- The typical cost range to install solar shingles on a roof is from $35,000 to $75,000, with a national average cost of $55,000.
- The biggest factors affecting solar shingles cost include the roof size and pitch; the shingle brand, material, and wattage; the energy needs of the household; and the cost of labor and permits.
- There are numerous benefits to choosing solar shingles, including durability, decreased energy bills, a lower carbon footprint, cost effectiveness, and low maintenance requirements.
- Although it may be possible for a homeowner with roofing experience to complete the project on their own, most homeowners will want to hire a professional to ensure a solar shingles installation that’s compliant with local building codes.
Solar shingles are innovative roofing materials that let homeowners generate their own electricity, which offers a variety of benefits. Solar shingles can increase property values, reduce carbon emissions, and save homeowners money on energy bills.
According to Angi, installing solar shingles has an average installation cost range of $35,000 to $75,000 and a national average of $55,000. When a homeowner is considering investing in a solar energy system such as solar shingles, factors that can push installation costs in one direction or another include roof size, shingle materials, permits, and household wattage requirements. Tax credits may be available that can turn an expensive installation into a much more affordable investment.
This guide will cover the different factors that impact solar shingles cost, the benefits of choosing solar shingles, the most important questions for a homeowner to ask a contractor, and the best tips on how homeowners can save money on materials and installation.
Factors in Calculating Solar Shingles Cost
Solar shingles cost can vary based on several factors, including the roof’s size and pitch as well as the shingles’ brand and material. Permits and labor costs can also influence the final installation price. While the national average installation price is $55,000, this can differ locally based on local regulations and pricing. Homeowners considering solar-powered shingles will want to familiarize themselves with the following factors.
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Roof size is one of the most influential factors when it comes to estimating the cost of solar shingles. Solar shingles can be priced by square footage, typically ranging from $21 to $25 per square foot.
However, it’s important for homeowners to note that a home’s square footage isn’t necessarily the square footage of the roof. A roof’s pitch or layout can add additional square footage. Homeowners also need to know that an entire roof does not have to include solar shingles.
Generally, a larger home will have a larger roof and higher energy needs, resulting in higher solar shingle costs. But a smaller roof can cost just as much or even more, especially if it has complex shapes or multiple peaks.
Homeowners can use the length and width of their roof to calculate their square footage. However, a solar contractor can estimate more accurately by considering all size-related factors.
When estimating the potential cost of installing a solar roof using shingles, homeowners will want to keep roof pitch in mind. Roof pitch refers to the angle or slope of a roof and can vary from house to house based on the home’s style and the local climate. For example, homes built in areas with a lot of snow often have steeper roofs.
Homeowners can expect solar shingles to cost more to install on a home with a steeper roof pitch than one with a flatter roof pitch. A steeper pitch can make installation more difficult and time-consuming, and contractors tend to charge accordingly.
If a roof pitch exceeds the typical 6:12 ratio, homeowners can expect to pay between 5 percent and 25 percent more on installation costs.
Unlike solar panels, shingles aren’t very common as they are still a relatively new option. There are several brands of solar roof shingles, all with their own unique pros and cons. Differences in manufacturing, materials, and reputation also result in unique price points for each brand.
For example, more established brands with better customer reviews may charge higher prices for their shingles than up-and-coming brands. Additionally, some manufacturers offer additional features or warranties that can lead to higher prices. Some of the best solar companies include:
- Tesla: Tesla shingles are made from quartz and are known for their sleek appearance.
- CertainTeed: CertainTeed shingles are made from high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon and are easy to install.
- SunTegra: SunTegra shingles integrate seamlessly with traditional roofing materials and come in various colors and styles.
Solar panel shingles are available in two primary materials. The first is copper indium gallium selenide. This semiconductor contributes to the flexibility and thinness of a solar shingle and has a relatively high conversion efficiency rate, typically ranging from 10 percent to 12 percent. Shingles with higher efficiency rates produce more electricity and can help a homeowner save more on energy bills over time.
Some solar shingles are made using monocrystalline silicon, which is the same material used in computer chips. Shingles made from this material tend to be pricier than those made from copper indium gallium selenide, but they also have a higher efficiency rate, averaging between 15 percent and 20 percent.
