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Solar Roof Vs Solar Panels ROI

Are you in the market for solar? Instant Roofer is here to help answer all your questions about the differences between Solar Panels and Solar Roofs. But before we dive in we need to make some clear disclaimers for our return on investment calculator.

Our Solar Panel and Solar Roof calculator assumes the quote you received from a solar company was designed to provide you with a zero-dollar electric bill. However, you should know that even if you generate more than your consumption you will likely still have a minimum grid connection fee. For example, mine is $15/month. Additionally, solar panels and solar roofs will generate less electricity over time. Another consideration is that solar generation amounts will be less in winter and different based on your geographical location.

So is our calculator perfect? No, many factors need to be addressed when trying to identify your return on investment. We built this calculator as a general guide to help you get a rough estimate on your investment return.

What should I know before getting solar?

The most important thing you can do is communicate with your electric company. Call them up and tell them you are considering putting solar on your home. They will tell you what’s involved and also tell you what the waiting periods are.

Waiting periods? What?

I figured you might be asking what waiting periods are… When you put solar on your home you will not be able to turn it on until the electric company approves it. Often times they will review your permit and do a visual inspection. But most importantly it’s likely they will install an additional meter. The additional meter is used to measure the generation of your new solar system. Even though your existing main meter probably can run backward the electric company likes to have a true measure of generation vs consumption. They may also change your main meter for a more accurate reading.

Age of your roof

This is actually the largest factor in making a decision on going with solar panels vs a solar roof. Solar panels and Solar roofs both have a lifespan of roughly 25 years. If your roof is 15 years old you really want to consider either replacing your roof before installing solar panels. Or even better just go with a solar roof.

The reason is simple. If you install solar panels on a 15-year-old roof and the roof lifespan is only 25 years. In 10 years you will not only be replacing your roof but you will have to remove the solar panels prior to having the new roof installed. Which may be more difficult than expected.

Solar Roof Pros and Cons

Solar Roof answers the question above about a potential aging roof. Let’s say your roof is 20 years old. You may only have 5 years left on it. If you’re in this position then a solar roof may be the perfect answer. You get solar plus a roof with an equal lifespan.

Solar Roof Cons

  • Higher price point
  • Not all of the solar roof qualifies for the tax credit.
  • A limited selection of manufacturers

Solar Roof Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Life on solar matches the life of the roof
  • Durable. Most solar roofs are even stronger than traditional roofs.

Solar Panels Pros and Cons

Solar panels are nothing new. There are some significant pros to solar panels.

Solar Panel Cons

  • Not as aesthetically pleasing
  • Risk of roof damage on installation
  • The lifespan of Solar Panels and the existing Roof could be an issue.

Solar Panels Pros

  • Price. You can get a basic solar panel system for as low as $16,000-$20,000.
  • Many options for manufacturers and installers.
  • All of the solar panel system qualifies for the tax credit.

There are many more considerations when making a decision to go solar. We built a handy roof financing calculator and broke down why if you’re already planning on replacing your roof it’s a good idea to consider going solar at the same time. Check it out and see if it’s worth it to borrow a little extra cash and start generating clean green energy on your roof.