts. In the beginning they had a low conversion rate of about half of the solar panel grids, but they have quickly caught up to be nearly identical in efficiency.
Solar shingles, since they do replace asphalt shingles, need to be installed at the time of construction or replacement of the roof. The cost of a new roof is already large and upgrading to solar shingles will increase this cost. But also, like asphalt shingles they are designed to be strong enough to withstand the elements.
Installation of the solar shingles is more difficult and requires a qualified professional. Since the shingles are directly on the roof, there is heat generation that transfers into the roof, and must be ventilated to prevent heat buildup. The professional can also let you know if the slope and position of your roof is ideal for shingles since they can’t be adjusted.
Both panels and shingles must comply with local and federal regulations, and in order to have valid warranties or rebates, confirmation should be received regarding installation. Depending on where you live there might be different incentive and tax rebates so to increase immediate cost savings this should be researched as well.