Solar roof shingles a hard sell
July 24, 2023
Solar roof shingles, a new product that mimics asphalt roof shingles while providing solar power to a house, continue to be a hard sell in sun-challenged Canada.
Just like solar panels, the power generated by solar shingles cuts your monthly energy bills. The cumulative effect is that at one point, the shingles have paid for themselves. And even after that, they keep saving money on power bills.
The initial price is and likely will remain the biggest barrier to wide demand for solar shingles, however, according to a frank report from Green Integrations, an energy system supplier based in North York. Ontario.
Multiple manufacturers in Canada have started to offer solar shingles, also known as solar roof tiles. The average price of solar roof tiles ranges from $30,000 to $50,000. The popular Tesla shingles, however, could cost anywhere between $50,000 and $70,000, along with a lengthy installation period.
On the other hand, a typical solar power system of equivalent size costs about $15,000 to $30,000. In many cases, this could be half the price of a solar roof for a similar power rating.
Solar shingles make financial sense in only one, or perhaps two different scenarios.
Firstly, note that solar shingles are two different commodities combined into one. If you need only one of these at a point, then you probably shouldn’t spend money on both. In simple words, if you have a good roof with plenty of life remaining, installing solar shingles would not classify as a smart financial decision.
But if the roof is old and the owner also want to go solar, then solar shingles make an excellent case. The reason is that the cost of solar shingles is lower than the combined cost of a new roof and solar panels.
The biggest advantage of solar shingles brings with it a drawback that cannot be ignored in Canada. Since they perform as your roof, you cannot always have solar shingles in the optimum position for maximum power generation.
In the Northern hemisphere, maximum solar power generation occurs when the solar cells are facing south. Unfortunately, all houses don’t necessarily have a south-facing, large sloping roof.
Additionally, the structure of the shingles also means they have a lower space-to-power ratio. This means lower efficiency in general even when they are directly facing the sun. In other words, solar panels can produce more power in a smaller area than shingles.