Roofing Articles

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A Homeowner’s Guide To Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are a relatively new product in the roofing marketplace. Solar shingles were first made available in 2005 and, since then, increases in efficiency and federal and state incentives have made solar shingles more enticing to homeowners. This article will cover what a solar shingle is, how it compares to solar panels, and what to look for when hiring a solar shingle installer.

A&A Quality Roofing on a Solar Shingle Installation
Photo courtesy of A&A Quality Roofing

The first question that many homeowners will have is what is a solar shingle and how does it differ from solar panels. A solar shingle, also sometimes referred to as a solar roof tile, is a shingle that contains a photovoltaic cell that converts sunlight into electricity. Unlike traditional solar panels that are mounted on top of a roof, solar shingles blend into the roof’s architecture and mimic the appearance of conventional roofing materials like asphalt shingles and slate. By integrating with the roof, solar shingles can have a much more pleasing appearance. Solar shingles weigh less than solar panels and homes with solar solutions installed often have a higher property value.

At this time, solar shingles are more expensive than solar panels when looking at energy efficiency per-watt, though the gap between solar panels and solar shingles is narrowing. Due to their smaller PV cell size, solar shingles are generally less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity than solar panels. One last consideration is the availability of qualified solar shingle installers in your area. Solar shingle installation can be more complex than a solar panel installation and so it is important to seek out vendors with experience.

A&A Quality Roofing with an Equipter 4000 on a Tesla Solar Shingle Installation
Photo courtesy of A&A Quality Roofing

Professional roofers across the country are familiar with the Equipter 4000, which can not only catch and move debris from a roofing job, but also lift materials up to the roof. The Equipter is ideal for moving solar shingles to avoid damage and mishandling. Once the solar shingles are elevated to the roofline with an Equipter, it can aid the installation process, which will take more time than a standard roof. Inquire with your installer if they use an Equipter.

Some final things to evaluate as you make a decision if solar shingles are right for you. Solar shingles are made to be durable and withstand severe weather conditions. If you live in an area that is prone to extreme weather like hailstorms, you may want to consider shingles that have tempered glass for a longer lifespan. Proper, professional installation is necessary when dealing with solar shingles, not only for the highest possible energy conversion, but to also protect the roof against leaks and wind uplift. Regular maintenance will aid the longevity of a roof with solar shingles. Visually examining a roof for damage after storms, removing debris from solar tiles, and quickly addressing any issues that may arise will keep your solar shingles running for years to come.

The Equipter 4000 can aid in solar shingle installation. The Equipter can be rented from over 400 rental locations across the United States and Canada. To view the closest available rental, please visit our interactive rental locator.