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Solar shingles vs. Solar panels

By James Kennedy, Founder and President Beach Cities Solar Consulting LLC

When you’re considering installing solar panels on your home, the first thing you have to decide is what type of system to get. There are two main types: solar panels and solar shingles (building integrated photovoltaics). Both have their pros and cons, so which is right for you? In this post, we’ll compare solar panels vs. solar shingles and help you decide which is the best option for your home.

Solar Panels vs Solar Shingles: Which is Right for You?


Here are the main differences between solar panels and solar shingles (herereafter referred to as BIPV)

1. Cost

The main difference between solar panels and BIPV is the cost. Solar panels are typically less expensive than BIPV. This is because solar panels are mass-produced, while BIPV is still a relatively new technology. Solar panels also have a longer lifespan than BIPV, so they may be a better investment in the long run.

2. Installation

Another difference between solar panels and BIPV is the installation process. Solar panels must be mounted on you roof, which is a fairly straight forward and easy process. BIPV, on the other hand, haS to be installed like a new roof, and can take up to nine months for an installation!

3. Efficiency

Solar panels are typically more efficient than BIPV. This means that they can produce more electricity per square foot of roof space. BIPV is improving in efficiency, but they still have a long way to go to catch up to solar panels.

4. Aesthetics

One advantage of BIPV over solar panels is aesthetics. BIPV looks like traditional asphalt shingles, so they blend in with your roof and don’t stand out as much as solar panels. This can be an important consideration if you live in a neighborhood with strict HOA rules or you simply don’t want your solar system to be too noticeable.

5. Weight

Solar panels are much heavier than BIPV. This can be a problem if your roof isn’t sturdy enough to support the weight of solar panels. BIPV is much lighter, so its less likely to cause problems with your roof.


Solar panels are more durable than BIPV. They’re designed to withstand high winds and hail, and they’re usually warrantied for 25 years. BIPV, on the other hand, are still a new technology, so the long-term durability is unknown.

7. Maintenance

Solar panels require very little maintenance, while BIPV may need to be replaced more often. This is because solar panels are made of glass and metal, while BIPV is made of plastic. Plastic tends to degrade over time, so solar shingles may not last as long as solar panels.

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