Solar roofing technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many homeowners and business owners choosing to install solar panels or solar tiles to their roof in lieu of more traditional roofing. But, is solar roofing technology really worth it?
To help break it down, here are some of the pros and cons of solar roofing technology.
Read: How California is Changing the Solar Roofing Industry
One of the most praised benefits of solar roofing is that it is environmentally friendly. Solar energy provides an alternative to traditional energy sources that produce harmful emissions such as CO2. Solar panels do not produce any harmful emissions to produce energy, making them a much more green option than other types of energy.
In addition to this, solar energy is abundant and sustainable. The earth has only a certain amount of fossil fuels, but a near unlimited amount of sunlight, making solar the clear winner in terms of sustainable energy.
Another benefit to solar roofing is that it is economical. Not only does it lower the cost of your customer’s electricity bill by providing an alternative to mainstream energy sources, it also gives them control over energy prices. Traditional energy prices can change at any moment and have been creeping higher and higher over the last few years. Solar energy, however, allows customers to produce their own energy.
Another perk of having your own energy source is you can actually sell energy back to the grid and make money off of your solar energy. So, not only are you paying less for energy, you can actually profit from it too! Solar roofing technology also raises the value of a home by $14,329 on average, adding worth in the long run in addition to saving money.
The biggest reason why people hesitate in deciding to install solar energy is the cost. Solar roofs are more expensive up front than traditional roofs, there is no denying it. However, the cost of solar roofing technology is lower than ever. In fact, the cost of solar roofing has decreased by 70% in the last decade. Behind this price drop are new developments that have made solar technology easier to manufacture and install and they show no signs of stopping.
Considering the payback you get from energy savings and the value it adds to a home, solar roofs more than pay for themselves, making it affordable for the average homeowner in the long run.
Some homes are not suited for solar roofing technology. But, this doesn’t mean the owners can’t still participate in solar energy. Instead of placing solar panels on their own home, they can participate in a shared solar program. Shared solar programs, also known as community solar projects or solar gardens, operate similarly to community gardens. Solar panels are installed on a common property and multiple people and groups benefit from the energy they produce.
This new opportunity is a great way for homeowners whose homes are not ideal for solar panels or those who do not want to install panels on their own roofs to still participate in solar roofing technology.
Long Lasting and Low Maintenance
One of the benefits of solar roofing technology that makes it so appealing to homeowners is its longevity and low maintenance. Most solar panels and other solar roof technology last for 25-30 years, which is longer than the typical asphalt shingle roof lifespan of 15-20 years.
Solar panels also require very little maintenance, simply needing to be cleaned of dirt and dust two to four times per year. Compared to asphalt shingle roofs, which require removal of moss and algae, replacement of damaged shingles, and resealing, these quick washes are much easier and require significantly less work.
Another benefit to solar roofing technology is the wide range of colors and styles to choose from. Solar roofing used to mean unappealing bulky blue panels that stuck out like a sore thumb. However, a wide range of choices are now available. Customers can pick from dozens of colors and even different styles to customize their solar roof to fit the rest of their home.
One last, and possibly most notable, benefit to solar roofing technology is that it is still improving. Every day companies such as CertainTeed, Suntegra, and Tesla are striving to advance solar roofing technology, making it more efficient, more affordable, and more powerful. The entire solar technology industry is booming right now, with advances such as solar clothing, solar roads, and better solar energy storage coming out.
Companies are also working to make solar roofing technology more customizable and aesthetic, so that homeowners can make the choice to go solar without sacrificing the curb appeal of their home. Solar roofing technology has so much potential to improve, making it a fantastic industry for homeowners to get into today.
The most obvious drawback for solar roofing technology is its sky high upfront cost. Solar roofs can cost $20,000 or more to purchase and install. Many homeowners simply cannot afford to make such an expense when they can purchase an asphalt shingle roof for considerably less.
Although it is undoubtedly beneficial in the long term, it can take years to pay off the cost of a solar roof, which most homeowners consider a huge drawback. Especially for homeowners considering moving in the future, this long pay off time seems like a futile investment.
Read: 3 Easy, Cost-Effective Ways You Can Be a Sustainable Roofer
A second drawback of solar roofing technology is that it relies on the sun. While this is a benefit in terms of renewable energy, it also falls under cons because the sun is not always shining. Cloudy days and decreased daylight during the winter can have a large impact on the amount of energy solar roofing technology can produce. Trees and any other structures that cast shade over a roof are also problematic, as is the geographical location of a home. In addition, some of these sun impediments are unpredictable.
Clouds may be in the forecast on any given day, meaning energy may or may not be available as well. Clearly, many factors can reduce the amount of sunlight that actually reaches the roof, meaning it might not make enough energy to fully cover the homeowner’s needs.
Doesn’t Work with Every Home
A particularly significant con of solar roofing technology is that it doesn’t work with every home. Older homes that are built with slate or cedar make it difficult to mount the panels and homes with skylights or rooftop decks pose problems as well.
While it might be possible to attach panels to these types of roofs, the already high costs of solar roofing technology would sky rocket with the amount of time and effort it takes to do so. Also, solar panels require a certain amount of surface area in order to generate any significant amount of energy, which some homes do not have. That is, if a roof is too small, solar panels won’t do anything for you energy-wise.
Even if you have a large enough roof, only a small part of it may get sufficient sun due to the angles and slopes, leaving you with a smaller viable surface area. Buildings in the city are often covered in the shadows of bigger and taller buildings, not to mention they have smaller roof surface area to begin with, so the usefulness of solar roofing technology is diminished there as well.
When it comes down to it, there are more pros of solar roofing technology than cons. They are environmentally friendly, economical, and, can make your roofing business money. They are also long lasting, becoming more customizable, and have plenty of potential to become more advanced and efficient. Considering the points above and answering questions like these can help you make an informed decision to add them to your catalog.
It’s good to know that solar roofing could last for 25 to 30 years and that it only needs to be cleaned two to four times yearly. My husband has been trying to convince me to have residential solar roofing installed in our house. Because of your article, I’ll talk to him again about this since it does seem like a good investment. Thanks!