Solar Roof Shingles Explained – Lifespan, Cost & Installation

If you entered the solar energy world fully, you must have heard a thing or two about the solar shingles. Many solar installers haven’t yet included them in their official offers since we are talking about a relatively new thing on the market, but the truth is a good reputation is following these discreet solar plates, which are threatening to maybe replace solar panels totally in the future.

What Are Solar Shingles?

Solar shingles are revolutionary solar tiles created to look just like regular asphalt shingles many people use to cover the roof area. One of the first viable projects with solar shingles was installed in Colorado in 2011, so they truly are a super fresh thing on the market.

They have the ability to collect and generate the sun’s energy into electricity for your home, but also to protect the roof from external influences like rain, hail, or wind. Although they look quite fragile, the solar shingles are very durable and flexible – there’s no doubt about that.

The unobtrusive and refined design of solar shingles is the reason solar enthusiasts are willing to give them a chance, especially since it’s well known they can produce between 13 and 63 watts of energy each, depending on the manufacturer. They are very lightweight, and therefore very easy to install.

Lifespan and the Cost

Solar Roof Shingles

If you are planning on installing solar shingles, you should know that the price per square foot is somewhere between $21 and $25 if we are talking about the standard, single-story house.

That means you will have to set aside a total amount of $60.000 in average for installing this new generation solar machinery. Of course, the price varies and very much depends on the size and slope of the roof, the condition of the site, and the shingles brand you plan on using.

Just like the solar panel system, the average solar shingles installation will last around 20 to 30 years, regarding the maximum efficiency. They won’t stop working after that period of time, but the energy output will be smaller for sure. If you are on the grid, it’s most likely you won’t have to replace them for a couple of years more, but if you wish they generate more electricity, you need to consult with a solar contractor and see what should be your next step.


You must be wondering how many of these solar tiles you will need to install so they could provide you with electricity. The answer depends on how big your house is, for starters, and how much solar energy you are planning on using.

The great thing is that you don’t need to replace your entire roof with solar shingles, they can be integrated into the existing one. The installation process is very simple, it will take around 10 hours for the professional to do it properly, but it’s not recommended for you to take things into your own hands, pretending to be a handyman.

Solar Panels VS Solar Shingles

So, now you must be wondering why should you choose to go with solar shingles instead of the traditional solar panels, which, as confirmed, would do an excellent job for sure. We won’t try to persuade you, it’s up to you to make this decision, but we are going to point out some advantages and disadvantages of this new solar entity.

Many people agree that solar shingles are more aesthetically pleasing since they can blend in smoothly with the existing roof construction, while the numbers show they are 10-15 percent more cost-effective too (per watt) if compared to solar panels.

On the other hand, they can be less energy-efficient, which can be a deal-breaker, and they need to be placed on a roof with high sunlight exposure and a specific slope. Also, you may have a problem finding the solar installer willing to work with shingles, because they are still very new products on the solar market.


It’s such a great thing that nowadays we all have a choice in this particular matter. The solar industry is evolving and growing, so the options are not as narrowed down as they used to be. If you think about it, solar shingles are the new and improved version of solar panels.

But they are not here to replace them, since they both make a significant difference and do the work just fine, but to offer you a choice, an opportunity to arrange your home the way you wanted, visually, and still make it be great solar-based station.