Choosing Between Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels in Illinois

Installation expert mounting solar shingles

The growing popularity of solar energy has led to the emergence of new technologies like solar shingles, a type of integration that allows roof shingles to generate electricity for the household.

However, the choice of solar shingles is quite overwhelming in Illinois, from CertainTeed to Luma to Tesla to Gaf solar panel shingles, making it almost impossible to select the right product without extensive research and expert assistance.


Read on to find out everything you need to know about solar shingles and how to choose the right solar shingles for your house in Illinois.

What Are Solar Shingles?

Outwardly, a solar shingle resembles ordinary roof tiles or bituminous tiles. It can generate electricity in the same way as a traditional solar panel while having better protection against dirt, dust, or bird droppings.

Solar shingles are not just a roofing material but also an innovative way to obtain environmentally friendly electricity. Unlike traditional solar panels, which are mounted on the roof as a separate element, solar tiles are integrated with the roofing, creating an aesthetically pleasing and uniform appearance.

Here are some popular companies offering solar shingles:

  • GAF
  • Tesla
  • SunTegra
  • Luma
  • CertainTeed
  • Timberline

Solar panel shingles contain miniature solar cells that use the photovoltaic effect to convert sunlight into electrical energy. These elements are connected, forming a whole system that generates direct current.

Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels

Although both shingles and panels use sunlight to generate electricity, their practical characteristics differ significantly.

Let’s look at the main parameters distinguishing solar shingles from solar panels.

Energy Efficiency

Heat Losses The shingles fit tightly to the roof, which leads to the accumulation of heat under it. Heat reduces the efficiency of photovoltaic cells because they work better at low temperatures. On the contrary, solar panels installed at a certain distance from the roof guarantee air circulation and heat removal.
Shading Solar shingles, slightly overlapping each other, create shadows that decrease the total area receiving sunlight.
Materials Solar shingles are made of opaque materials (slate, concrete) that absorb a certain amount of sunlight before it reaches the photovoltaic cells. Solar panels made of glass transmit more light.


The tile is integrated into the roof during new construction or renovation, making solar shingles installation a complex, time-consuming process requiring qualified roofers, preferably experienced in working with solar shingles in Illinois.

On the contrary, solar panel installation is carried out on the rails attached to the roof and can sometimes be carried out on your own.


Weight is an essential factor to consider when choosing between solar shingles and solar panels. Solar shingles often have less impact on your roof because they replace traditional shingles.

Here are some specific characteristics:

Typical Solar Shingle Typical Solar Panel
Dimensions 300×2180 mm 2100x1050x50 mm
Weight 3-6 kg with the installation equipment 18-30 kg, or 2-3 kg per square meter
Impact on the roof Add a little extra weight to your roof Adding a lot of extra weight to the roof

However, it’s better to consult with a professional roofer or engineer to assess whether your roof can support the solar structure you’re willing to mount.

Terms of Service

Solar shingles Solar panel
Lifespan Up to 30 years Up to 30 years and even 40 years for the latest models
Resistance to precipitation Made of durable materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions for decades Prone to damage from hail, strong wind, and other weather conditions
Power degradation 0.5% every year

The actual longevity of your particular system will vary depending on the quality of the equipment, installation, and operating conditions.


Solar shingles Solar panel
Warranty 20 years 25 years
Coating Manufacturing defects in materials or artistry

Before purchasing a solar power system, it is essential to read the warranty carefully to understand its terms and limitations. Warranties usually do not cover damage caused by natural disasters or misuse, so some companies offer extended warranties for an additional fee.


Solar shingles are more expensive because roof tiles are made of more expensive materials using more complex technologies and equipment.

Here’s how much solar shingles cost compared to solar panels:

Solar shingles Solar panel
Cost per watt of peak power $6.00 to $8.00 $2.50 to $4.00
5 kW system $30,000 to $40,000 $12,500 to $20,000
10 kW system $60,000 to $80,000 $25,000 to $40,000


Although solar panels are effective, they are often criticized for being bulky, unattractive, and disrupting the visual harmony of the house.

On the other hand, solar shingles are designed to integrate with the roof, creating a uniform and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Thin design, similar to traditional tiles, adds elegance and sophistication to the home.


Solar shingles are explicitly designed for pitched roofs and cannot be installed on a flat roof. After installation, solar shingles become an integral part of the roof and cannot be removed or moved. In contrast, solar panels can be installed on any roof, even a flat one, and removed when necessary to be installed on a new house.

Solar Shingles vs. Solar Panels: The Winner

When deciding how to heat your home — with solar panels or solar shingles — you find yourself at a crossroads:

  • If aesthetics, durability, and integration with the roof are essential to you, solar shingles will become your faithful ally
  • If you are looking for maximum savings and versatility, solar panels are ready to help you

Get your instant solar quote online to discover your optimal solar energy provider and panel type. You only have to answer a few questions to get there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are solar shingles worth it?

Solar shingles are advantageous in many regards, including aesthetics, durability, and roof integration, which makes them a great choice for homeowners. However, they are more expensive than solar panels.

Are there incentives or rebates for installing solar shingles in Illinois?

Among solar incentives and rebates in Illinois are a statewide tax credit (up to 35% of system cost), federal tax credit (26% of system cost), programs from companies like ComEd, and offers from government and non-profit organizations for grant assistance or low-interest financing for low-income homeowners.

Do manufacturers offer solar shingles lifetime warranty?

Manufacturers rarely offer lifetime warranties, but most warranties are sufficient for 30 years that solar power shingles are expected to operate.

What’s the difference in maintenance between solar shingles vs. solar panels?

Solar-powered shingles require more care because they are built into the roof, making access for repairs or cleaning difficult. It would help if you cleaned the tiles occasionally to remove dirt and dust and check for damage. A professional inspection of the system is recommended once a year.