Skip to main content

Solar Panels vs Solar Roofing

Solar Panels vs Solar Roofing Tiles you might ask? It seems the words “solar roofing” these days, are interchangeable with the brand Tesla. First introducing his new solar roofing tiles in 2016, Elon Musk made big news.

It was, what many would later say, a lot like Steve Jobs introducing the iphone. Musk unveiled what seemed impossible – a roof that actually generates energy. And he made promises that not only would the roof significantly reduce energy costs, it would be affordable. And, like Tesla cars, it was simply beautiful.

But like typical breaking news, the excitement wore off and questions remained. Does the roof really generate as much energy as Musk claims? Is it really affordable? And, for many, the big question was: Will it ever be available?

After all, Musk’s vision defied roofing history. Solar roofing tiles have typically delivered lower efficiency and higher costs than solar panels. And, perhaps even more concerning, solar roofing tiles are location dependent – they can only be installed on the roof. Solar panels, on the other hand can be installed anywhere – which is a huge boon for those whose roofs are shaded for a large portion of the day.

“You’ve never seen any building integrated photovolataics (BIPV) vendor succeed in the United States,” says Ben Gallagher, who tracks solar technologies at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewable.

Gallagher points to Dow, which installed roughly 1000 Powerhouse roofs before giving up

But as of yesterday, things may change. RSG Energy has taken over the Powerhouse brand from Dow with a whole new vision – and a whole new cell. What was Powerhouse 2.0 is now Powerhouse 3.0, and according to Kimberly Farnham, the company’s vice president for business development, Powerhouse 2.0 used copper-indium-gallium-selenide solar cells which only delivered 40 watts per shingle. The new 3.0 version uses half-cut mono-PERC silicon cells which will deliver 55 watts per shingle – a five percent increase in energy efficiency.

Yet even with these improvements, solar panels outperform solar shingles. However, many comparing say panels to shingles will never be an even comparison because shingles also include roofing, and when installed on a new build house or during re-roofing, the solar roof costs less than a new roof plus solar panels.

But this is also why timing matters. In the best case scenario, your interest in solar power will coincide with your need for a new roof and you can simply do both at the same time. And the good news is you have many options to choose from.

This article about Solar Panels vs Solar Roofing Tiles is brought to you by Blue Sky Solar and Roofing, a solar and roofing company based in Aurora, Colorado. Blue Sky specializes in roofing sustainability, energy efficiency, and excellent customer service.

Leave a Reply