Adding it all up – does a solar roof make sense for you?
We’ve outlined why solar roof systems are inherently more expensive and noted that some cost savings would offset some of that premium and identified a few situations where solar roofing has advantages over a traditional solar panel system. So what’s the bottom line? It depends on your goals, your budget, and your preference.
Factoring in both the higher product cost and the offsetting savings from a solar roof system, you should plan on a premium of 30 percent to 50 percent for a solar roof system when compared to getting a new roof plus a traditional solar panel system. So if an average traditional solar panel system costs $24,000 and an average new roof costs $10,000, expect a solar roof to cost up to $41,000 ($34,000 x 50%) before any tax credits or incentives. In high electricity cost states or states with good rebates and incentives, you may still be able to get a good return on a solar roof investment. And if you’re willing to wait, the cost of solar roof systems will undoubtedly decrease in the coming years as they become more refined and are produced and installed in higher volumes.
If you really want a home solar system but don’t like the aesthetics of a traditional solar panel system, a solar roof isn’t a bad idea if you can get one. But if you have a few years left on your current roof and are willing to wait, you’ll almost surely find a better designed and lower-cost solar roof in a few years.