Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels: Which One is Right for Your Home?

Solar panels on roof

If you are looking for a way to reduce your electricity bills and carbon footprint, you might have considered installing solar energy systems on your roof. 

Solar energy is a clean, renewable, and abundant source of power that can help you save money and protect the environment. 

However, there are different types of solar energy systems available in the market, and choosing the right one for your home can be confusing. 

In this blog, we will compare solar shingles vs solar panels, the two of the most popular options. 

We will explain what they are, how they work, what are their pros and cons, and how much they cost. We will also provide some tips on how to choose the best option for your home.

What ae Solar Panels?

Solar panels are large solar modules that are mounted on top of your roof with a frame system. They consist of several solar cells that are connected by busbars or ribbons to form an electrical circuit. 

These panels are made of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon, which are crystalline PV materials that can also convert sunlight into DC electricity.

Solar panels also come in different sizes and shapes, depending on the brand and model. The average size of a solar panel is about 65 inches by 39 inches, and the average output is about 170 to 350 watts per panel. 

The average efficiency of solar panels is about 19% to 23%. In simple terms, they can convert 19% to 23% of the sunlight that hits them into electricity.

Solar Shingles

What are Solar Shingles?

Solar shingles are small solar panels that are designed to look like and function as conventional roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles or slate. 

They are integrated into the roof itself to generate electricity while protecting the building from the weather and other elements.

Solar shingles are made of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) or monocrystalline silicon, which are thin-film photovoltaic (PV) materials that can convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. 

The DC electricity is then converted into alternating current (AC) electricity by an inverter, which can be used to power your home appliances or sent back to the grid.

Just like solar panels, solar shingles also come in different sizes and shapes, depending on the brand and model. 

The average size of a solar shingle is about 12 inches by 86 inches, and the average output is about 13 to 63 watts per shingle. 

Solar shingles offer efficiency of about 10% to 20%, which means that they can convert 10% to 20% of the sunlight that hits them into electricity.

Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels

Now that you know what solar shingles and solar panels are, let’s get into what you came here for, which is solar shingles vs solar panels.

Let’s see how they compare in terms of their features and benefits. 

Feature Solar Shingles Solar Panels
Size (Average) 12 inches by 86 inches 65 inches by 39 inches
Material Copper indium gallium selenide or monocrystalline silicon Monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon
Output 13 to 63 watts per shingle 170 to 350 watts per panel
Efficiency 10% to 20% 19% to 23%
Cost $35,000 to $75,000 for a full-home installation $28,600 for a 10 kW system
Availability Limited by brand and location Widely available
Installation Integrated into the roof Mounted on top of the roof
Aesthetics Sleek and low-profile Bulky and noticeable
Flexibility Less flexible and adaptable More flexible and adaptable
Durability Less durable and more prone to damage More durable and resilient



Solar shingles are characterized by their compact size, making them a discreet and snug fit for your roof. 

In contrast, solar panels are notably larger, covering a greater surface area and consequently producing more electricity on your rooftop.

To provide some perspective, the typical dimensions of a solar shingle measure approximately 12 inches by 86 inches, while a standard solar panel comes in at around 65 inches by 39 inches.


Solar shingles feature materials like copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) or monocrystalline silicon, both of which are thin-film PV materials adept at converting sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.

Solar panels, on the other hand, utilize monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon, which are crystalline PV materials with the same capability to transform sunlight into DC electricity.

Interestingly, thin-film PV materials, being more cost-effective and straightforward to manufacture, come with the trade-off of lower efficiency and durability compared to their crystalline PV counterparts.


Solar shingles exhibit a reduced output compared to solar panels, resulting in a lower electricity generation per square foot of roof space.

In contrast, solar panels boast a higher output than solar shingles, allowing them to produce more electricity per square foot of roof space.

On average, a solar shingle typically delivers an output ranging from 13 to 63 watts per shingle, while a solar panel generates an average output of approximately 170 to 350 watts per panel.


Solar shingles display a lower efficiency level compared to solar panels, translating to a reduced capacity for harnessing available sunlight to generate electricity.

Conversely, solar panels are characterized by their higher efficiency, allowing them to make better use of the available sunlight to produce electricity.

On average, solar shingles typically exhibit an efficiency range of approximately 10% to 20%, whereas solar panels have an average efficiency ranging from about 19% to 23%.


Solar shingles come with a higher price tag for both procurement and installation, making them a more expensive choice. In contrast, solar panels are a more cost-effective option, offering a lower initial cost for purchase and installation.

The typical cost for installing solar shingles on a roof falls within the range of $35,000 to $75,000, with a national average cost of approximately $55,000.

On the other hand, traditional solar panels have an average cost of around $28,600 for a 10 kW system, making them a more budget-friendly alternative.


In addition to higher costs, solar shingles are also harder to find and buy. In comparison, solar panels have a higher availability than solar shingles and are easier to find and buy. 

Solar shingles are limited by brand and location, as only a few companies offer them, and only in certain states or countries. 

On the other hand, solar panels are widely available, as many companies offer them, and in almost every state or country.


Solar shingles are seamlessly integrated into the roof, effectively replacing your existing roofing tiles or shingles. Solar panels, on the other hand, are mounted on top of your roof using a frame system.

When it comes to installation, solar shingles are more straightforward and less time-consuming, requiring significantly less effort in comparison to solar panels, which demand a labor-intensive and time-consuming process.


Aesthetically, solar shingles take the lead, blending more seamlessly with your roof’s appearance. They have a sleek, low-profile design that mimics your roofing material’s shape and color. 

