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. Solar shingles may one day outpace solar panels in efficiency, but we’re not quite there yet.
??Advantage: Solar Panels
A key reason most people consider solar power is to save money, so cost matters. The investment in solar energy is well worth it in the long run. Historically, solar tiles or solar shingles cost as much as or more than solar panels. However, thin film technology has advanced and solar shingles are becoming more competitive. According to research collected by National Geographic, some solar shingles installations can cost 10 to 15 percent less per watt compared to traditional flat panels.
While solar shingles feature a sleek look that blends in with your surrounding shingles, installing them usually means modifying the structure of your roof. This makes them a suitable choice when you’re already planning to retile your roof, but they may not be suitable for homeowners with relatively new roofs. Just like solar panels, solar shingles can withstand a heavy snow, wind, hail and other tumultuous weather conditions. American-made solar panels are no slouch, though; check out this video to see how durable solar panels are.
Solar shingles are perfect for homeowners whose roofs with a Southern exposure, and who were planning to replace their roofs anyway. But what about homes that don’t face South? Or where shade trees block sunlight from hitting the roof? Or for homes where rooftop real estate is already limited? For these homeowners, rooftop solar — including solar shingles — may not be a viable option. However, with a ground-mounted solar panel array, these homeowners can still go solar. The versatility of solar panels is an advantage solar shingles can’t offer.
??Advantage: Solar Panels
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