Solar Shingles in Washington and the Northwest

Solar Shingles in Washington?

I know you don’t want to hear this, but solar shingle roofs are still a unique project with a high cost. My apologies. They technically exist, just not deployed for mass adoption yet. Maybe give it another 5 years and we’ll see where they are at.

Let’s dive into your options available today and how they match up to the wondrous future of solar roofs.

A “solar roof” is where the roof itself is a solar panel, the whole roof is not a solar panel, but sections of it are. It’s a great idea, but it’s also still a newer technology to engineering. Now, with solar roofs, solar panels need to also be the roof so we’re mixing structural considerations with electrical and aesthetics, that’s a lot to get mixed up in for product designers, and that’s a lot to wrap up into a warranty. For most homes, solar roofs are going to be so expensive and so difficult to manage over their lifespan, that it’s not a realistic financial option.

Tesla has the coolest looking roof by going with a tile approach, some tiles are solar panels and some are dummies. The cost of their roofs are high, and when you try to order online you have to also purchase PowerWall batteries making the price of the project easily $100,000 or more. For the average homeowner a regular roof with regular solar panels installed on it costs less than half of your Tesla Solar Roof option. 

GAF is an asphalt shingle manufacturer and they have a solar roof called Timberline, but its not very popular and as a solar project it’s inferior to just getting regular solar panels installed. Solar roof shingles are about 27% less efficient so you need 27% more space to produce an equivalent amount of energy compared to regular solar panels. 

You won’t find a lot of solar roofs in your area, and there is good reason for that. Solar integrated materials are still in development, but it is a solid promise of our future. Electric vehicles, windows, cell phones, hats and more will all in the end have solar power integrated into the material, but that future has not quite arrived yet in 2024.

Focusing on solar panels as they exist today, which is a box attached to a rail that is screwed into your roof, is still the best way to go. Another consideration is ground mounted solar, if you have the room for it then it’s a great option. You can go even further and purchase parking lot canopies with solar on the roof. You can get very creative in your solar project by combining existing technologies.

To get installed with the best solar panels, inverters, smart controls and batteries available today contact Universal Electric PNW. We install equipment that is actually available. 🙂 

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