Homeowners will always want to consider a shingle’s material, as it directly influences the efficiency rate and the potential cost savings of a system over its lifetime.
When homeowners are estimating solar panel roof costs, it’s essential to consider shingle wattages. Shingle wattage measures how much energy a solar shingle can produce. And just like light bulbs, solar shingles come in different wattages, costing between $3.50 and $8.00 per watt.
There’s a relatively simple way to compare shingle wattages: If there are two shingles, one with a wattage of 25 and another with a wattage of 50, the shingle with a wattage of 50 can produce more energy than the shingle with a wattage of 25.
Shingle wattages influence solar shingle costs because higher wattages are generally more expensive than lower wattages. However, homeowners will want to keep in mind that the cost of higher-wattage shingles can be offset by the additional energy they produce, resulting in lower energy bills.
Household Energy Requirements
The cost of solar panel roof shingles will heavily depend on a household’s energy requirements. Solar power systems come in different sizes and should be matched to a home based on the amount of energy its occupants need.
Larger families with more occupants typically have higher energy needs and require a more expensive solar shingle system. The size and layout of a house can also affect energy needs, since larger homes can have more appliances or electronics that require energy.
Energy efficiency is also essential, as homes that are more efficient require less energy to operate and can get by with a smaller and less expensive solar shingle system.
Homeowners should refer to their current energy bills and usage to help determine what size solar shingle system is needed to meet their household energy requirements.
Installing solar-powered shingles requires skilled labor. Homeowners who hire out for installation can expect labor costs to influence solar shingles cost per square foot.
The average cost of labor for installing solar roofing shingles typically ranges from $3 to $4 per square foot, though homeowners can expect to pay up to 60 percent more for complex installations, including those on steep roofs or roofs with multiple levels. Trees, chimneys, and skylights can also increase the complexity and potentially the cost of a solar shingle installation.
Homeowners can cut labor costs by scheduling their installation during the off-season or negotiating pricing. DIY installation is also an option but should be considered only if a homeowner has the right experience, knowledge, and tools.
Permits are legal requirements that help ensure solar shingles are installed safely and meet code regulations. Not all municipalities require permits for solar panel roofing installations, but most do.
Permit fees vary by location but typically cost between $100 and $1,000 for solar system installations. In addition to paying permit fees, some homeowners may need to pay for plan reviews or inspections.
Obtaining a permit can be time-consuming but necessary. Homeowners who complete a solar shingle installation without a permit can face serious consequences, including fines and forced removal of their solar system. Working with a licensed solar contractor can help streamline the permitting process and ensure the installation meets local regulations.
Geographic location can influence the cost of solar shingles installation in a few ways. First, the cost of living in a specific location can affect labor costs and permit fees. Climate can also influence costs, as areas with more sunlight may have a greater demand for solar installations. High demand can allow contractors to charge more, but local competition can help keep rates competitive.
Finally, different states and municipalities offer different rebates and incentives for solar panel installations, which can help absorb installation costs and make an investment in solar more affordable.
What follows is a chart that breaks down average installation prices by state to help homeowners estimate solar shingle installation costs by location.
|Average Cost (Materials and Installation)
Additional Costs and Considerations
There are several additional costs a homeowner will want to keep in mind when estimating how much it will cost to convert their roof to solar shingles. While not all of the following scenarios may be relevant for every installation, it’s important for a homeowner to be aware of them to avoid unexpected and costly surprises.
Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels
Many homeowners wonder which is the better option when it comes to choosing between the best solar shingles, the best solar panels, and the best solar companies (such as SunPower and ADT Solar). One of the most noticeable advantages of solar shingles is their ability to blend seamlessly into a roof. Where installing solar panels can add bulk to a roof, installing solar shingles can give a home a clean and modern aesthetic, similar to painting roof shingles to update the look.
Solar shingles cost is less than the price of solar panels, particularly when homeowners are replacing a roof. Solar shingles can also be removed and reinstalled if a homeowner decides to relocate, making this type of shingle a good investment for those not ready to plant permanent roots.
