What are solar tiles?
Powering your home with solar panels comes with many advantages, especially in terms of savings and helping the environment. Since solar systems are becoming more and more competitive in price, there are very few disadvantages to them. One of the arguments often moved against solar panels is that they significantly change the home’s look. This detail becomes a serious issue if you’re interested in installing them but live in a protected area where changes to the buildings are not permitted for aesthetic reasons. If that is your case, or if you simply want to install solar panels but wish for your roof to look as natural as possible, you should consider choosing solar tiles instead of traditional panels.
Solar tiles are small modules that can be attached to your existing shingles or substitute them. The finished look is much more natural than that of traditional solar panels, since tiles blend seamlessly with the roof. Solar tiles can be made of thin film PV or classic monocrystalline solar cells. Their efficiency is slightly lower than solar panels and the cost higher, but these systems are eligible for government aids (namely the Feed in Tariff), which help reduce the payback period. Their price used to be much higher, but solar tiles are becoming more and more price-competitive and popular. They are moving from being a premium product for those who wanted a traditional roofline to a common alternative to “bolt-on” solar panels.
Read more: Flexible Solar Panels
Advantages of solar tiles
- Solar tiles are almost invisible. That is likely the biggest advantage of this technology, which removes the problem of having to cover your roof with huge solar panels. This is definitely the most aesthetically pleasing option.
- Solar tiles work just like panels to provide you with clean, free energy. That means they are also eligible for the exact same incentives. In the UK, that means you will receive the Feed in Tariff for the energy you use and the excess electricity you sell back to the grid. Therefore you will be saving on electricity bills (savings range between 40% and 70%) and profit from exporting the energy you don’t use. Moreover, solar tiles will increase the value of your property since the demand for green energy is so high.
- Solar tiles are even more durable than traditional, bolt-on panels. Solar panels can last up to 40 years, but since they are rigid modules mounted on metal, they can be damaged by extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes. Solar tiles, on the other hand, are as durable as the roof itself and even hurricane force wind would not be able to rip them off. The modules will protect that portion of the roof instead of damaging it.
- Solar tiles are a great option for new buildings, and they help come up with solutions to reduce wasted roof space and maximize solar efficiency. Their installation is simple, quick, and can be done by any roofer or solar installer. Moreover, there are different types of tiles to accommodate different roof and tile styles.
Disadvantages of solar tiles
- They cannot be installed on an already existing roof: they are only suitable for new buildings or for those who plan to substitute all the tiles. That is because solar and traditional shingles must be installed at the same time. Solar panels, on the other hand, can be installed even after your roof is finished.
- Not every roof can accommodate them: it must be pitched and angled perfectly to be eligible for solar tiles. In this case too, solar panels have a better chance of being positioned even on “difficult” roofs.
- Obviously, the initial cost of purchasing solar tiles is higher than that of traditional asphalt ones. Currently solar tiles are still a more expensive option than traditional bolt-on panels, and slightly less efficient. However, if you are already planning to build a new roof, the added cost of installing solar tiles might not be so prohibitive.
Would you like to invest in solar tiles?
Solar tiles might not be the best option for everybody, but they are a great solution for those who are planning to build a new roof and want it to look as beautiful as possible, while incorporating solar energy. If you fit all the requirements and don’t want to compromise the style of your house but wish to generate clean energy, this is the technology for you. If you have decided to install either solar panels or solar tiles, you will likely have to embark on a long research process to find information and suppliers.
If you’d like to skip that step, we can help you. By simply filling the form at the top of the page, you will receive personalized quotes from our trusted suppliers, and it’s all completely free and non-binding.