Are Solar Shingles Efficient?

Our Blog

Are Solar Shingles Efficient?

Are Solar Shingles Efficient?

With more interest in reducing energy costs for residential property owners across the country, it’s no surprise that homeowners are turning to solar technologies. In particular, homeowners in Colorado benefit from installing solar roofing shingles because of the more than 300 days of sunshine we receive each year.

But there are many questions around solar technology, and unfortunately there’s a lot of misinformation floating around the web about solar energy, solar panels, solar roof tiles and solar roofing shingles. Here are several terms that are used inconsistently when it comes to solar. Here’s how to .

  • Solar panels are installed on top of the roof of your home using mounting brackets, also known as roof-mounted systems.
  • Solar roof tiles are glass or monocrystalline silicon solar cells integrated with tile or metal roof materials that match the profile of your roof. The type of solar roof tile depends on the brand. Solar roof and solar roof tiles are terms you will see most often with a Tesla solar roof.
  • Solar roofing shingles are a roof system that directly integrates solar technology into the traditional shingle roofing system. They are shingles, not panels or heavy tiles. They install and protect like a roof. GAF Timberline Solar is the brand that has a nailable solar shingle.

To help you get a better idea of what solar roof shingles are, how efficient they are, and how much solar roof shingles cost, we’ve put together this quick guide.

What Are Solar Shingles?

Solar roofing shingles are similar to solar panels in that they harness the sun’s energy, convert it to electrical energy, and create an electric grid that supplies power to your home. The solar roofing system then converts the electrical energy from DC to AC so it can be used as a power source for your home. Any excess energy sent to the grid, allows compensation in terms of a credit, not cash, which can be applied when you need to draw energy from the grid, such as at night, or during times of the year when you generate less solar energy.

But the key difference between solar roof shingles and solar panels is that panels are mounted over your existing roof, and solar roof shingles are both a roofing material and energy generator. Solar shingles are durable, easy to work with and install, and you can walk on them, unlike solar panels.

How Solar Shingles Are Installed?

One misconception about solar shingles is that you need to have your entire roof replaced in order to install them. This isn’t true! Of course, if you’re due for a roof replacement and have an insurance claim for the work, you might be able to have solar shingles installed in place of traditional roofing shingles.

The first step for having solar shingles installed is to leverage satellite imagery to understand where the best location is for roofing shingles to be installed. Note that solar roofing shingles don’t need to cover your entire roof—only areas where ample sunlight shines and can be harnessed for energy. Your roofing contractor will then discuss your options with you to make sure the solar shingle area and output will be sufficient for your energy needs and goals.

From there, the process is fairly straightforward. For example, GAF Energy’s Timberline Solar Roof is installed like traditional shingles: with a nail gun. Then the shingles are connected to each other with a series of electrical connections, and the rest of the setup is completed by an electrical services team. A warranty is also provided so that your roof and solar are covered under the same warranty.

How Efficient Are Solar Shingles?

The total energy output depends on a number of factors, including location, climate, amount of sunlight, size, and capacity of your solar shingles. Each GAF Energy Timberline Solar shingle can generate around 45 watts of power. Depending on the total area of your solar shingle installation, that wattage can add up quickly and cut your energy costs down considerably!

How Much Do Solar Shingles Cost?

The total cost of a Denver solar shingle roof—or a solar roof anywhere in Colorado—will depend on a number of factors. You might hear that solar shingles are more expensive than solar panels, but this statement doesn’t often take incentives and other tax breaks into consideration. An integrated solar roof may qualify the entire roof for investment tax credit (ITC).

Reach out to a roofing professional to get a better idea of how much your project may cost based on your location, preferred materials, and total project size.

Trust the Professionals

Remember, there’s a lot of incorrect and misleading information available on the internet around new and emerging solar technology. Instead, talk with a professional to get the real truth about solar shingles: how they work, installation, performance comparison, financing and savings.