In contrast, solar panels are bulkier and more conspicuous, creating a contrast with your roofing material and standing out noticeably.


Solar shingles are less able to adjust and change according to your needs and preferences when compared with solar panels. 

Solar shingles are less flexible and adaptable, as they are fixed to your roof and cannot be moved or repositioned. 

But that isn’t the case with solar panels, as they can be tilted, rotated, or relocated to optimize their performance.


Solar shingles are more susceptible to damage and wear and tear than solar panels. 

Solar panels benefit from a protective glass layer that enhances their resistance to damage and wear and tear, making them more resilient in harsh weather conditions.

It is sufficient to say that solar shingles and solar panels have their own advantages and disadvantages. 

Solar shingles are smaller, easier to install, and more aesthetically pleasing than solar panels, but they are also less efficient, more expensive, and less available than solar panels. 

Solar Shingles Vs Solar Panels: Which One Is The Right Choice?

Ultimately, the choice is yours.

But, to make the choice much easier, there are several factors that you should consider.

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to help you decide which option is best for you:

How much roof space do you have? 

If you have a large roof with enough space for solar panels, you might want to go for them, as they can produce more electricity and save you more money in the long run. 

But in case you have a small roof or a roof with obstructions or shading, you might want to go for solar shingles, as they can fit better and cover more area than solar panels.

How steep is your roof? 

Solar shingles are a great choice for flat or low-slope roofs since they adhere well and seamlessly blend with the roof’s aesthetics. 

On the other hand, for high-slope roofs, solar panels are the preferred option as they can effectively harness more sunlight and deliver optimal performance at the steeper angles.

How much electricity do you need? 

Solar panels are the superior choice when faced with high electricity consumption or the goal of achieving net-zero energy. 

This is primarily due to their capacity to produce a higher amount of electricity, effectively meeting your energy demands.

Conversely, if your electricity consumption is low or you merely want to complement your current power source, solar shingles can be a fitting option. 

They can supply the additional electricity required to reduce your energy costs.

How much money are you willing to spend? 

Solar panel shingles cost is high, no matter which one use choose. 

But solar panels are generally cheaper than solar shingles, both in terms of the product and the installation. 

The reason for the cost difference is simple.

Solar shingles are more complex and labor-intensive to install, and they have less competition in the market. So, all these factors drive the cost up.

The reason solar panels are comparatively cheap is because they have been around for longer and have more options to choose from.

How sunny is your location? 

This is one of the most important questions of all.

If you live in a sunny area with high solar potential, solar panels can maximize your energy production and savings. 

But if you live in a cloudy area with low solar potential, solar shingles can perform better in low-light conditions and increase your energy efficiency.

How strict are your local codes and regulations? 

In regions where solar installation regulations are flexible and accommodating, opting for solar panels makes sense, given their capacity for greater customization and flexibility.

However, in areas governed by stringent codes and regulations, such as historic districts or homeowners associations (HOAs), solar shingles become the preferable choice. 

They have a higher degree of compliance, helping to avert potential conflicts or issues that could arise.

How much do you care about the appearance of your roof? 

How it looks matters to a lot of us.

But if you are not one of them and just want them for their environmental statement, go for solar panels, as they can offer more variety and visibility. 

But if you do care about the look of your roof and want it to match your home style and design, go for solar shingles, as they can offer more elegance and stealth.

What Is A Shingled Solar Panel?

A shingled solar panel is a type of solar panel that uses a special technique to arrange the solar cells in an overlapping pattern, like shingles on a roof. 

It essentially combines the pros of solar shingles vs panels, allows the panel to have more cells per unit area, and eliminates the gaps and busbars (ribbons) that are usually present in conventional solar panels. 

Solar panel shingle can produce more power, improve reliability, and have a better aesthetic appearance than conventional solar panels.

Shingles Solar panels

Advantages of Solar Panel Shingle

  1. They have higher power output and efficiency because they use more of the panel area to capture sunlight and reduce resistance losses
  2. Solar panel shingle has better reliability and durability because they use an electrically conductive adhesive (ECA) instead of soldering to connect the cells, which reduces the risk of cracking and corrosion
  3. They have better aesthetics because they have a uniform and seamless appearance, without visible gaps or busbars

Main Disadvantages Of Shingled Solar Panels

  1. Solar panel shingles cost is high, and they are very complex to manufacture because they require cutting the cells into strips and applying the ECA.
  2. Shingled solar panels have lower performance in high temperatures because they have less space for heat dissipation.
  3. They have limited dimensions and flexibility because they have to fit the shape of the shingle cells


Solar shingles and solar panels are both great options for homeowners (like you) who want to switch to renewable energy and save money on their electricity bills.

However, both these options have some differences that you should consider before making a decision.

Solar panels are better than solar shingles in terms of cost, efficiency, and availability, while solar shingles are better than solar panels in terms of aesthetics and durability. 

Both come with their pros and cons, and the best choice for you depends on your personal preferences and circumstances.

In any case, that doesn’t make the process any less complicated, but we can.

Since 1993, we at Eco-$smart have been delivering cost-effective, efficient, and eco-friendly construction and remodeling solutions that prioritize health and disaster resistance, all while maintaining a swift turnaround time.

And we have got the whole house package, everything you need to keep your home safe, healthy, and prospering.

To know more about us, you can explore our products, or even better, contact us and get in touch with our exceptional team, and then it’s just smooth sailing from there.


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