House and Home Staff

Every homeowner is concerned about energy costs and how they can possibly do more to cut back on them, which might be why some have turned to the innovative technology behind solar powered roofing materials. With the ability to power anything from light bulbs to cars, solar panels have grown in popularity as an answer to conserving energy and lowering electricity bills. And for those homeowners looking to keep up their home’s curb appeal, solar shingles might be the perfect blend of efficiency and style.

Solar shingles, or photovoltaic shingles, were first introduced into the market in the mid 2000s. Like traditional solar panels, solar shingles capture the energy of the sun and convert it into usable energy to power a home. While solar panels are commonly recognized by their large, silver, bulky design, solar shingles can more or less blend into an already existing roof with their thin-film design.

“Many homeowners are increasingly interested in taking control of their energy consumption by generating their own power with solar,” said Yochai Gafni, Commercial and Marketing Director for Dow Solar.

Dow and CertainTeed are currently the leading manufacturers when it comes to the solar shingle industry. With interest in solar technology becoming more popular, new competitors are also working on entering the market along with the expected slew of overseas companies.

As cleantechnica.com’s Glenn Myers points out, “How solar shingles are made is changing, as well, including the use of flexible glass, thin film, and hybrid solar/thermal options.”

Unfortunately, the up-front cost of having solar shingles installed is likely what keeps more homeowners from considering them. Systems for a typical 3,000 square-foot house can cost as much as $25,000 despite the savings in energy bills that follow. It’s important to note, however, that this estimate can vary depending on region, the angle of your home’s roof, a location’s daily exposure to the sun, individual roofing company quotes, and other factors.

Over the past decade, solar technology has vastly expanded in popularity and become more widely available than ever before. Older technology was vastly more expensive based on the simple fact that it was new at the time. As interest in solar shingles grows and more companies break into the manufacturing market, prices will eventually come down to become more affordable.

Even with the high price tag, some homeowners today may still consider the up-front cost to be worth the savings.

“For an additional $27,480 over the cost of a traditional roof, you could receive $58,640 in energy savings over 25 years and potentially increase your home value by $33,000,” Dow’s marketing department penned in a 2015 press release.

This integrated approach to roofing has combined the need to save on powering a home with the desire to maintain good curb appeal. Some states, like California, have even begun partnering with solar power corporations to offer homes with pre-existing solar shingle roofs. With the market constantly expanding and interest continually growing, solar powered roofs may become one future dream that homeowners are able to turn into a reality.