Renewable energy is becoming more and more popular of late, particularly with the rise in options offered to Logan Township, NJ homeowners like yourself. If you are looking to reduce your home’s carbon footprint while saving on energy costs, then you may have considered investing in solar power. Did you know that there are more than solar panels on the market today? Solar shingles are a newer technology that works like traditional solar panels but have unique features and advantages that make them worth considering. So, which option is right for your Logan Township, NJ home—solar shingles or traditional solar panels? Let’s find out!
What are Solar Shingles?
Solar shingles came onto the scene more recently than solar panels. There are popular options out there, including Tesla solar roof tiles and GAF Timberline Solar Energy Shingles. Regardless of the brand, solar shingles are designed to resemble traditional roofing materials as closely as possible. This makes them a more sleek and seamless option, as they integrate with the overall aesthetics of your home.
Solar shingles work the same way as regular solar panels and are made with the same materials. Depending on the brand, the construction of the solar shingle will differ. For example, GAF’s solar shingles are among the first to be nailable, meaning that they contain solar cells alongside asphalt roofing materials. This enables them to be hammered onto the roof deck rather than mounted with bulky racks and other mechanisms.
The Advantages of Solar Shingles
Here are some of the benefits of choosing solar shingles for your home in Logan Township, NJ:
- Aesthetics: Solar shingles blend in with the rest of the roof, maintaining the home’s visual appeal without standing out as obvious solar panels. Furthermore, some solar shingles, like GAF Timberline Solar shingles, come with color options, providing more curb appeal than solar panels.
- Durability: Much like traditional asphalt shingles, solar shingles are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, including high winds and hail, ensuring a longer lifespan.
- Flexibility: The individual shingles can be installed selectively, providing greater design flexibility and accommodating varying energy needs. A local solar shingle installer in Logan Township, NJ will generate a few layout options based on your home’s energy needs. You can decide the look from there.
- Maintenance: Solar shingles are designed to be as easy to install and maintain as possible. Alongside a monitoring app, solar shingles do not need much maintenance to function. Routine cleaning is often enough to keep them working optimally.
Considerations When Choosing Solar Shingles
Let’s take a look at some things to keep in mind when selecting solar shingles. These are not necessarily drawbacks, but they must be weighed accordingly.
- Efficiency: Due to the size of a single solar shingle compared to a solar panel, solar shingles tend to be less efficient at solar absorption. Furthermore, because the solar shingles are installed right against your home, they tend to get hotter than traditional panels, which impacts absorption rates. However, depending on the size of your roof and the layout of the panels (alongside other factors), you will find that both options generate an adequate amount of energy for your needs.
- Cost: While the cost of solar shingles is not prohibitive by any means, they do tend to be more expensive to install than regular solar panels. Part of the reason is that you need an entire roof replacement when upgrading to solar shingles.
What are Traditional Solar Panels?
Traditional solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, have been the industry standard for years. They consist of an array of individual panels mounted on rooftops or ground-mounted systems, capturing sunlight and converting it into electricity through photovoltaic cells.
The Advantages of Solar Panels
Here are some reasons to choose solar panels for your home:
- Energy Rating: On average, a standard-sized residential solar panel has a power rating between 250 to 400 watts. However, there are high-efficiency panels available in the market that can produce more than 400 watts per panel. In comparison, solar shingles have a rating of around 45 watts. However, as mentioned earlier, the arrangement of solar shingles can enhance their efficiency, making their energy generation just as good as panels.
- Cost-Effectiveness: When considering the overall cost of solar installations, traditional solar panels tend to be more cost-effective compared to solar shingles. This cost-effectiveness is evident in both the initial installation and the long-term return on investment. The lower cost per watt of traditional panels, combined with their proven performance and reliability, makes them a popular choice for homeowners.
- Wide Availability and Compatibility: Traditional solar panels are readily available in the market, with numerous manufacturers and suppliers offering a range of options. This availability ensures competitive pricing and easy access to components for installation, maintenance, and system expansions. Additionally, traditional solar panels are compatible with various inverters, monitoring systems, and energy storage solutions, providing homeowners with flexibility and options for optimizing their solar system.
Considerations When Choosing Solar Panels
Solar panels have many advantages for NJ homeowners in Logan Township. That said, there are a couple of things you should be aware of before deciding between solar shingles and panels including:
- Appearance: One consideration with traditional solar panels is their visibility and potential impact on the home’s aesthetics. The panels are more visible and may not seamlessly blend with the overall appearance of the house. However, advancements in panel design, such as black-on-black options, have helped improve the aesthetics of solar panels, offering a more visually appealing option.
- Orientation and Tilt: To maximize solar energy generation, PV panels should ideally be installed facing south (in the northern hemisphere) or north (in the southern hemisphere) to capture the most sunlight throughout the day. Additionally, the tilt angle should be adjusted based on the latitude of your location for optimal performance. Solar shingles can be placed on nearly any part of the roof to maximize their capabilities.
- Roof Suitability: PV panels are typically mounted on rooftops, so it’s essential to evaluate the suitability of your roof for solar installation. Factors such as roof orientation, available space, shading from nearby structures or trees, and the condition of the roof should be considered. A sturdy roof with a long remaining lifespan is ideal. On the other hand, solar shingles can be used on a wide variety of roofs and do not weigh as much.
Solar Shingles vs Traditional Solar Panels: Which is Right For Your Home?