However, solar shingles can be less energy efficient than solar panels. This can be especially true if a roof doesn’t have the best pitch or receives minimal sunlight throughout the day.
Ultimately, solar panels that look like shingles can be a good alternative to solar panels, depending on a homeowner’s unique energy needs and budget.
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Existing Roof Removal
In certain circumstances, an existing roof must be removed before solar shingles are installed. The process involves removing the existing roofing material, including the underlayment, and preparing the area for new roofing or solar shingles.
It’s worth noting that an existing roof doesn’t always have to be removed before solar shingles can be installed. It depends on the type of solar shingles being installed. Some solar shingles are meant to be put directly into the roof deck, while others require removal of the old roofing material.
Homeowners will want to budget roughly $1,250 for removal and cleanup if the existing roof is removed. This cost may be higher if there are multiple layers of underlayment and old shingles to discard.
A solar shingle warranty is a guarantee from a manufacturer that the product will function as intended for a certain period of time. Warranties can also come from contractors in reference to their installations.
Warranties are not always automatic. Homeowners may need to register their solar shingles with the manufacturer to jumpstart their warranty. The length of a warranty can vary, along with its level of coverage. Most warranties last between 10 and 25 years and cover manufacturing defects. Damage caused by severe weather or fallen debris is often covered as well.
Choosing a solar roof tile with a longer warranty can cost more up front but can potentially save homeowners money on repairs down the line. It’s also important to note that certain actions or circumstances can void a warranty, including improper installation or lack of routine maintenance.
Tax Credits and Incentives
Tax credits and incentives can significantly reduce the up-front costs of solar shingle installations, making them more affordable to budget-conscious homeowners. The following are some ways a homeowner can find hidden savings when considering solar installations.
- On the federal level: The federal government offers solar investment tax credits in a certain percentage (it changes every year) for the total cost of a solar shingle installation, including labor and materials.
- On the state level: Some states, including California, Texas, New York, and Minnesota, offer tax credits and incentives for solar installations.
- From the manufacturer: Some manufacturers offer product rebates to help homeowners absorb initial installation costs.
Tax credits and incentives can change over time, so homeowners will want to stay informed of changes to avoid missing out on the best return. Also, tax credits apply only to homeowners who own their solar systems. While leasing solar panels or shingles is a great way to save on installation costs, tax credits are no longer an option in these scenarios.
Battery Backup System Installation
A battery backup system stores surplus energy generated by solar panels or shingles, which may then be used to power a home when there is no sunshine. A battery backup system can provide peace of mind during extreme weather events or help a property become more energy independent on a regular basis.
Battery backup systems can be incredibly useful—but they can also be pricey, costing between $10,000 and $21,000. This includes installation, which is best performed by a licensed professional to ensure system safety and functionality.
Homeowners installing a battery backup system may be eligible for tax credits or other incentives, which can help cover some up-front costs.
Benefits of Choosing Solar Shingles
Solar shingles provide a number of solar power benefits to homeowners wanting to lower their energy expenses and carbon impact. The benefits of solar shingles are discussed in more detail below.
Durability is one of the most significant benefits of solar shingles. Solar shingles don’t require frequent repairs or replacements, unlike traditional roofing materials. They are built to last, with the majority lasting 25 to 30 years.
Tempered glass is used to make solar shingles. It’s an incredibly strong material that can withstand harsh weather conditions, including hail, rain, and snow. Solar shingles are also resistant to corrosion and cracking.
The durability of solar shingles can help offset initial investment costs. Also, since solar shingles require minimal upkeep and can last for decades, homeowners can save money down the road by avoiding expensive repairs and replacements.
Decreased Energy Bills
Solar shingles convert sunlight into usable energy, reducing a homeowner’s dependence on traditional energy sources. This decrease in energy use can result in lower energy expenses, with the potential for significant savings over the lifespan of a solar shingle system.
Reduced energy bills from solar shingles are especially beneficial for homeowners who live in areas with high energy costs. Homeowners who can power their homes with a more sustainable energy source might shield themselves from future energy bill hikes and potentially enjoy more financial stability.
Solar shingles provide greater energy savings over time than traditional shingle materials. While the up-front costs of installing solar shingles may be higher, long-term savings from reduced energy bills can help offset a homeowner’s initial investment.
