History of Solar Shingles

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Posted on Jan 18, 2018

By Kyle Pennell

Solar shingles are quickly gaining popularity, especially among homeowners looking for more aesthetic appeal. As the world accepts and implements more solar technology, it’s being seen as a design choice as well as an environmental movement.


People simply want solar shingles to look good, and at a decreased cost to panels. They’re only expected to decrease in price as time goes on. As with Tesla’s solar roof tiles, depending on your state/federal tax credit for the initial cost, you could see over a 200% return in 30 years.


Currently, they’re all about function meeting appeal, while giving homeowners a bit more creative control. It eliminates the need to “slap on ugly solar panels,” while still bringing in immense benefits and reducing your carbon footprint. Solar shingles are being used to make garages, dog houses, play houses, homes and carports into solar generators, so to speak.


With a growing desire for solar energy to be more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to homeowners and business owners, solar shingles were born (or at least brought into the light). Between their effectiveness, durability, the ease of installation, and the fact that they could cost you less than traditional roof tiles (depending on which vendor you go with).


What is a Solar Shingle?


Think about the shingles on your rooftop, now think about them being miniature solar panel-looking squares. They provide both benefits: sheltering you from the rain and other weather conditions with sturdy, brash strength, and harnessing solar power.


With solar shingles, you don’t have to cover your entire roof to reap the rewards. On average, one batch of 350 solar shingles could cut a home’s electricity use by 50% or more. Advancements, most notably by Tesla, are making solar shingles less expensive than standard roofing (on average), allowing this inspired tech to evolve.


The Beginning of Solar Shingles


First commercially available in 2005, solar shingles were a venture by Dow. They ended up dumping the project: solar shingles were a new concept, and hadn’t been fully effective the way they were intending.


Solar shingles and panels share the same developmental history. Initial ventures for solar technology took place in 1908, creating the idea for photovoltaic cells, which are the building blocks for all solar tech.


Where Are They Now?


Right now, Tesla’s ventures are trying to restore faith in Dow’s initial run. Tesla leads the forefront of solar shingles with longer warranties on shingles over panels (typically an additional 5-10 years of a guarantee on power production), and the tiles themselves come with a warranty that lasts as long as the house does. They’re currently out of most homeowner’s budgets, but that price is predicted to lower.


They’re being looked at by homeowners and business owners who want solar energy, but don’t want the “ugly” panels that come with it. Currently, solar shingle roofs are being seen as a viable investment with the potential for five-figure returns over a thirty-year period.


Where Are They Headed?


There’s no indication that solar shingles are going away. With Tesla’s venture into solar shingles, the revisited idea became viable again. We’ll most likely see trends similar to the rise of solar panels, which are continuing to drop in price.


Solar shingles could even replace panels in residential areas based on their aesthetic appeal and cost. They’re already emerging with different designs that just look like glossy rooftops, available in different shingle shapes, and they’re easier to install. They could very well replace panels in the distant future (learn more about the Best Solar Panels at PowerScout).


Are You Part of the Solar Shingle Future?

If you’re replacing your roof or building an entirely new home, looking to solar shingles could be a wise investment. Major companies like Tesla are only available in California, while SunTegra is available in different regions of the United States, Mexico and Canada. Are solar shingles right for your life?