Now that you have seen some of the advantages and considerations for both solar shingles and solar panels, the next step is choosing the best option. Solar shingle installers in Logan Township, NJ often encounter homeowners like yourself who are unsure which option to choose. Below are some things to keep in mind and some questions to ask yourself as you decide on solar shingles or solar panels for your home.
One of the biggest concerns clients express when going solar is that the panels are going to affect the curb appeal of their home. Solar panels are indeed bulky and tend to detract from the look of your home. Despite being popular and capable of raising property value, there is no denying that solar panels are not visually pleasing. So you must ask yourself this question: How important is visual appeal? Would you rather have solar shingles that blend into the roof and look more seamless?
If visual appeal is important, then solar shingles may be the more satisfying choice. For instance, GAF Timberline Solar shingles come in different colors and look more like asphalt shingles than solar panels. They function like regular asphalt shingles, too.
What are your energy needs and goals? This is another thing to keep in mind. For homes that do not need a lot of energy or who simply wish to offset their general electricity use, solar shingles may be a better option. While solar shingles are less efficient than solar panels at generating energy, the current layout and number of shingles will produce more than enough electricity for the average American home. On the other hand, solar panels are useful for those occasions when you want enough energy for your home and for generating credit through net metering.
Other things to consider are the amount of space you have for solar installations. Homes with steep roofs or various architectural features may not have the space required for solar panels. Solar shingles, however, can be placed throughout the roof, providing more flexibility.
Is the roof on your home in good enough condition that it can handle more weight? Does it require any repairs or replacements in the near future? Solar panels are heavy, sometimes adding an extra 40 pounds per panel to your roof. Solar shingles are lighter, meaning that they can go on a variety of roofs.
Here is the thing: While solar shingles are lighter, they often require the installation of a brand new roof. If you just had a roof replacement, it is not recommended to have solar shingles installed right now. Get your money’s worth out of the new shingles first.
Solar panels do not require a roof replacement, merely repairs. Since mounts and brackets are added to the roof, it is recommended that certain issues are resolved first. Furthermore, you will need your roof inspected to ensure it can tolerate the additional load. If it can’t, you may need to have your roof restructured.
Cost and Budget
Another question to ask yourself: What is the budget for this project? Can you safely manage the upfront costs of going solar? Additionally, how do the upfront costs between solar shingles and solar panels compare both now and in the future?
On average, it costs about $2.50 to $4.50 per watt in New Jersey (excluding rebates and incentives) to install solar panels. To provide a rough estimate, a typical residential solar system in New Jersey may have a size of 5 to 10 kilowatts (kW), depending on energy needs. So, using the average cost, a 5 kW system would be between $12,500 to $22,500, whereas a 10 kW system is between $25,000 and $45,000.
Solar shingles average between $3.00 and $9.00 per watt, depending on the manufacturer. Generally, this is before tax credits are involved, which sometimes lower the cost of solar shingles (or panels) down to $1.80 per watt. That aside, let’s look at GAF solar shingles, which go for around $3.80 per watt. If you need a 10 kW system, that means your solar shingles will cost around $38,000.
However, there is more to the cost of going solar than the materials. You must also factor in the size of the roof and the complexity of the project. The more there is to do, the longer the roofing contractors will have to spend on the job, significantly increasing how much you pay for labor. On average, you can expect to pay around $0.50 per watt for solar panels; this may be significantly less for solar shingles.
Ultimately, the price of the project is going to depend on the availability of the materials, labor rates, and what you choose. Be sure to get quotes from reliable solar installers in Logan Township, NJ before making your final decision.
Warranty and Support
Though less important, you also want to think about the materials and who manufacturers them. Some brands are more reliable than others. Consider this: What are the warranties offered by the manufacturers of solar shingles and panels and how do they compare? Can you get more coverage choosing one brand over another? And if you do have a problem, which manufacturer do you trust most to handle the problem in a respectable and efficient manner?
For example, if you go with GAF solar shingles, you get a full 25-year warranty for both the craftsmanship of the shingles and their efficiency. Furthermore, by partnering with a GAF-certified local roofing company like RGB Construction, you get access to additional addendums that protect your investment even further.
Lastly, consider how long you plan on remaining in your current Logan Township home. Perhaps in the future, you plan on moving or want to make some significant changes to the property. Adding onto your home, for example, may mean that you need to alter the shape of the roof. In this event, any solar system will be impacted. However, solar panels may be easier to revise and relocate, given their set up. Solar shingles, on the other hand, are integrated into the roof.
For those who plan on moving, choosing the more budget-friendly option will serve you well. Both solar panels and solar shingles are going to boost property value, so you will make some of your investment back regardless.
Looking For Solar Installers in Logan Township, NJ?
Ultimately, choosing between solar shingles and traditional solar panels for your Logan Township, NJ home comes down to a couple of important factors. How these options affect the aesthetics of your home, alongside the costs and efficiency, should be carefully considered. Homeowners should assess their energy needs, budget, roof suitability, and long-term plans to make an informed decision. Don’t forget to consult with a reputable and local roofing company in Logan Township, NJ like RGB Construction.
RGB Construction is one of the few GAF-certified solar installers in NJ with GAF Timberline Solar shingles in stock. Our dedicated team can help you weigh the pros and cons of various shingle types and also assist with the installation and maintenance of your new roof. If you want to go solar, give us a call today at 856-264-9093 to schedule your consultation or receive a quote.