Lower Carbon Footprint
One of the main benefits of switching to solar shingles is that they can help reduce a homeowner’s carbon footprint. Traditional sources of energy emit carbon emissions and contribute to climate change. Installing solar shingles allows homeowners to lessen their dependence on such nonrenewable energy sources in a couple of different ways.
To start, compared to the production of traditional roofing materials, solar shingle production is much more eco-friendly. While the manufacturing process for solar shingles does require some energy, the amount is significantly lower than for other roofing materials.
Also, solar shingles generate their own electricity, allowing homeowners to rely less on the power grid. Lowering the electricity demand generated by power plants means fewer carbon emissions are put into the atmosphere.
Finally, using solar shingles allows homeowners to benefit from other eco-friendly avenues, including charging electric cars with solar energy.
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Solar shingles can be a cost-effective investment in a few different ways. The most obvious way solar shingles can help a homeowner save money is by reducing energy bills by generating their own electricity. Additionally, many states offer tax breaks and incentives to homeowners who install solar shingles, which can help offset some of the initial costs.
Solar shingles can also increase a home’s value, as potential buyers may be willing to pay more for a unique and eco-friendly feature in a property.
Finally, solar shingles are made to be long-lasting and sturdy. Because the material requires less maintenance and fewer repairs than other roofing material, homeowners can save money over the lifespan of their solar shingle system.
Low Maintenance Requirements
Compared to other types of shingles, solar shingles are low-maintenance and can save homeowners time and money as a result. Solar shingles have no moving parts, making them less likely to break or require repairs.
Solar shingles also have a long lifespan and require less frequent replacement than traditional roofing materials. Homeowners who stay in their homes for decades may need to replace their roofs several times, but the frequency is likely to be less with solar shingles.
Additionally, solar shingles don’t require regular cleanings, even if trees or other objects above the roof drop debris.
Solar shingles are an aesthetically pleasing addition to a home, as they blend in with traditional roofing materials. This is an important feature, since most homes don’t need an entire roof of solar shingles but a much smaller section instead. By seamlessly blending with other materials, solar shingles can enhance a home’s aesthetics.
Solar shingles also come in various colors and styles, allowing homeowners to customize the look of their homes.
Finally, compared to solar panels, solar shingles are designed to be more low profile. They’re less obtrusive than solar panels yet provide adequate renewable energy.
Solar Shingles Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
When installing solar shingles, homeowners have two options: Do it themselves or pay a professional.
While a DIY route certainly offers some potential cost savings, there are vital considerations for homeowners to take into account before attempting a DIY solar shingle installation project.
First and most importantly, checking local solar panel installation regulations is paramount. Many states and counties require permits and inspections when solar equipment is being installed. Failing to comply with these regulations can leave a homeowner in hot water. Hiring a professional installer eliminates this risk, as they are well versed in ensuring installations are up to code.
Additionally, installing solar shingles requires a certain level of knowledge and expertise. While there are resources available for homeowners who want to DIY their installation, it’s important to know that a mistake can be costly and potentially dangerous. DIY installations may also not be covered under warranty or insurance.
Before deciding whether to go the DIY route or hire a professional, homeowners are also advised to consider the cost differences. Hiring a professional will likely be more expensive up front but can save money in the long run. Professionals can also access discounted materials and ensure an installation is done correctly the first time.
In fact, DIY installations don’t offer a lot of opportunities for cost savings. When installing solar shingles on their own, homeowners spend an average of $35 per square foot, bringing the total cost for a 1,500-square-foot roof to around $53,200 when all supplies are considered. This cost is similar to the average price of hiring a local professional to install a solar shingle roof.
Ultimately, deciding to install solar shingles themselves or hire a professional depends on a homeowner’s skills, experience, and comfort level. Before deciding whether a DIY installation is the best option, it’s important for a homeowner to consider all of the factors involved. Hiring a professional is likely the safest and most cost-effective route for most homeowners.
How to Save Money on Solar Shingles Cost
Installation costs can make solar shingles feel inaccessible for a cost-conscious homeowner. But there are several ways to save money on materials and installation costs. What follows are some money-saving tips to keep in mind.
