If you despise the old and unaesthetic design of solar panels, you are not alone. Why bother installing dull-looking solar panels when you can have solar panel-equipped roof tiles?

Solar roof tiles or solar shingles are aesthetically pleasing and futuristic options for homeowners. If you don’t want to compromise on the look of your roof, shingles could be your go-to option.

Though they are costlier than regular solar panels, solar shingles have more to them. Give this article a read to explore everything you need to know about solar shingles.

Key Takeaways

  • Solar shingles are photovoltaic roof tiles that combine aesthetics with functionality, generating electricity while resembling traditional roofing materials like slate or asphalt.
  • These shingles work similarly to solar panels, converting sunlight into electricity, and are available in various sizes and materials, with some offering higher efficiency through crystalline silicon solar cells.
  • Solar shingles have pros such as easy maintenance, longer lifespan, and appealing design but also come with cons like higher cost, lower efficiency, and time-consuming installation. They are an evolving technology with potential benefits for homeowners looking for both energy generation and an attractive roof.

What Are Solar Shingles?

Solar shingles are photovoltaic substitutes for traditional roofs. They have a design that looks and functions similar to usual roofing materials like slate or asphalt. However, along with serving as roof tiles, they also generate power from the sun.

The shingles are a part of the group called building-integrated photovoltaics. It was only in 2005 when these solar shingles became commercially available.

Today, the market for solar shingles constitutes several companies. Brands like Tesla, SunTegra, CertainTeed, and Luma are some of the best producers of solar shingles.

How Do Solar Shingles Work?

Solar ShinglesTypically, there is no difference between the mechanism of a solar shingle and a solar panel. The only difference is that solar shingles are much smaller in size. When sunlight strikes the solar shingles, the semiconductor materials chemically convert solar energy into electricity. Then, this converted energy powers appliances in your house.

The average size of a solar shingle is 12 inches × 86 inches. Further, these shingles can produce between 50 to 115 watts of energy.

Most companies these days use crystalline silicon solar cells to achieve higher efficiency.

You can find solar shingles in different varieties. You can install some solar shingles directly on your existing roof, while others require complete roof replacement.

Some manufacturers produce solar shingles with versatile semiconductor materials in place of the traditional c-Si solar cells.

What Are the Features of Solar Shingles?

The functioning of solar shingles is similar to solar panels. Their primary goal is to generate energy. However, solar shingles have several noteworthy features.


The solar roof tiles sport a smaller size of about 12 inches × 86 inches on average.

A single solar shingle weighs nearly 13 pounds per square foot. The thickness of these shingles is less than an inch. An average solar roof installation requires about 350 shingles in total.


Most of the solar shingles are thin-film solar cells. The solar shingles use a semiconductor called copper indium gallium selenide. The material of solar shingles has the highest conversion efficiency rates.

Some brands also use monocrystalline silicon for better efficiency. However, solar shingles with this material are a tad more expensive.

Power Output

The power output may vary depending on the brand, material, and type of solar shingle. Most shingles can produce from 13 to 63 watts. Some manufacturers claim that a setup of 350 tiles can reduce electricity bills by 40% to 70%.

What Are the Pros of Solar Shingles?

Here are some of the pros of choosing solar shingles:

  • Ideal for New Homes: Though they are investment-heavy, solar roof tiles are cost-effective for new homes. It is because new homes do not need roof replacements.
  • Easy Maintenance: Solar shingles have a more straightforward maintenance process compared to solar panels. Their structure does not build up dirt. You can clean solar shingles with a simple garden hose.
  • Longer Lifespan: Solar shingles enjoy a long lifespan. Most manufacturers assure a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.
  • Enhanced Durability: Solar shingles have bonafide roofing material to make them perfect alternatives to traditional roof tiles. The solar shingles are durable and resistant to harsh impacts and fires.
  • Appealing Design: Solar roof tiles maintain a low profile that seamlessly blends with your existing home structure. It’ll be hard for bypassers to tell that your home has a PV system.

In short, solar shingles are not only functional but also appealing.

What Are the Cons of Solar Shingles?

Though there are cons to equipping your roof with solar shingles, none of them are deal-breakers. Here are some cons of installing solar shingles:

  • Not Transportable: Solar shingles feature a custom design for each house. As a result, you cannot install them in your new home.
  • Lack Efficiency: Solar shingles are less efficient than solar panels. Solar panels offer an efficiency of 20%, while shingles can only hover in the mid to high teens.
  • High Cost: You’ll find solar shingles to be costlier than solar panels. The cost of installing a solar shingle is also significantly higher due to roof replacement charges.
  • Time-Consuming Installation: A solar roof tile takes more time for installation because of roof removal. Removing roof tiles acts as an extra step in the process. At times, solar shingles can take weeks to function fully.

What is the Difference Between Solar Shingles and Solar Panels?

Photovoltaic Solar ShinglesOne of the apparent differences between solar panels and solar shingles is that the latter has a better design. Most people do not want to install a solar panel due to its poor aesthetic appeal.

Another difference between the two is in their price. Remember how people say you get what you pay for? Well, with more aesthetics and convenience, solar shingles have become more expensive than solar panels.

Besides, solar panels are less costly to install. On the other hand, the solar shingles might require a complete roof replacement for the process. The cost of installing a solar roof tile ranges between $3.80 to $9 per watt.

Both solar panels offer an equal lifespan. Manufacturers design them to last for 20 to 30 years.

It’s also worth pointing out that you’ll have an easier time maintaining solar shingles. They have fewer crevices for dirt and debris to build up. Plus, birds will find it hard to build nests on solar shingles. A garden hose is all you need to clean it!

