Compare Solar Roof Costs


Solar roofing is a not really a new style of roofing, however, it is being used in different ways and in a different form, than the traditional photovoltaic solar panels we used to see on the roof of a home. Solar roofing is most popular with homeowners who wish to save money on energy costs, and lower their environmental footprint on the earth. Although there is not much variety in the sizes and styles of solar roofing, its recent design makes it modern looking by default. It is true that solar roofing and solar roof shingles cost more than other roofing materials, most would argue that it makes up for that in the cost saved on their energy bill.

In this section of the New Roofing Costs website, we will learn about solar roofing costs and solar shingle prices. Which factors with the product itself, or characteristics of your home can impact installation, and the price of solar roofing installation will be talked about as well. You’ll learn more about which materials, tools, and supplies a roofing contractor and electrician would use to complete such a project, and ways you can cut down some of their installation and labor costs. In fact, Solar roofing can also be a good DIY project for a handy homeowner with the right skills, however you will likely need a licensed electrician to complete the project.

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 Prices Sorted by Type of Solar Cell

Since solar roofing is so new to the roofing market, the range in physical appearance is still quite small. This style of roofing is generally purchased for its functionality, rather than looks. There are, however, a few different styles of solar roofing available. Solar panels, the most popular, is actually installed over an already existing roof. Solar film, while gaining less solar energy, is easier to work with and more versatile. Solar shingles are the newest style, and can be used in conjunction with non solar shingles, for a streamlined and uniform look to your roof.

Type of Solar Roofing
Installed Cost
 8kw Solar Panel System $12,000-$16,000 $16,000-$22,000
 8kw Solar Shingle Roof System $10,200-$17,500 $18,500-26,600

*Based on an 8kw system, which is roughly the amount of power a typical household uses in one month (8kwh).
*Prices shown are before tax incentives of manufacturer discounts.

Usually Included in the Installation Cost of Solar Shingles

When you obtain a detailed estimate from a roofer and electrician for the installation of your solar roofing, here are some things you can expect to see listed:

  • All materials needed, including the solar panels or shingles, supplies needed to store power, and basic supplies used during the install.
  • Power inverter to convert it to AC power.
  • Wiring, connectors, and all electrical supplies.
  • Labor costs from both the roofer and electrician
  • Potential disposal of damaged or discarded supplies
  • Removal and disposal fees of previous roofing if shingles are used
  • Permits and inspections if required.

Installing solar roofing is a labor intensive job and needs to be done in a particular way, and with specific tools, supplies, and materials. Some of these include :

  • Common hand tools, including a screwdriver, drill with drill bits, roofing nails, etc.
  • Solar panels, film, or shingles
  • Wires, connectors, solar batteries, inverters, and controller
  • Subroofing, if this is an initial build
  • Ladder, lift, or other means to access the roof
  • Safety accessories, such as goggles, gloves, tethers, etc.

 Solar Roofing Maintenance and Repair Costs

With the involved nature of solar roofing, repairs can become quite costly in a hurry. The most common maintenance that needs to be done is regular cleaning. For optimal sunlight intake, it is necessary for all panels to be as clean as possible, so no dirt or buildup blocks the rays. The panels can be simply cleaned with a dry cloth, or with cleaning soap and a cloth. Just think of what your neighbors will say when they see you mop your solar shingles.

It is very important to regularly check all wiring, to insure safety of you and your home. If any wires are frayed or loose, it is imperative they are fixed or replaced. You should also look for holes or other ways for water to get in and ruin electrical wiring.  Broken solar panels or shingles are always a possible mishap. In this instance, it would be necessary to completely replace the panel or shingle.

The cost of solar shingles can be influenced by many factors.

  • The style of solar roofing desired. Solar panels are cheaper, but shingles are sleeker.
  • Unstable roof. It is very important that the roof under the solar roofing is in great condition, not only to keep down the threat of broken solar panels or shingles, but for the safety of you and your home. Solar roofing is a bit heavier than standard asphalt shingles or metal roofing.
  • Ease of access to the roof from the inside. To not have visible and exposed wires, it is necessary for holes to be drilled into the roof for them to run through. An attic would be an optimal way to access the inside of the roof.
  • Amount of sunlight. Though not influenced in the initial cost, if your solar roof doesn’t have optimal exposure to sunlight, less energy will be gained, therefore your payback will be less, which is usually the main purpose in the installation of this product.
  • Roof style, shape, and slope. There’s no question that some roofs are more optimal for the placement of solar roofing, and a more complex roof can mean a higher cost.

While the  cost of solar roofing can be a bit of a shock, there can be ways to bring down the costs of installing and maintaining your solar roofing for years to come.

  • Ask for a discount! It never hurts to ask, and if you don’t, you’ll never know.
  • Shop around. With contractors, electricians, and supplies. Why pay more, when you can get the same thing for cheaper from someone else?
  • Get a warranty. Since some of the major costs can come from repairs, it’s always a good idea to get a warranty to cover some of those future costs.
  • Keep trees trimmed and away from your roof. Though this will not save in the initial cost, it will help in the long run. Not only will this lessen the chance of breakage from fallen limbs, but can increase the amount of sunlight your roof receives, in turn yielding a higher payback.

Visit these Websites to Learn More about Solar Roofing

Gizmodo – A very well written example of the cutting edge ways people are using solar roofing materials to power their homes, business or devices.

Wholesale Solar – For those of you in the DIY crowd, the wholesale solar site has several pre-configured packages to take the guesswork out of putting up your own solar roofing system.

DSire Tax Credits – Interested in how much you can save in tax credits? The DSIRE database has got you covered, as well as a list of all state by state incentives.

Wikipedia – Of course, we must link to Wikipedia’s page about solar energy and roofing.

RoofPedia – Has a list of solar shingle manufacturers so you can learn the differences about each.