Solar power is nature’s most abundant source of energy, making the use of solar panels and shingles a growingly popular project for homeowners nationwide. Homeowners who are looking to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint have these two options to choose from and become less dependent on traditional sources of energy that are not environmentally friendly. According to the team at Homefix Custom Remodeling, there are quite a few advantages of shingles over panels, so let’s have a look at why that is so.
What is a solar panel?
A solar panel or a solar cell panel is a set of photo‐voltaic (PV) cells that are mounted in a framework and installed onto a roof to generate electricity. It’s available in two sizes – residential and commercial, and it has been present in the form we know it today for more than half a century.
What is a solar shingle?
A solar shingle is basically a solar panel that is configured to look like a traditional roof shingle. The solar cells are integrated into a conventional asphalt, concrete, shake, slate, or tile shingle that looks like regular roofing. It’s a recent modern solution that first appeared on the market a little over 10 years ago.
What is the difference between solar shingles and solar panels?
While there are a few similarities between shingles and traditional panels, such as the fact that they are both positioned on the roof, there are a lot of ways they differ one from another. Have a look at the main differences between these two mechanisms:
Solar shingles come in different shapes, sizes, and designs, and they can seamlessly blend into your home’s style. They are available in colors similar to the usual roof materials such as clay, asphalt, or slate. On the other hand, solar panels are bulky and usually black or blue which makes them quite conspicuous, especially if your roofing is a light color.
Panels are large and heavy, with two standard sizes available. A residential panel contains 60 cells with a surface of about 17 square feet and a weight of about 40 pounds, while a commercial one weighs about 50 pounds with a surface of 70 cells totaling about 21 square feet. With these standard sizes, solar panels can’t be installed on smaller roofs.
The weight of a shingle depends on the type of material you choose, and its average size is about 7 square feet, which makes it an excellent solution for homeowners with small roofs. Despite the smaller size, they can still generate about the same amount of energy as panels.
When it comes to resilience to different weather conditions, shingles and panels are quite similar in that they can both withstand hail and extreme force winds such as hurricanes. They are also waterproof, even during extreme rain.
The roofing system (underlayment and waterproofing layers) remains intact and no penetrations are made into it with the installation of solar shingles. On the other hand, solar panels drill into the roofing system when the panel is installed which may come with the risk of water getting into that penetration over time.
There is one big difference in the way these two mechanisms are installed. Panels are structures that go onto an existing roof, and they require quite a lot of space which is why houses with small roofs don’t qualify for this option.
On the other hand, shingles don’t need an existing roof but can be installed instead of it. While the possibility of placing them on a roof that’s already covering your home remains, in case you’re building a new home or planning to replace old roofing, shingles are a great option. They are both structural roofing and solar energy material in one.
Moreover, shingles’ shape and size make them more lightweight, making the installation easy for skilled installers and applicable to small roof homes.