Lastly, the solar shingles again have the upper hand in terms of durability. It is because solar shingles contain an arrangement of solar cells supported by roof materials.

Manufacturers design solar shingles to withstand harsh impacts from strong winds and hailstorms. Solar roof tiles are also fire-resistant.

Are Solar Shingles Better than Solar Panels?

The market for solar shingles is quickly expanding. Despite the high overall cost, more people are adopting solar roofs as an alternative to solar panels.

The joint venture between SolarCity and Tesla has catapulted the demand for solar shingles.

There’s no denying that the cost is still a setback for homeowners. However, the increasing demand pushes manufacturers to develop newer, cheaper, and more efficient solar shingles.

Though these electricity-generating roofs are growing in popularity, there’s no surety about when they’ll overtake solar panels. Once manufacturers perfect the technology behind solar shingles, homeowners will be more likely to make the transition.

Case Study: Installing Solar Shingles


At Solar Panels Network USA, we pride ourselves on providing cutting-edge solar solutions that meet our clients’ needs and preferences. One of our recent projects involved the installation of solar shingles for a homeowner who desired a visually appealing and efficient renewable energy system.

Project Overview

The homeowner wanted to switch to renewable energy without compromising the aesthetic appeal of their home. They were interested in solar shingles for their sleek design and energy efficiency. Our task was to install a comprehensive solar shingle system that would blend seamlessly with the roof while providing substantial energy savings.


Site Assessment and Planning: Our team conducted a detailed site assessment to determine the roof’s suitability for solar shingles. Factors such as roof orientation, shading, and structural integrity were evaluated to ensure optimal energy production.

Selection of Solar Shingles: We recommended monocrystalline solar shingles for their higher efficiency and durability. These shingles were chosen for their superior performance and ability to blend with the existing roof structure.

Installation Process: The installation began with the removal of the existing roof tiles. We then installed the new solar shingles, ensuring each tile was securely attached and properly aligned to maximize sunlight exposure. The process required careful coordination to maintain the roof’s structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.

Integration with Electrical System: The solar shingles were connected to a hybrid inverter, which converts the DC electricity generated by the shingles into AC electricity used in the home. We also installed a solar monitoring system to provide real-time data on energy production and consumption.

Ensuring Efficiency and Safety: Throughout the installation, our team adhered to strict safety protocols and industry standards. We conducted thorough testing to ensure the system was functioning optimally and providing the expected energy output.


The installation of the solar shingles resulted in significant benefits for the homeowner.

Aesthetic Appeal: The solar shingles seamlessly integrated with the roof, maintaining the home’s aesthetic appeal. The sleek design of the shingles was a major highlight, attracting positive attention from neighbors and passersby.

Energy Savings: The homeowner experienced a substantial reduction in their electricity bills, with the solar shingles generating enough power to meet most of their household needs. The system’s efficiency ensured that the investment would pay off within a few years.

Low Maintenance: The low-maintenance nature of the solar shingles was another significant advantage. Unlike traditional solar panels, the shingles required minimal cleaning and upkeep, providing long-term convenience for the homeowner.

Durability and Longevity: The durability of the monocrystalline shingles ensured that the system would withstand harsh weather conditions and have a long lifespan. The manufacturer’s warranty provided additional peace of mind, covering performance and potential issues for several decades.


Our successful installation of solar shingles for the residential client demonstrated the practical benefits of this innovative technology. The project highlighted the importance of thorough planning, high-quality materials, and professional installation in achieving optimal results. Solar shingles offered the perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality, providing significant energy savings and enhancing the home’s visual appeal. At Solar Panels Network USA, we continue to pioneer renewable energy solutions that meet our clients’ unique needs and contribute to a sustainable future.

Expert Insights From Our Solar Panel Installers About Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are an excellent option for homeowners looking to combine aesthetics with functionality. They seamlessly integrate with your roof, offering both energy generation and a sleek look.

Lead Solar Shingle Installer

While solar shingles may have a higher upfront cost, their long lifespan and low maintenance requirements make them a cost-effective solution in the long run.

Senior Solar Technician

Installing solar shingles is a meticulous process, but the result is a powerful and visually appealing renewable energy source that can significantly reduce your electricity bills.

Solar Installation Specialist

Experience Solar Excellence with Us!

Trust in Solar Panels Network USA, where our seasoned experts deliver top-quality solar solutions for homes and businesses nationwide. With a legacy of countless successful installations and a commitment to sustainable energy, we’re your reliable partner in the solar journey. Ready for a brighter, eco-friendly future? Call us now at (855) 427-0058 and harness the power of the sun!

Wrap Up

Solar shingles are still trying to make a buzz in the market.

Though they are significantly costlier, the sleek look of solar shingles appeals to bypassers. We love how it blends into the rest of the structure to enhance a roof’s appearance.

It is also worth mentioning that solar shingles demand a high installation cost. But, the easy maintenance and long lifespan make up for those drawbacks.

So, are you ready to be the new modern home in your neighborhood? Get rid of the cumbersome and clunky solar panels and invite aesthetics with solar shingles!

About the Author

Solar Panels Network USA stands at the forefront of solar energy solutions, driven by a team of seasoned solar engineers and energy consultants. With over decades of experience in delivering high-quality solar installations and maintenance, we are committed to promoting sustainable energy through customer-centric, tailored solutions. Our articles reflect this commitment, crafted collaboratively by experts to provide accurate, up-to-date insights into solar technology, ensuring our readers are well-informed and empowered in their solar energy decisions.