We’ve got you covered at J&K Roofing. Our professional team will work with you on your solar project, keep you informed throughout every step of the process, and always act with your best interest in mind. We’re certified in all materials we work with—including solar shingles—and we can handle any job in the Northern Colorado, Denver Metro, Front Range, and Colorado Springs areas.

Get in touch with us today by clicking here or calling 303-425-7531.

Share this Post

Request A Free Inspection

How Does Solar Roofing Work?

Our Blog

How Does Solar Roofing Work?

How Does Solar Roofing Work?

With more and more homeowners getting serious about cutting energy costs, it’s no surprise that solar roofing options are growing in popularity. In fact, 67% of homeowners who don’t currently have solar installed on their roofs are interested in getting it in the future.

In particular, solar shingles (see the picture above) are becoming mainstream. Compared to solar panels, which are mounted on an existing roof, solar shingles are a combination roofing material and energy generator. They are an energy producing shingle that is integrated with roof shingles, not panels or heavy tiles that sit on top of your roof. And thanks to innovations in the technology by some of the leaders in roofing materials, solar shingles are currently accessible for homeowners and commercial property owners alike.

But how does solar roofing work?

How Solar Roofing Works

Solar shingles are exactly what they sound like: solar energy producing shingles that are designed to be installed in-line and flush with roof singles and harness the sun’s energy.

In a nutshell, solar roofing systems work in three steps:

  1. Solar shingles collect light energy from the sun and convert it into electrical energy.
  2. Solar roofing system creates an electric grid.
  3. Solar roofing system converts electrical energy from DC to AC for use as a power source.

There’s more science to it than this simplified explanation, and you can read more about it here.

The Effectiveness of Solar Shingles

How effective your solar roofing system is depends on a number of factors, including size, capacity, orientation, location, and amount of sunlight. The good news is that we get loads of sunlight in Colorado! The amount of solar shingles can be designed for what you want to power and will help reduce your energy costs.

Solar shingles can save you thousands of dollars in energy costs over their lifetime, and they’re largely considered an effective and sustainable method for generating clean energy. Click here and enter your address to get a ballpark idea of how much you could save by investing in solar.

How Solar Roofing Is Installed

Installing a solar roof in Denver or anywhere in Colorado is fairly straightforward. One note is that it often requires an upfront investment, although financing and leasing options may be available to you. Colorado also offers solar incentives.

A key difference between solar shingles and solar panels is that solar shingles are integrated with your roof shingles; solar panels are installed on top of your traditional shingles. For example, the GAF Timberline Solar system can be installed by an experienced roofing professional and little more than a nail gun.


Trust Seasoned Professionals

There are a growing number of options available to homeowners who are interested in leveraging solar power for their home’s source of energy. However, pay close attention to what’s available in your area, as recently some companies may have altered their approach to solar roofing near you.

No matter what solar roofing solution you decide to have installed on your home, go with a trusted resource that will get the job done correctly and efficiently.

At J&K Roofing, our entire team is dedicated to high-quality work, and we’re certified in all materials we work with. Get in touch with us today to talk about your roofing needs and how solar can help you save on energy costs! 303-425-7531

Share this Post

Request A Free Inspection

Taking the Mystery Out of Solar

Our Blog

Taking the Mystery Out of Solar

Taking the Mystery Out of Solar

There’s no doubt you’ve seen them: large, rectangular solar panels affixed to the roofs of homes throughout Colorado. It’s a trend that’s quickly on the rise, and for good reason: the average annual savings for homeowners who invest in solar is around $1,500.

Several details can impact how much you could save by adding solar panels to your roof, so you’ll want to do some research before making the leap to solar energy. This article will help you better understand what goes into adding solar panels to your home and what you should expect from the process.

How Solar Panels Work

Solar panels rely on electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun to generate electricity. The types of solar panels available for home installation — the ones you’ve seen while driving through neighborhoods in Denver and beyond — use photovoltaic (PV) technology.

