Solar Roof Shingles 2023 Cost and Buying Guide

Solar Roof Shingles 2023 Cost and Buying Guide

Average Solar Roof Shingles Cost: $25,000 – $60,000

  • Solar shingles are more durable than solar panels
  • Solar shingles are one of the most energy-efficient roofing materials
  • On average, solar shingles run between $15 to $35 per square foot
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Solar Shingles Cost is High Up Front But ROI is Higher

The average cost of solar roof shingles ranges between $25,000 to $60,000, or between $15 to $35 per square foot, for the average U.S. roof size of 1,700 square feet. The total cost will depend on the solar roof tile brand and the roofing contractor you choose for installation.

Compared to traditional solar panels, solar shingles are much more aesthetically pleasing. They look like mini solar panels shaped in the form of traditional roof shingles, allowing homeowners to bypass the bulky appearance of standard photovoltaic (PV) panels.

If you are interested in adding solar panels to your new roof, solar shingles are a much more cost-effective option. With solar shingles, you’ll knock out the cost of a roof replacement and the cost of a renewable energy system with one combined price tag.

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Cost of Installing a Solar Shingle Roof 

The overall cost for a solar shingle installation ranges between $25,000 to $60,000 for the average U.S. home, which comes out to around $15 to $35 per square foot.

But unlike regular shingles, shingles with solar cells — a type of building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology — are priced per watt, not per square foot. The cost of a solar shingle ranges between $3.50 and $8.00 per watt depending on the brand.

Most solar companies don’t advertise pricing online, but market research shows the total cost of a solar shingle installation is typically 15%-25% higher compared to a traditional solar panel system installation. The national average solar panel installation costs roughly $24,000, which puts the national average solar shingle installation at around $30,000.

Of course, there are some outliers. For example, a Tesla Solar Roof may cost as much as $70,000 or more for full roof installation, while the budget-friendly SunTegra solar shingles may run closer to $20,000 for the entire roof.

While solar roof shingles cost substantially more than asphalt shingles, you’ll be producing your own electricity, therefore lowering your electric bills (or in some cases completely offsetting) by producing your own clean energy.

“A solar roof is a great and obvious way to reduce energy use and has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly,” said David Snyder, CEO of Nova Home Buyers, LLC.

If you go solar, you’ll also be eligible for solar financial incentives and rebates, like the 30% federal tax credit and net metering credits.

How to Calculate the Cost of Your New Solar Roof Shingles

As discussed, BIPV solar shingles are priced per watt. So to calculate the cost of your solar shingle roof, you’ll need to know how much solar power you need to power your house.

The only way to know the exact cost of your solar roof is to get a professional estimate, but you can calculate it yourself by walking through the follow the following steps:

  1. Find out how much energy your home consumes (typically found on your energy bills)
  2. Assess your roof space and the amount of sunlight your home receives
  3. Figure out the average system size in your area to estimate necessary system size (you can also use our solar calculator to find an estimate)
  4. Check the wattage of the shingles you intend to purchase
  5. Divide the required wattage of your system by the solar panel wattage

The average U.S. home needs a solar system that produces 9,000 watts (or 9 kilowatts) to completely offset their utility bills. With the cost of solar shingles ranging between $3.50 and $8.00 per watt, a 9,000-watt solar shingle installation would range from $31,500 to $72,000.

But don’t let those numbers scare you. Remember, your solar shingles don’t need to power your entire home.

Having a roof that produces any amount of clean energy can still significantly reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint, making it much more impressive than a regular roof made of asphalt.

Factors That Go Into Solar Roof Shingle Pricing

Solar panel shingles are primarily priced based on watt, so that will have the biggest impact on the total installation cost of your solar roof. However, there are a few other considerations to discuss.

Type of Solar Shingle

Solar shingles are often made from the same semiconductor material as most thin-film solar panels, which is copper indium gallium selenide. This material typically has 12-14% efficiency.

Most standard residential solar panels are instead made of monocrystalline silicon, which has efficiency closer to 20%. While there are some monocrystalline solar shingles, expect to shell out a lot more money for them.

Some brands also offer different variations of solar shingles that may be priced differently, including solar tiles and solar glass roofs.

