Solar panels have existed for decades, while solar roofs are their most viable competition. However, since solar roofs are so new to the mass market, few people understand how they can change the solar market in places like Orlando, where solar panels are a popular home renovation.

What is a Solar Roof?

A solar roof uses tiles or shingles that act as solar panels. These tiles can take the shape the consumer desires and blend in with most architectural plans, which makes them aesthetically pleasing. While the solar shingle was patented in the 1970s, it first became widely commercially available in 2005.

The Weight Difference

Solar roof manufacturers advertise the products as putting less weight on the roof than traditional solar panels, which could be a boon to older construction in areas like Orlando. This difference is because solar panels sit on top of the roof, while the solar roof is the roof. However, the exact weight per square foot will depend on the roof pitch and installation plan in either case.

The Efficiency of Solar Roofs and Solar Panels in Orlando

Both solar roofs and solar panels are dependent on the environmental conditions and installation for their efficiency. For example, in Orlando, solar panels can hit 18% to 22% efficiency regularly. Meanwhile, a solar roof might only hit 14% to 18% efficiency, but a bigger surface area is available to generate power.

Ease of Repair

Repairing solar panels and solar roofs is a significant difference between the two options. In Orlando and other areas, it’s much easier to remove solar panels for repair as most use a bracket system. Meanwhile, solar tiles will be an integral part of the roof hooked into the electrical system of the home or business. Those repairs will require specialized expertise.

The Incentive Availability

Another consideration is tax and local incentives available for adding solar power, which can reduce installation costs. However, as solar roofs are relatively new, they are often not included in these incentive programs. Meanwhile, solar panels are the main components of these programs and are therefore easy to file for.

The Cost of Solar Roofs vs. Solar Panels in Orlando

Solar roofs are new to the market, and the cost to install one reflects that. Installing a Tesla solar roof, for example, depends on the complexity of the roofline. The middle package costs $16 per square foot plus $2 for every watt installed. For example, a 1,700 square foot roof with 10.23 kW of power comes to roughly $39,000 after solar incentives.

Meanwhile, solar panels dominated the alternative energy market for decades, and their cost has come down 99% since they hit the commercial market. The average solar panel installation costs about $19,000 for a 10.23 kW system after tax incentives.

Warranties and Longevity

Both solar roofs and solar panels come with warranties ranging from 10 to 30 years, depending on the manufacturer. While solar panels have often outlasted their warranties, especially in Orlando, there is little data on the longevity of solar tile operation due to its relative newness. There is no large pool of data to support the companies’ claims.