These PV cells capture electromagnetic radiation as direct current (DC) power and convert it into alternating current (AC) power—forming a flow of energy that gets channeled through your breaker box to power your home.

An attractive feature of going solar is that any unused energy is sent back to your utility meter and stored for future use. This cost-saving incentive is especially appealing in Colorado, where we get more than 300 days of sunshine each year.

Grid-tied Solar Systems Explained

Grid-tied systems are solar power setups that connect to the electricity grid — and work without battery backup equipment. They are currently the most common type of solar panel system in American homes. And despite growing interest in battery technologies, most homeowners going solar today still opt for installing a grid-tied set up on their roofs.

A grid-tied system uses solar panels to generate electricity from sunlight. Excess power gets exported to the utility grid, and similarly, when the household requires more power, those needs are met by imports from the grid.

Grid-tied solar systems require an inverter that can communicate with the grid, known as grid-tie inverters. The grid-tie inverter enables homes to import and export power to the utility. In addition, grid-tied solar systems don’t require any form of energy storage to store solar power (i.e., no battery storage). This makes grid-tied solar systems simpler and cheaper to install. Their main disadvantage is their inability to provide power when the grid is down.

How Much Electricity Solar Panels Generate

The actual output of solar panels depends on a number of factors:

  • Size
  • Capacity
  • Orientation
  • Location
  • Amount of sunlight (aka, weather)

On average, today’s solar panels generate between 250 and 400 watts of power each hour. Say you install 30 standard-size solar panels that generate 290 watts each hour in a location where they get around 5 hours of sunlight each day. By that math, you’d create 15,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) each year, which would be more than enough to power most homes.

What Kinds of Roofing Materials Are Best Suited for Solar Panels?

Most roofing materials are compatible with solar panels, including asphalt shingles. Standing seam metal roofs are great for installing solar panels, mainly because the seam allows for an easy and cost-effective installation that doesn’t require drilling into your roof. There are also solar mounts that make installation easier for stone-coated metal roofing.

The types of roofing material that do not lend themselves well to solar panels are wood and slate roofs, as a solar installation team can easily damage them.

The Investment in Solar Panels

In Colorado, the average cost to install solar panels is between $13,000 and $19,000.

However, there are incentives for installing solar panels that can save you money. There are also loans and leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs) to help cover the cost of installing solar panels on your home.

The Return on Solar Panels

The hard truth about solar panel savings is that you don’t recoup your initial investment right away; it takes time to generate power and start to see the benefits of solar. With that said, the average solar payback period in Colorado is between 11 and 12 years. Some key factors that affect the payback period are your overall system cost, system size, electricity usage, the complexity of your layout and install, and solar incentives. There are local and federal incentives and rebates that you can earn for going solar. The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a 26% credit that you can claim once you install solar.

Types of Solar Panels Available for Installation

The three main types of solar panels available for home installation are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels.

Types of Solar Panels Available for Installation


Monocrystalline solar panels are likely what you see most often on Colorado rooftops. Tesla has also released an entire “solar roof” where the shingles are solar panels—here’s a rundown on whether or not they’re worth it. Be sure to check their customer service reviews. There are also several product lines of solar shingles and solar tiles currently available that are low profile and blend seamlessly with your roof.

How to Get Started With Solar

Installing a renewable energy source like solar panels is a great way to lower your carbon footprint, but several steps are necessary to get started. You can learn more about those in this helpful guide from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Similarly, you can contact us at J&K Roofing for expert guidance and answers to all your questions. Contact us about your solar project, including solar detach and reset, solar energy storage, or solar design and consulting. Give us a call at 303-425-7531 or click here to send us a message online.

Share this Post

Request A Free Inspection

Roof Tech Review: Is Tesla’s “Solar Roof” Worth It?

Our Blog

Roof Tech Review: Is Tesla’s “Solar Roof” Worth It?

