Solar shingles, also called photovoltaic shingles, are solar
panels designed to look like and function as conventional roofing materials,
such as asphalt shingle or slate, while also producing electricity. Solar
shingles are a type of solar energy solution known as building-integrated
There are several varieties of solar
shingles, including shingle-sized solid panels that take the place of a number
of conventional shingles in a strip, semi-rigid designs containing several
Silicon solar cells that are sized more like conventional shingles, and newer
systems using various thin-film solar cell technologies that match conventional
shingles both in size and flexibility. There are also products using a more the traditional number of silicon solar cells per panel reaching as much as 100 watts
DC rating per shingle.
Solar shingles are manufactured by several
companies but the three main manufacturers of solar roof shingles are RGS Energy, SolarCity,
and CertainTeed. Other active companies in the US include SunTegra Solar Roof
Systems, and Atlantis Energy Systems (asphalt and slate systems).
What makes the Solar Roof unique? In
a conventional setup, solar panels are housed in a dedicated module, which is
then attached to a roof or installed elsewhere on your property. In contrast,
UrbanDesizn Solar Roof is a rooftop with solar panels embedded directly into
The solar array isn’t a separate
unit installed on top of your roof – rather, it is your roof.
Each shingle is a discrete solar
panel. A percentage of the panels are solar-enabled, while the rest are “decoy
panels.” The non-enabled panels look exactly the same, to maintain a uniform
aesthetic. Customers can determine what percentage of panels they need to
enable to meet their energy needs.
- WOW FACTOR.
It’s gorgeous – no blocky solar panels jutting out from your roof.
Solar Roof panels received the highest possible hail, wind, and fire
The 30-year warranty goes beyond the industry standard. There’s also a
lifetime tile warranty to cover physical damage.
- TALK OF THE TOWN.
Who doesn’t love to be the first to get their hands on new tech?
- EXPENSIVE. The
Solar Roof costs about 4 times as much as a DIY solar installation, even if you hire a contractor to help. Though the former gives you a new roof,
you still pay a steep premium for the Tesla brand.
- THE WAITING GAME. The
first residential customers spent over a year on the waitlist before their
Solar Roof was installed.
- UNRELIABLE. More discrete parts mean more chances for hardware to fail. Past iterations of the solar shingle design were notoriously high-maintenance.
- POOR ROI. You
pay a premium for Tesla-branded roofing products, which eat into your investment.
- The Solar Roof is covered under a 30-year
warranty for power and weatherization. The power warranty covers the output
capability of the solar arrays. The weather warranty protects against failure
as a result of water damage or other weather effects.
- 30 years eclipses the standard coverage for most
solar arrays on the market, which typically offer a 25-year warranty. The extra
5 years may be a selling point to counteract the hesitation early adopters have
when they invest into an unknown product. With no established track record,
there’s no guarantee the product life won’t be shortened by a major design flaw
down the road. The 30-year warranty may help alleviate those fears.
- Tesla also offers a lifetime tile warranty,
which covers physical damage to the glass in the tiles. If one of the glass
panels ever breaks, even after the 30-year period, it will be covered under the
- However, this doesn’t quite tell the whole
story. Most traditional solar panels come with a 25-year power warranty and a
10-year workmanship warranty. If your array breaks down due to product defects,
you’re covered for 10 years.