Getting to know solar shingles

What Are Solar Shingles

Everyone has heard of solar panels, which are large plates covered in light-sensitive material designed to harness solar power and convert it into electricity for future use. But, only a few people have heard of solar shingles, which is a new solution for those who don’t want to spend much money on electricity bills.

Actually, by installing solar shingles, your house or building will still be connected to the local power grid, but it will not be completely dependent on it. Once bad weather sets in, you will be able to use the energy from your local grid. Solar shingles, as well as solar panels, tend to be more effective in areas with plenty of sunlight and create more electrical energy. This can, however, mean nothing if the cost of electricity is higher in colder areas, which means it can be a great investment in both cases.


Benefits of Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are specifically made to blend in with the existing roofing or the roof to be installed. They resemble common roof shingles, which means they are the same size. That means that you will able to avoid large black panels dominating your house’s appearance by simply installing solar shingles. They are not too noticeable and come in various colors to perfectly accommodate with the roof’s appearance.

The installation process is very simple and compared to that of asphalt shingle roofing, which in turn lowers its price. It is a process that you can do yourself, provided you have some skills regarding roofing installation.

By installing solar shingles, homeowners will save money on additional asphalt or concrete shingles, as solar shingles will cover up some parts of the area. Solar panels, on the contrary, are installed to the existing roof, without replacing any of its parts. Solar shingles basically serve a double purpose – to act as protection and to produce electric energy. Even though they are small, they can cover an area comparable in size to the areas solar panels cover.

Having that in mind, solar shingles can be installed much faster than solar panels. Since solar panels require the entire roof to be already installed, solar shingle installation can be done at the same time as the roofing system installation.

Some manufacturers tend to produce solar shingles for a specific type of roofing, such as asphalt shingles. In reality, solar shingles can be installed on many types of roofs, including slate and concrete shingles and metal tiles.


Possible Drawbacks of Solar Shingles

In the early 2000s, when the solar shingle production started, the conversion efficiency rate of solar shingles was lower than that of solar panels, which is 10%. Nowadays, manufacturers produce thin-film solar shingles with a material called CIGS (or copper indium gallium selenide) that allows for about 20% of conversion efficiency, which is nearly identical to the conversion efficiency of solar panels.

The cost of solar shingle installation is bigger than the price of solar panels. Since it is a very recent breakthrough in solar energy harnessing, the high cost is to be expected, and homeowners will have to wait for the prices to be lowered. However, several federal and state incentives are already available for the homeowners to take advantage of. The prices of solar shingles are dropping daily. If the high price is the ultimate reason for you not to install solar shingles, think of it as an excellent long-term investment.