- Look for deals. Shop around and get multiple quotes from different installation contractors to compare and find the best deal.
- Go for the most cost-effective option. Larger or more aesthetically pleasing systems aren’t always the most cost-effective, so choose carefully.
- Ask about financing. Choose the best financing option, taking time to research financing through the contractor, through a bank, or via a solar power purchase agreement.
- Choose off-season installation. Install during the off-season to take advantage of discounts or promotions.
- Research rebates and tax credits. Look into rebates from manufacturers, and speak to a tax professional to avoid missing out on local, state, and federal tax credits.
- Make other eco-conscious changes. Invest in energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs to reduce energy needs and maximize savings from a solar shingle system.
- Keep up with maintenance. Handle any necessary repairs as soon as possible to extend the lifespan of a solar shingle system.
Questions to Ask About Solar Shingles Installation
When investing in solar shingles, choosing the best contractor for the job is crucial. A poorly installed solar shingle system could reduce energy output or even damage a roof. Answering the following questions can help homeowners feel confident that their solar shingles will be installed correctly and safely.
- Are you licensed and insured to install solar shingles?
- How much experience with solar shingles do you have?
- Can you provide me with a list of references?
- Can you provide me with a detailed quote that includes the system size and proposed layout?
- Can you explain the installation process?
- Do you offer any financing options?
- Will you and your team be completing the work, or do you work with subcontractors?
- How do you ensure the safety of your workers during installations?
- Do you handle any necessary permits or inspections?
- What is the estimated timeline for an installation?
- Who do I contact if there’s an issue with my system down the road?
Investing in solar shingles is an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a sustainable and cost-effective energy source. By considering factors like system size and style while taking advantage of money-saving tips, homeowners can reduce solar shingles costs and enjoy the benefits of a renewable energy source. For those interested in solar shingles, the following list of frequently asked questions can offer more insight into the installation process.
Q. Can I walk on solar shingles?
A person can walk on solar shingles, but it’s not recommended unless necessary. While solar shingles are designed to be durable and can likely accommodate a person walking on them, this can increase the risk of damage and potentially affect the system’s efficiency. If a roof with solar shingles needs to be inspected or repaired, hiring a professional with the experience and necessary gear is best to minimize the risk of damage.
Q. Will solar shingles power my house?
Solar shingles can power an entire house, though it depends on a few factors, including how much energy the home needs and how much sunlight hits the property on a typical day. A system’s efficiency levels also play a role. An appropriately sized and functional solar power system can produce enough electricity to power a home for a day while storing excess energy for the evening or cloudy days. Working with a qualified contractor can help ensure a solar shingle system can meet the specific energy needs of a home.
Q. What is the average cost of solar shingles?
The average cost of solar shingles can range from $35,000 to $75,000, with a national average cost of around $55,000. The actual cost of solar shingles, including materials and installation, depends on the system size, shingle material and wattage, and the cost of local permits. It’s recommended that a homeowner get multiple quotes and consider their financing options to make the cost of solar shingles as affordable as possible.
Q. How long do solar shingles last on average?
Solar shingles can last between 25 and 30 years, depending on the manufacturer and the quality of installation. Investing in high-quality solar shingles and finding a skilled contractor can help ensure the system functions properly for decades. Regular inspections and proper maintenance can help extend the lifespan of solar shingles and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible.
Q. Are there any drawbacks of solar shingles?
While solar shingles offer homeowners many benefits, there are a few drawbacks for homeowners to consider. For example, solar shingles are one of the most expensive roofing materials available, and they’re typically less efficient than standard solar panels. Also, solar shingles aren’t compatible with every roof type. Despite these potential drawbacks, solar shingles are still popular for homeowners looking for a renewable energy source for their home.
Q. How many solar shingles will I need for my house?
The number of solar shingles a house will need depends on its size and typical energy usage. It’s important to note that replacing an entire roof with solar shingles is unnecessary. At the same time, factors such as the angle or direction of a roof and any trees or buildings that are blocking the sunlight can increase the recommended number of solar shingles. A qualified solar contractor can assess a home’s energy needs and make appropriate recommendations.