Homeowners considering rooftop solar to slash their energy bills can turn to a new Forbes guide to solar shingles, listing the biggest names in the market and detailing the pros and cons of solar shingles versus panels.
“Like regular roof shingles, solar shingles protect your home from the weather and other elements,” the U.S.-based business magazine writes. “These shingles are not only energy-efficient, but they also offer a more attractive aesthetic to a home than do the large, bulky panels normally associated with solar-powered energy.”
Measuring 12 inches wide by 86 inches long on average—or about the same as regular shingles—solar shingles are less than an inch thick, weigh about 13 pounds per square foot, and produce an output of 13 to 63 watts. A typical roof installation uses about 350 such tiles, can lower a home utility bill by 30% to 70%, and costs an average of $15,000 to $20,000.
Though solar shingles are aesthetically pleasing, they lag in efficiency—since panels can adjust positioning to maximize sunlight exposure while shingles remain fixed. Shingles also take more than a week to install, compared to a single day for a typical panel installation.
But shingles have “one major advantage” over panels, writes Forbes: they are more durable. “Unlike panels, which sit atop the roof, solar roof tiles are actually part of the roof. As such, they are more resilient and can stand up to harsh weather conditions and fallen debris.”
While both shingles and panels have a general lifespan of 20 years, service life and warranty conditions vary among manufacturers.
Solar shingle producers include Tesla, CertainTeed, SunTegra, Luma, and Timberline Solar By GAF, each with its advantages and drawbacks. Tesla, for instance, manufactures its shingles with quartz for added durability, but installations can cost more than $70,000. Luma stands out for having exceptionally high efficiency, and SunTegra is a budget-friendly option that also takes less time to install because of its simple, lightweight configuration.
Solar shingles are available online, in stores, or through a local supplier. “You can reach out to a solar panel installation company near you, or you can do even further research online and get inspired by solar shingle buying guides,” Forbes writes.