Power Generated On Your Home: Fundamentals Of Solar Shingles And Two Different Types

13 January 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles

Generate power straight from your rooftop from a site like http://www.conradroofing.com by installing solar panel shingles that are specifically designed to harvest solar power and convert it into energy usable by your household. A typical shingle will generate anywhere between 13 and 63 watts of power. Approximately 77 tiles would be needed to cover 100 square feet of roof for your house to generate a kilowatt of potential energy. There are two different types of solar shingles that you can choose from: thin-film solar shingles and silicon-based solar shingles. This article will take a look at the fundamentals of solar shingles, and the differences between the two types. 

Fundamentals of Both of These Shingles

First things first, it is important to understand that both of these solar shingles function fundamentally in the same way. The molecules that it contains are responsible for absorbing and harvesting solar energy and transforming it into electric current. Whenever sunlight hits the photovoltaic cells, a photon is absorbed and an electron is released. This produced an electric current. The electric energy that is harvested is direct current, and needs to be transformed into alternating current before it can be used in homes.

Both of the shingles are normally installed onto the roof structure, and will function fundamentally identically to other materials. Solar shingles are able to withstand the weather elements, like rain, wind and hail, and can last decades. In fact, solar panels that were introduced as a replacement for shingles still produce 80% of their original capacity after 40 years.. 

Silicon-Based Solar Shingles vs. Thin-Film Solar Shingles

Both of the two different solar shingles rely on photovoltaic cells; however, the structure of the shingles differs significantly. Silicon-based solar shingles are made from crystalline silicon-based materials, and have shown to have efficiencies of up to 20.3%. These shingles are completely made from silicon, and as a result, can be quite thick. The thickness improves overall sturdiness of these shingles. Although sturdier in nature and capable of withstanding more wear, silicon-based solar shingles are more expensive to manufacture in comparison to thin-film solar shingles. 

Thin-film solar shingles, on the other hand, rely on CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) technology. This technology is laminated onto thin films that are then placed on top of shingles that are made from low-cost backing materials, like glass or high-temperature polymers or flexible metallic foils. Thin-film solar shingles tend to be much thinner in comparison to silicon-based solar shingles, allowing them to be less of a stress on roofing structures; however, they only have energy efficiencies up to 19.9%. Thin-film shingles are quickly taking over the solar shingle market, as they are much cheaper to manufacture.

There is a lot more data on silicon-based solar shingles than thin-film solar shingles, as silicon-based shingles have been installed for longer periods of time making them a better option for homeowners who are more comfortable with installing solar shingles that have already been tested on numerous times. Thin-film shingles are, however, revolutionizing the market, and many of the newer releases offer numerous benefits that make them more feasible than silicon-based alternatives. Keep in mind that silicon-based solar shingles may be too heavy depending on the architectural styling of your roofing structure.


Solar shingles are a great alternative in comparison to some of the more traditional materials, as it not only provides the roofing protection needed, but can also generate electricity in the meantime. Solar shingles are just as easy to install, and most of them are backed up by length manufacturer's warranty. In addition, some government programs offer incentives to homeowners who are willing to make the change and reduce their household's overall carbon footprint.