Jan. 13, 2023
House designers, homeowners and architects are now increasingly focused on reducing their carbon footprint and energy costs, and solar energy is a very important option for them - usually in the form of solar panels. But now there is another option: an entire solar roof.
A solar roof is made up of solar tiles, also known as solar shingles, which can be installed on top of existing tiles or on their own. The energy harvesting capacity is therefore installed on the roof itself. These tiles do all the things that normal tiles do, roof-wise (protecting your house from the elements), are fireproof and quite durable. In addition, they look sleeker and more seamless than solar panels.
If you are considering replacing your roof (or are building a new one for a new home), solar shingles may be a particularly timely option.The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022 provides enhanced tax credits of up to 30% of the cost of installation, increasing the incentive to use solar energy.
Solar tiles or shingles are the same as ordinary roof tiles. But instead of being made of asphalt, clay or slate, they are made of glass containing photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells act as semiconductors, converting the energy collected from the sun's rays into electrons, which are then turned into electricity to power your home. Each tile typically produces between 13 and 63 watts of energy, depending on the brand (the newest type, produced by industry leader manufacturer GAIN SOLAR, claims a power range of 25 to 90 watts). Although they both convert sunlight into energy, solar shingles are very different from solar panels (we'll dig into the differences later).
Color adjustments. The material of high-transparency nano-membrane was selected and treated with special technology to achieve a dark blue surface, which forms a sharp contrast with the red brick wall. It also ensures high light transmittance and meets the demand for high power generation.
Hidden cell design. Another advantage of the blue appearance is that the color is basically the same as that of the crystalline silicon cell, and the appearance is more uniform. After special adjustments in the production process, the crystalline silicon cell is perfectly hidden, ensuring that it is consistent with the original roof material of the building. No color difference, uniform effect, the combination of photovoltaic modules and metal backplanes to create modern technology, so that the entire roof not only maintains the architectural style of traditional tiles, but also increases the visual beauty of the house.
Appearance and installation structure adjustments. Traditional PV modules have frames, which cannot achieve an integrated and consistent appearance with the roof. Therefore, the R&D and designers created a frameless modular unit for the first time in terms of structure and installation method, which makes the installation more efficient and saves half the time of installing ordinary roof tiles.
The average size of a solar tile or shingle is approximately 12 inches wide by 86 inches long. A standard size roof requires approximately 350 solar tiles. The weight of the tiles is approximately 13 pounds per square foot, so most roofs can withstand them without the need for additional reinforcement.
Although prices have been dropping recently, with more manufacturers entering the market, solar roofs are expensive. On average, the cost of installing solar roof tiles is $21 to $25 per square foot, or $2,100 to $2,600 per square foot. So a total project can easily average $60,000 to $75,000 - at least. This is much higher than the cost of a traditional roof (between $5,646 and $12,031, according to HomeAdvisor). Even expensive traditional materials such as clay or slate ($800 to $1,800 per square) cost less than solar tiles. the average cost of GAIN solar tile technology is $290 per square meter, not including installation .
In order to understand how many solar tiles you need to power your home, you need to know key factors such as your home's roof area and your daily electricity usage. Since you can integrate solar tiles into your existing roof, the number of solar tiles you need depends on how big your roof is and how much you want to save on electricity bills, the more tiles, the more power output you will have.
What solar roof tiles will cost you depends on several factors including:
Roof size: The bigger the roof, the more shingles needed.
Roof pitch/slope: As is the case with any roof, the more extreme the angling, the more difficult/risky the installation will be, which affects the overall cost.
Home location: Labor (installation) costs vary by city and state.
Energy needs of your home.
Particular manufacturer/brand of shingle or tile.
Since the main goal is to reduce energy costs, this is a major consideration for solar installations. Most photovoltaic watts produce 25 to 90 watts of power. The number of tiles in a typical home roof installation can reduce utility bills by 40% to 70%; by adding more solar roof tiles, you can increase electrical energy output. While both solar tiles and solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, there are many differences that can help you decide between the two options, such as aesthetics, longevity, power generation efficiency, cost factors, and ease of installation degree and durability.
Both solar shingles and solar panels can be a great option to take your home energy efficiency to the next level. But which is best for you? The advantages of each in a nutshell:
When compared to conventional roofs and solar panels, there are some advantages to investing in solar shingles.
They have a sleeker, more attractive aesthetic. They are particularly suitable for use with concrete and asphalt roofs.
They are weather-resistant and durable.
They have a higher return on investment if you are building a new roof.
They are projected to be long-lasting (30-40 years)
They reduce energy use/carbon footprint and bills
They blend in better and resemble traditional roof materials
They are more cost-effective per watt of solar energy than solar panels
They are easier to maintain than solar panels
Downsides of solar shingles relate to their being such a new technology.
Availability is more limited
They are more expensive than conventional roofs and solar panels
They have fewer style and color options
Since part of the roof itself, they cannot be installed at an angle like solar panels can, to produce maximum energy
They are not conducive to a DIY installation
The final word on solar shingles
Solar shingles are still pretty new, which means experienced installers and contractors may be limited in your area. And their exact lifespan and durability is still something of a question mark, of course: None have been around long enough to prove the current projections. Nor is there much sense, as yet, as to how they’d affect a house’s resale value (though eco-friendly features, in general, are getting more popular with homebuyers).
Since solar shingles look like traditional roof tiles, their maintenance will be much simpler. Sure, you still have to look out for snowfall and leaves, but you don’t need specialized equipment to keep to clean the shingles. A garden hose is enough equipment to be used. Solar shingles are typically lightweight but can withstand large front loads, gusts of wind, and hail.
Solar shingles don’t require that much maintenance from you. Some would even say that even with no maintenance, solar shingles can last between 25 and 30 years.
Gain Solar solar roof tiles are manufactured according to the most advanced technology in the solar industry. Raw materials come from certified and monitored suppliers. Our manufacturing process is carried out according to strict quality standards and continuous control during production. Our solar roof tiles are tested and certified according to IEC 61215 (durability and longevity) and IEC 61730 (safety) standards, who has 25 year warranty of solar shingle.
However, if you are an environmentally conscious homeowner and need to replace your entire roof or replace it for new construction, solar shingles are worth considering. With some states now requiring new homes to be equipped with solar power, and federal tax credits coming into effect from 2023, now may be the time to go solar.