SunTegra solar shingles and solar tile

Solar Shingle Manufacturer or Brand

Certain solar brands will cost more than others. For example, a Tesla Solar Roof may cost you $70,000, but you’ll be paying for the sleekest, highest-efficiency solar tiles in the market. If you’re more concerned about budget, you may want to opt for a brand like SunTegra.

Tesla Solar Roof Tiles

Not all solar companies offer BIPV, but here are a few that do:

  • CertainTeed Solar (Apollo shingles)
  • GAF Energy (Timberline Solar)
  • Luma Solar
  • SunTegra
  • Tesla Solar

Basic Labor Cost and Time to Complete Solar Shingles Roof Installation

Each solar installer will have varying labor costs, typically priced per hour. That also means the longer it takes the roofers to complete your solar roof installation, the more you’ll be paying for labor.

Labor costs often vary by location, even for the same national installer. 

Pro tip: Solar shingles are a new technology that not all roofing contractors have ample experience installing. Inexperienced contractors will take far more time to complete a solar shingles installation, therefore driving up labor costs. Try to find a contractor that has experience installing solar shingles if you want to keep labor costs low.

While solar roofs are still relatively new, roofing professionals have told EcoWatch that they’re catching on to the benefits.

“I am very excited about the possibility of solar roofs,” said Marty Ford, Shingle Master and President of Bullet Proof Roof Systems. “[Solar roofs] can help to lower your energy bills and even make your home self-sufficient. I think this is a technology that has a lot of potentials, and I anticipate entering the field in the near future.”

Removing Your Current Roof and Dump Fees

Unless you’re building a new home, your solar roof installer will need to remove your existing roof, which will add to your installation cost. There’s no standard removal cost, as it will vary depending on the company, the type of roofing material and the difficulty of the removal.

Most roofers will have additional fees for roof disposal.  

Size and Complexity of Your Roof 

Obviously bigger roofs will require more material and longer labor times, therefore costing more than smaller roofs.

Roofers won’t just take size, but also the complexity of your roof into consideration when factoring costs. If your roof is exceptionally steep, tiered or if it has a lot of obstructions (chimneys, skylights, ventilation systems etc), expect additional installation fees.

Pros and Cons of Installing Solar Roof Shingles

Here’s a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of installing solar roof shingles:

Pros of Installing Solar Shingles Cons of Installing Solar Shingles
  • Get the benefit of solar panels and a roof with one quick installation
  • More cost effective than a standard roof replacement
  • More attractive than standard solar panels
  • Weather-resistant and durable
  • Have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years
  • Come with solid 25-year warranties
  • Can be paired with solar batteries, (like the Tesla Powerwall) for backup energy storage during storms or blackouts
  • One of the most expensive roofing materials
  • Typically less efficient compared to standard solar panels
  • Not compatible with every roof
  • Not many solar companies offer solar shingles
  • Lifespan is shorter compared to some roofing materials like metal, clay or slate
  • You cannot DIY install solar roof shingles
  • Can’t reach out to local roofing companies for solar roof repairs or maintenance

Lifetime and Durability of Solar Roof Shingles

Solar shingles are still a relatively new technology, but almost all solar shingle roof installers offer at least a 25-year warranty, so it’s safe to assume solar roof shingles will last at least 25 years. 

For example, Tesla Solar offers a 25-year warranty for its solar roof that protects against design defects and weather damage, as well as a module warranty that guarantees power output of at least 95% for the first five years and a decline by no more than .05% for the following 20 years.1

Despite the 25-year warranty, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has boasted that the solar roof will last 30 years.2

CertainTeed Solar Shingles

CertainTeed offers a 25-year warranty that covers installation workmanship and product, but only a 12-year warranty for the inverters and 10-year coverage for weather damage.

Are Solar Shingles Environmentally Friendly?

Installing solar shingles will not only reduce your electric bills but also your carbon footprint. Helping the environment is one of the top reported reasons why homeowners get solar panels.

The average U.S. household produces a whopping 7.5 tons of CO2 equivalents per year.3 So switching to a clean energy alternative, like solar roof shingles, can significantly reduce your household’s reliance on electricity from natural gas, coal or a nuclear power plant.