In 2016, Elon Musk unveiled the Solar Roof: Tesla’s take on the solar panel. In typical Hollywood fashion, he repurposed the set of Desperate Housewives to showcase the new product, re-roofing four houses on Wisteria Lane with the prototype panels. At the time, Musk was a chairman of SolarCity, which manufactured solar panels. The goal, he stated, was to “make solar look good,” replacing the traditional, oversized panels with high-end roof tiles.

Despite Musk’s optimism and a declaration that 2019 would be “the year of the Solar Roof,” the company had only installed about one dozen solar roofs by 2018. Now, three years later, the project is still struggling to fully take off. According to a recent article, Musk admitted that the prototype needed work and that Tesla significantly underestimated the costs associated with installing the panels on more complex roof structures.

Many customers have already had deposits refunded due to unexpected cost increases. However, he stated that he still intends to expand product installations this year.

 A home featuring the Tesla Solar Roof, which uses an interlocking grid of panels to appear more like a shingled roof. Photo courtesy of

What Makes Tesla Solar Different?

Tesla uses an interlocking system of active and inactive panels to mimic the appearance of traditional tiles. Tesla claims the Solar Roof tiles are not only more aesthetically pleasing than traditional solar panels, they are also three times more durable than standard roof tiles and will “pay for themselves over time.”

In addition to these attractive features, Tesla has also added its famous technological spin to appeal to potential buyers. The Solar Roof is integrated with Tesla’s Solar Inverter system, which uses the typical DC/AC conversion method to generate electricity from light energy. The system also includes several tech-savvy attributes:

  • It is compatible with traditional solar systems, not just Tesla’s Solar Roof.
  • It comes with the Tesla App, a sleek and user-friendly software that enables users to control energy use and monitor the home’s energy consumption and availability.
  • The system is bundled with, a rechargeable home battery system. While this is another expense unique to Tesla, the system does have its benefits. For example, it allows homeowners to store energy for future use and gain precise insights into home energy usage with live updates.

Is It Worth It?

Tesla Solar Roof is still significantly more expensive than traditional solar panels. The only appreciable difference at this point lies in the design, which does have a more stylish appearance than the traditional panels.

Tesla has also had low ratings overall in its Energy programs. Unforeseen costs combined with significant delays have resulted in cancellations and price hikes for many customers who made deposits on the tiles years ago.

Generally speaking, however, solar panels are an eco-friendly option that can even generate income over time. Colorado offers great incentives for homeowners to install solar panels, including rebates, state and federal tax credits, and net metering programs. Combine these incentives with our state’s ample sunshine, and solar panels can actually be an excellent investment.

The Take-Away

Tesla may have a good product with all the tech bells and whistles we have come to expect from it, but it seems Solar Roof needs more time to reach its full potential. However, the sleek design and technological advantages may be enough to offset the increase in cost for some buyers.

Whether you choose Tesla or a more traditional route, you will want to find a local roofer and receive a thorough inspection before undertaking a solar installation. Solar panels are an investment and can be expensive to remove if they are placed over areas in need of repair. J&K Roofing services the Northern Colorado, Denver Metro, Front Range, and Colorado Springs areas.

We work with all solar manufacturers and are certified in each material we use. Our roofers have the knowledge and skill to help you with your solar project. Contact us today for your free inspection and to discuss your solar installation project.

Share this Post

Request A Free Inspection

The Science of Solar: How Do Solar Panels Work and Are They Right For My Home?

Our Blog

The Science of Solar: How Do Solar Panels Work and Are They Right For My Home?

Solar panels have increased significantly in popularity over the last five years, with an estimated two million American homes going solar as of 2019. They are an Earth-friendly option that can even earn income in the long term for the homeowner. But how, exactly, do these panels work?

