With limited resources and continually increasing energy demands, the need for more environmentally-friendly power sources is higher than ever. Because of this need, experts are working around the clock to develop new innovations that satisfy these needs without compromising the earth’s precious resources. Although this rapidly-evolving body of devices has impacted the world in a positive way, it can be difficult to keep up with. To illustrate the major differences between two common and constantly-evolving systems, the following will compare solar panels and solar shingles.
Solar shingles have historically been considered less efficient than their paneled peers, but advances in technology have made the competition between the two a bit tougher. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Lab introduced a “copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cell” that reached a record 19.9 percent conversion efficiency. Traditional solar cells have pretty steadily maintained a conversion efficiency rate of about 20 percent, which more efficient models of solar tiles can easily reach and even exceed.
One of the primary motivations for most people to go green is to save money, so cost is an important factor in evaluating the latest green devices. With that being said, it should be noted that neither option is very cheap starting out, but the investment is well worth it in the long run. According to research collected by National Geographic, new solar shingles cost 10 to 15 percent less per watt compared to traditional flat panels. Shingles can also be installed in one-third of the time it takes to install panels, which reduces labor costs.
It’s also worth noting that homeowners qualify for the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for installing energy-saving systems, and also reap the benefits of a higher home value. Not to mention lower monthly energy bills.
Solar panel racks tend to be bulky, while solar shingles feature a sleek look that blends in with your surrounding shingles. Despite a conveniently lightweight design, solar shingles can withstand a heavy snow, wind, hail and other tumultuous weather conditions. They are Class A fire-rated and come with extended power generation warranties. Unlike solar panels, solar shingles are tied into the grid of existing power line, which provides dependable power on cloudy days and overnight.
There’s a broad misconception that going green means sacrificing comfort. In reality, making these changes improves efficiency, convenience and comfort for all homeowners who make this commitment. To give back to the world and start living a smarter, more responsible lifestyle, try going solar today.