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Homeowners are looking for reasons to become more energy efficient in the way they live, and solar power provides an easy starting point. When looking at solar power options for your home, the two main options in the market at present are solar shingles and solar panels.
Solar panels are larger panels, placed on the top of roofs, or even on brackets on the sides of buildings. The major benefit of solar panels is that they are easily angled to face the direction and angle of the sun.
Solar shingles, or solar roof tiles, are typically smaller and will often cover the entire roof of the house. They can cover existing shingles, adding an effective second layer to your roof. The disadvantage of shingles is that you cannot angle them to face the sun, but because they cover the entire roof, their coverage is often far greater.
Deciding on solar power for your home is not an option to take lightly. The upfront costs of solar can be significant. However, as this technology is becoming more widely used and improving at the same time, the initial costs are decreasing, making it a more affordable option.
What is important to remember is that the cost savings of a solar installation are often not seen for a few years. In the medium and long term is when the savings start to become noticeable. However, if you are installing solar purely to save the environment, then the benefits are realized almost immediately.
As such, whether it is solar panels or solar shingles, your environmental impact is reduced from day one.
Which Option is Better?
There are a number of pros and cons to both solar panels and solar shingles.
It’s worth looking at these before making a decision because it does require a significant financial outlay.
In many cases, homeowners are granted tax concessions and rebates if they have installed solar systems in their homes or make use of solar energy. There are tricky requirements when applying for these tax incentives, and the best person to ask is often a local solar installation company.
Understanding how these rebates work might guide you towards choosing between solar shingles or solar panels.
Typically, solar panels are cheaper than solar shingles. However, as technologies improve over time and the market size increases, the price of solar shingles has also come down.
What makes them an interesting option as well, is that solar shingles can take the place of traditional roof shingles. If you are doing a new build or renovation and want to go green, it’s worth running the figures. Solar shingles might actually turn out to be cheaper, especially when considering the long-term costs and benefits.
Of course, homeowners need to consider how much of their home they want to power using solar energy. There are also many add-ons that impact the price, such as batteries, wiring, and inverters, and these need to be factored into calculations.
The cost calculations are tricky as the long-term benefits are often larger than the initial start-up costs. A system might seem expensive to install if you are looking at the short-term picture. But the long-term energy savings and tax rebates often make solar systems far more attractive.
If looking strictly at appearance, solar shingles are generally more aesthetically pleasing.
For the most part, they look the same as standard roof shingles, except a bit shinier. This means they blend in with the existing house, and many passersby won’t even notice them.
Solar panels look like panels fixed onto a roof—which is exactly what they are. There’s no hiding the fact that you have solar panels on top of your house.
In terms of energy efficiency, solar panels are typically more efficient. Because they can tilt to match the angle of the sun, they can absorb more of the sun’s direct rays. This isn’t a strict rule, because sometimes the pitch and direction of a roof are ideal for roof shingles, but this tends to be an exception to the norm. A solar installation company is best equipped to do the calculations to answer this question more directly.
Ease of Installation
Solar shingles are quite quick and easy to install. If you’re building a new roof, they go on even faster. Depending on the size of the roof, you may only need half a day for installation. In terms of speed, solar shingles are certainly faster to install than solar panels.
Solar panels require specialized brackets as mounts for the panels. These are time-consuming to install. However, there is one advantage in support of solar panels. These brackets and panels are easily removed and taken with you if you move houses. This means that you can relocate your panels and transfer your cost savings to your new house.
Making the Final Decision
While making this decision is difficult, generally, homeowners opt for solar shingles if they are replacing a roof, or building a new roof. If this does not describe your situation, solar panels might be the better option.
Solar shingles are well suited if your roof is already facing the correct direction, and is at the optimal angle. If large, obvious solar panels don’t suit the look of your home, then solar shingles are the answer for you.
Whatever the case, deciding between solar panels and solar shingles means that you are an energy-efficient consumer. There’s a huge focus on moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle, and we can all opt to be more energy efficient in the way we live. Everything from the bed we sleep in to the roof we sleep under has an impact on the environment, and it’s up to us to reduce it.
With solar energy, the rewards are very seldom seen in the short term. There is typically a large financial outlay at the start, and in the medium to long term, the energy savings will begin to outweigh those initial costs.
There are many aspects to consider, and calculations to do. However, the long-term benefits are certainly worth it. Take your time, do some research, and call in the experts if needed. Solar power is an investment for your home, your lifestyle, and the planet.