The Science of Solar Panels

It may seem like magic: the sun shines on them and is transformed into electricity to power the building. But it is actually a fairly simple process that utilizes decades-old scientific knowledge about light and electric currents. In a few steps, sunlight is converted at the atomic level into an electrical current. Technology does the rest.

Basic steps in the conversion of sunlight to electricity. The general construction of a solar panel is on the right. Image courtesy of

Step One: Convert Light Energy to Electric Energy

Solar panels are made up of rows of photovoltaic cells. (The word “photovoltaic” simply means converting light into energy.) The cells themselves are made of silicon, a semiconductor. A semiconductor is useful because it is a material that can be “doped” to create an electric field, which is necessary to allow electricity to flow. When light photons hit the silicon cells, electrons are freed and directed in a circuit to form a current of electricity.

Step Two: Create an Electric Field

In order to maintain a flow of electric energy, an electric field is necessary. This is similar to a magnetic field, which relies on a negative pole and a positive pole. As mentioned above, silicon can be doped or treated, create a negative charge on one side and a positive charge on the other. In this case, phosphorus is used to create a negative charge, and boron is used to create a positive charge.

When an electron is knocked loose from the silicon semiconductor, it is then free to travel along the electric field, being attracted to the opposite charge in a direct current (DC) of electricity.

Illustration of the electric field. Particles move from positive charge to negative charge. Image courtesy of

Step Three: Convert From DC to AC

At the end of each solar panel is a conductive wire. This wire brings the DC electricity to an inverter, where it is converted to Alternating Current (AC) electricity. This is the form of electricity that is most commonly used to power buildings and devices.

The reason for this has to do with the fact that, unlike DC electricity, AC voltage can be adjusted from high to low. It is also capable of traveling much farther distances. As the name suggests, this form of electricity periodically reverses direction in the energy circuit.

By contrast, electrons in DC electricity always flow in the same direction. DC electricity is found in another type of voltaic cell, also known as the alkaline battery.

There you have it! The process of converting sunlight into an alternating current of usable electricity for your home.

Is Solar Power Right for Me?

The benefits of solar power are beginning to be difficult to ignore. Aside from the obvious environmental advantages, there are a couple other reasons why you may want to consider installing these panels on your roof.

Energy Savings

After the initial cost of installation*, you will be generating your own electricity. You will notice in the diagram above which illustrates the steps of energy conversion that any extra energy generated in the process is credited to the electrical grid. There will be days when you generate more energy than you consume. This extra energy is a potential source of income for you and your family when traded with the utilities company.

*Costs of installation can be significantly reduced by local state rebates and Solar Renewable Energy Certificates. You will also earn an income tax credit.

Added Value to Your Home

Like most energy-efficient upgrades, solar panels can add to the overall value of your home. While factors like location, system size, and market rates can impact the amount, a study by Lawrence Berkley found that the addition of solar panels increased home value by an average of $15,000.

Solar Panels Work Everywhere

While solar panels will produce more energy on sunny days, they still work when it is cloudy or raining. In the case of somewhere like Colorado, any extra energy consumed on overcast days will be more than canceled out by the high number of sunny days per year, with an average of 4.82 hours daily of direct sunlight. Colorado also offers additional incentives to homeowners with a solar panel system.

J&K Roofing Offers Roof Inspections, Repairs, and Installation

Solar panels are an increasingly popular addition to American homes. They are an incredible piece of technology that is eco-friendly, cost-effective, and efficient.

Before installing this new feature, it is wise to have your roof inspected by a professional. Solar panels are designed to last for many years, and it can be expensive and inconvenient to have to remove and reinstall them if your roof is in need of repairs.

J &K Roofing offers free roof inspections in the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins regions. We work with all solar manufacturers and are certified in each material we use. Our roofers have the knowledge and skill to help you with your solar project. Call us today so we can help you get started!


Share this Post

Request A Free Inspection

Request a Free Inspection

Choose a roofer that is going to be around and will stand behind the work they do.

[gravityform id="1" ajax="true"]

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.