Solar Shingles vs. Asphalt Shingles


Changing Times

Technology is constantly changing how we do things. And now, the emphasis is shifting towards the environment. There are commercials about saving energy, water and electricity. Now those energy saving ideas are leaking (pun intended) into all things roofing.

Solar shingles

What if I told you the next time you replace your roof your shingles could be solar panels? Solar panels that look just like asphalt shingles but collect the sun rays and transfer that into electricity for your home. Sounds amazing right? But wait, can it really be that simple?

There’s a certain kind of solar shingles that nail directly into your roof sheathing. They weigh as much as an asphalt shingle. They do the exact same thing as any other shingle you would put on your roof. They keep out water and protect your house from wind and hail damage. Solar shingles have been tested to withstand two hundred and fifty pounds per square foot of pressure and one hundred mile an hour winds. The shingles have a sleek black look that lets them blend in with other shingles on your roof. One brand, Tesla is even offering a lifetime warranty on these shingles. This sounds pretty great, right? Yes, it is pretty awesome, until we bring cost into the discussion and your payback over time.

Costs of Solar Shingles

Okay, an average roof costs about $4 – $5 dollars per square foot. Now solar shingles costs about $22 per square foot. With solar shingles, we should be saving money on our electrical bills, right? We are, but most houses aren’t getting pay outs for almost 20 years. So before installing you must think about how long you plan on staying in your house. Is it worth the investment if you only plan on staying in your home another five years before the kids move out?

Asphalt Shingles vs. Solar Shingles

Okay, lets crunch some numbers. The average home with an asphalt roof costs about $7,500 to replace. If you were to replace that same roof with solar shingles, the cost balloons to around $58,000 with only 70% of your roof covered! You’re paying around $51,000 for the shingles and the installation. Tesla is also recommending you have an electricity storage unit to house all the extra electricity your roof is producing. This costs an additional $7,000. You also have to shingle the remaining 30% at around $2,300. Putting it all together, you’re spending more than $60,000 on your roof. Okay, but let’s say you don’t want the electricity storage unit. This drops your cost to around $53,000. Again, given that an average new roof costs around $7,500, you could have your roof replaced with asphalt shingles SEVEN times for the same price you would pay for a solar shingled roof. Remember, the average cost of a solar roof includes only 70% of your roof replaced with the solar shingles. You still have to pay an additional amount to shingle the other 30% of your roof.

Is it worth the investment?

Okay, more number crunching. The life expectancy in the United States right now (2017) is 78 years old. Let’s say you eat right and exercise to live to be 80. Most people replace their roof every 25 years. So that means, in an average lifetime you would replace your roof three times. A solar roof isn’t projected to start giving payouts until 20 years after it is installed. With the average homeowner only living in their house an average of 13 years, it’s not quite adding up, is it?

Here at the Continental Roof Company, we average around $10,000 to replace a roof. That’s still six regular roof replacements before the one solar roof begins paying for itself and providing you extra cash after 20 years.

What about states offering rebates? Some are offering up to a 30% rebate for having a solar roof. Without purchasing a storage unit and spending $53,000, you will get $15,900 in rebates. This drops your spend to $37,100 for a new roof (70% solar + 30% asphalt). You could still replace your roof FOUR, nearly five times for the same price.

What do you think? Is it worth it? Still have questions? Leave a comment on Facebook, email us, or give us a call today so we can help!


*All these numbers are based on averages, each will vary on the size of your roof, the amount of sunlight your roof gets, and how much electricity your household uses.