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Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels

6 min read

February 27, 2024

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Clean Cut

Solar energy is an increasingly popular choice for homeowners looking to harness the power of the sun to reduce their electricity bills and environmental footprint.

If you’re interested in going solar with your roof, you may be faced with a choice between traditional solar panels and solar shingles. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and making the right choice depends on various factors.

In this guide, we’ll explore the differences between solar shingles and solar panels, helping you decide which option is best suited for your home and energy needs.

Inside this blog:

  • A brief overview of solar shingles and solar panels
  • A comparison between solar shingles and solar panels based on 7 factors
  • How to make the right choice for your home

Keep reading to learn more about these two highly sought after solar options to figure out which one is better for your home!

Understanding Solar Shingles and Solar Panels ☀️

Before we delve into the comparison, let’s briefly explain what solar shingles and solar panels are:

Solar Shingles


Solar shingles, also known as photovoltaic shingles or solar roof tiles, are roofing materials designed to generate electricity from sunlight. They seamlessly integrate with your existing roof, serving a dual purpose of protecting your home from the elements while generating solar power.

Solar Panels

Solar panels, or photovoltaic (PV) panels, are devices that convert sunlight into electricity. They are typically installed on top of an existing roof or mounted on structures like ground mounts or carports. Solar panels are connected to an inverter, which converts the generated DC electricity into usable AC electricity for your home.

Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels: A Comparison ⚖️

Now, let’s compare solar shingles and solar panels based on 7 factors that matter to homeowners.

1. Aesthetic Appeal

Solar Shingles

  • Solar shingles are designed to blend seamlessly with your existing roof, providing a sleek and integrated look.
  • They are available in various styles and colors to match your home’s aesthetic.
  • Solar shingles offer a discreet solar solution, making them a preferred choice for those concerned about the visual impact of solar installations.

Solar Panels

  • Solar panels are typically mounted on top of an existing roof, creating a noticeable addition.
  • While some homeowners appreciate the modern look of solar panels, others may find them less visually appealing.
  • Solar panel installations can be more conspicuous, especially when placed on front-facing roofs.

2. Efficiency and Energy Production

Solar Shingles

  • Solar shingles are generally less efficient than traditional solar panels. Their smaller size and integration with the roof limit the amount of sunlight they can capture.
  • They may produce less electricity per square foot compared to solar panels, which can impact your overall energy generation.

Solar Panels

  • Solar panels are known for their efficiency and can capture a higher percentage of sunlight, converting it into electricity.
  • Panels are available in various wattages and sizes, allowing homeowners to choose a system that meets their specific energy needs.

3. Installation Costs

Solar Shingles

  • Solar shingle installations tend to be more labor-intensive and time-consuming due to the integration with the roof.
  • This can result in higher installation costs compared to traditional solar panels.

Solar Panels

  • Solar panel installations are typically quicker and involve mounting the panels on racks or brackets.
  • The straightforward installation process often translates to lower labor costs, making solar panels a more cost-effective choice for many homeowners.

4. Durability and Longevity

Solar Shingles

  • Solar shingles are designed to be durable and weather-resistant, providing protection for your roof.
  • Their lifespan is generally on par with that of traditional asphalt shingles, which can last 20-30 years or more.

Solar Panels

  • Solar panels are robust and built to withstand various weather conditions, including hail, rain, and snow.
  • They often come with warranties of 25 years or more, and their actual lifespan can exceed 30 years.

5. Energy Storage Compatibility

Solar Shingles

  • Solar shingles can be compatible with energy storage solutions like batteries to store excess energy for use during nighttime or power outages.
  • The seamless integration of solar shingles with your roof allows for discreet energy storage options.

Solar Panels

  • Solar panels can also be paired with energy storage systems, providing homeowners with backup power and greater control over their energy usage.
  • The flexibility of solar panel installations allows for various mounting and storage options.

6. Cost Savings and Return on Investment (ROI)

Solar Shingles

  • Solar shingles may have a higher upfront cost due to their integration with the roof and the associated labor expenses.
  • The potential for cost savings and ROI may be slightly lower compared to solar panels.

Solar Panels

  • Solar panels generally offer a quicker return on investment due to their lower installation costs and higher energy production efficiency.
  • Over time, solar panels tend to provide more substantial energy savings and financial benefits.

7. Availability and Installer Expertise

Solar Shingles

  • Solar shingles are less common than traditional solar panels, and finding experienced installers may be more challenging in some areas.
  • Availability can vary by region, limiting the choices for homeowners.

Solar Panels

  • Solar panels are widely available, and there is a larger pool of qualified installers with experience in panel installations.
  • This broader availability often results in competitive pricing and greater flexibility for homeowners.

Making the Right Choice for Your Home 🏡

When deciding between solar shingles and solar panels, consider your specific needs, budget, aesthetic preferences, and long-term goals. Here are some key points to help you make an informed choice:

Aesthetic Preference

If a seamless, integrated look is a top priority, solar shingles may be the better choice.

Energy Efficiency

For homeowners seeking maximum energy production and efficiency, traditional solar panels are generally more effective.

Installation Costs

Solar panels often have lower installation costs, making them more budget-friendly for many homeowners.

Durability and Longevity

Both solar shingles and solar panels are built to last, but panels may have a slight edge in terms of longevity.

Energy Storage

If you plan to incorporate energy storage, both options can be compatible, but solar shingles may offer a more discreet solution.

Cost Savings

Solar panels tend to provide quicker returns on investment due to their lower upfront costs and higher efficiency.

Installer Availability

Consider the availability of qualified installers in your area, as this can impact your choice.

Will You Go Solar With Shingles or Panels?

The decision between solar shingles and solar panels depends on your unique circumstances and priorities. Both options can help you harness the power of the sun and reduce your reliance on grid electricity while contributing to a more sustainable future. It’s essential to assess your goals and consult with experienced solar professionals to determine the best solar solution for your home.

Get in touch with our expert team of roofers at Clean Cut Roofing to get top-of-the-line craftsmanship and competitive pricing. We’re excited to hear about your next roofing project and help your vision come to life!

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