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Solar Roofing Shingles (Everything You Need to Know)

Photo collage of different Solar roofing shingles.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your home or are looking for a way to do your part for the environment, you’ve probably heard of solar roofing shingles. But what exactly are they and are they really worth the investment? Fear not – this guide will tell you everything you nee to know about solar roofing shingles and help you decide if it’s a move you should make.

What Exactly Are Solar Roof Shingles? 

Roofing Shingles with black chimney.

Let’s start with the basics – understanding what these shingles actually are. Solar roof shingles are made photovoltaic sheets or PV sheets for short. They are really thin sheets that collect all of that wonderful sunlight that hits your roof.

But that’s not all. They magically – okay, scientifically – turn that sunlight into electricity that can actually power your home. Depending on the type you choose and the condition of your current roof, they either completely replace it or are put on top of it.

Who Makes Solar Roof Shingles Anyway?

Solar Roof Shingles with ridge vent.

The solar energy industry is constantly growing and evolving, so new brands are consistently coming up with new models. However, right now there are five really well-known brands that make efficient models. They include Tesla, SunTegra, Luma, CertainTeed, and Timberline Solar By GAF.

Are Solar Shingles a New Thing?

Black and gray Solar Shingles.

Making a positive impact on the environment has been a goal for a very long time. Finding ways to save money has been a goal for an even longer amount of time. Solar panels were designed as a way of creating more sustainable electricity with the bonus of helping homeowners save some dough.

Unfortunately, solar panels can be a bit bulky and unsightly to some people. To combat this, solar shingles were created as a way to still reach the goal of solar panels with a design that blends right into regular roofing. Though it may seem like a new concept, DOW Chemical Company actually created this idea and introduced it back in 2009.

Can I Use Them In My Area?

The good thing is that the world – in general – wants to negate the impact we have on it. Therefore, I haven’t yet come across any areas that you cannot have solar roofing shingles. However, many do require that you get a permit to install them and have an inspection completed after it’s completed.

This is just to ensure everything is done correctly and follows safety and building codes. The bigger concern here is whether or not your home can benefit from it. Not every area in the world is sunny all – or even a good portion – of the time.

If you live somewhere that’s really cloudy, investing in something to capture the sun’s rays may not be the best thing. Talk to some experts and – if you know any – other homeowners in your area. They can let you know if it’s worth the investment or not.

Can I Install My Solar Roof Shingles On My Own? 

A technician's power tool replaces roof shingles.

Unless you are a solar roof shingles installer, you should not try to install these on your own. These aren’t like your regular roofing. They require very specific planning and implementing in order to make them efficient.

Not to mention those inspections – you’ll need the work done by a pro in order to pass those. And anyway, with a company taking care of it, you don’t have to worry about obtaining those pesky permits or dealing with the inspections. They’ll take care of all that for you.

Are Solar Shingles and Solar Panels the Same Thing?

Photo collage of different Solar roofing shingles.

Solar panels are a bit more widely known and the term has been used much more. Both the shingles and the panels do the same thing, but there are some differences. One is that they look different.

Solar shingles look pretty much like other shingles. In fact, they can pretty much blend in with the rest of your home. Solar panels – on the other hand – are bigger.

They look more like darkened windows on your roof. If you have a more modern-looking home, you might like the idea of the panels better. However, most traditional and older homes tend to look better with shingles.

Both panels and shingles have pretty long life expectancy – like up to two decades. As far as efficiency goes, they are both good at doing their jobs. However, there are several factors that can impact this job, such as the direction your roof is facing and more.

An expert will need to take a look at your roof to help you determine which option would yield the best results.

How Much Am I Looking to Spend?

Full disclosure – that’s really hard to say. Many homeowners get the budget option between $15,000 and $20,000. However, if you go with a brand like Tesla, that can increase a lot more.

And the brand isn’t the only thing that determines your price. The age and condition of your current roof definitely play a role. If it’s not in good shape or too old, you’ll be spending more to basically add a whole new roof.

Additionally, the pitch of your roof, the direction it’s facing, and more can all determine how many shingles you need. You see, some homes only need the shingles in a few areas to provide maximum efficiency. Others need the roof covered much more widely.

And due to all of this, giving an exact amount is really difficult to say. You could be looking at anything from $15,000 up to $100,000. Call in a few different companies for a consultation and a quote for the best price. 

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