Unfortunately, not all homes can accommodate solar shingles. If you’re looking for another eco-friendly roofing material, consider switching to a metal roof. When comparing metal and asphalt shingles, metal is much more energy-efficient and can save you up to 30% on cooling costs.

Financing Your New Solar Roof Shingles 

Solar roof shingles are one of the most expensive roofing materials, but yield the highest return on investment (ROI). Fortunately there are also some solar financial incentives available to homeowners who install solar shingles.

  • Federal tax credit: Installing a solar roof qualifies homeowners for the federal solar tax credit equal to 30% of their total solar roof installation cost.
  • State tax credits: Some states offer tax credits similar to the one from the federal government. Combined, these tax credits can significantly reduce the cost of your solar shingle installation.
  • Solar loans: Most solar shingle roof installers offer in-house solar loans but they’re also available from banks and other third-party lenders.
  • Insurance reductions: Because solar glass is more durable than asphalt shingles, you may be able to secure a homeowner’s insurance reduction from your insurance company.

The ROI of your Solar Roof Shingles 

Multiple statistics prove solar panels increase home value, and most of those studies and surveys were conducted with traditional, bulky solar panels in mind — the ones that are far less attractive compared to solar shingles.

That means you can expect a bigger ROI for installing solar roof shingles over solar panels.

According to Remodeling Costs, BIPV solar shingles produce an ROI between 50% and 80% depending on style and type of installation.4 For a $30,000 solar roof installation, you’d be looking at a home value increase of between $15,000 and $24,000. Or if you opted for a high-end $70,000 Tesla Solar roof, your home increase would be closer to $35,000 to $56,000.

Costs of Maintenance and Repairs for Solar Roof Shingles

Because solar roof shingles involve complex PV equipment, you typically can’t call your neighborhood company for roof repair quotes as you normally would. Although there are exceptions, like if the damaged panels are non-solar or if you need emergency roofing repair after hours.

The good news is that, as discussed, most solar shingle roof installers offer a 25-year warranty that covers repair and maintenance issues, so you shouldn’t have many costs for maintaining and repairing your solar roof.

Be sure to speak with your solar roofing installer about what is and isn’t covered under the warranty before installation.

Costs of Cleaning Your Solar Shingles

There’s very little cost data available for cleaning solar roof shingles, as they’re still a relatively new roofing option. But to get an idea, the average household pays between $300 and $600 for solar panel system cleaning.

It’s typically recommended to clean solar panels once a year, although it could be more or less depending on where you’re located and what type of elements you’re facing. The most common way to clean a solar roof is with water, although new technology is changing the process of solar panel cleaning to become waterless.

Rain and snow also act as natural cleaners for solar panels, as water helps to keep them free of dirt and debris obstructions. However, the smoothness of the glass may also lead to a lot of debris in your gutters, so you may want to couple your solar roof installation with durable gutter guards.

Are Solar Roof Shingles Worth the Cost?

The cost of installing solar panels has dropped significantly, but solar roof shingles and tiles are still relatively new and, therefore, more expensive compared to standard panels.

However, if you’re a good candidate for solar panels and a solar installation company tells you that you’ll need a new roof, it might be worth opting for solar roof shingles instead of paying for a roof replacement and a solar panel installation.

Remember that going solar is an investment that will lead to energy savings over time. Not to mention solar roof shingles look much more attractive compared to solar panels, so they’ll save you on energy costs and increased home value. If you still aren’t sold on shingles but do want to have solar with your new roof, installing both at the same time is the best way to go. 

Switching to solar also makes you eligible for several financial incentives that can help to lower the cost of your solar shingle installation.

FAQs: Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels

If you’re thinking about switching to solar shingles, here are some other questions you may have:

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Article author
Kristina Zagame is a journalist and content writer with expertise in solar and other energy-related topics. Before joining EcoWatch, Kristina was a TV news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics including West Coast wildfires and hurricane relief efforts. Kristina’s reporting has taken her all over the U.S., as well as to Puerto Rico and Chile.
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Expert reviewer
Karsten is an editor and energy specialist focused on environmental, social and cultural development. His work has been shared by sources including NPR, the World Economic Forum, Marketwatch and the SEIA, and he is certified in ESG with the CFA Institute. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the solar energy sector, studying energy policy, climate tech and environmental education. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

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