Our society is undergoing a major environmental revolution. Today, more people are conscious of their carbon footprint and are actively shifting to renewable energy alternatives that don’t lead to the depletion of fossil fuels.
As a result, we are observing a big-scale solar panel integration in residential and commercial buildings. Not only does solar power positively affect your ecosystem, but it also reduces the monthly load of electricity bills.
Solar roof tiles for 4kW capacity can reduce your electricity costs by a whopping 50%. Interesting, right?
However, installing solar panels can seem to be a cumbersome task. Are you also not happy with how solar panels tend to protrude out and disturb the aesthetic of your home? In that case, you should be introduced to solar roof tiles.
In this guide, we will explain the impact of installing solar roof tiles in detail.
- 1 Key Takeaways
- 2 What Are Solar Roof Tiles?
- 3 Options Available While Installing Solar Roof Tiles
- 4 Why Should You Invest in Solar Tiles?
- 5 Disadvantages of Solar Roof Tiles
- 6 Solar Panels vs. solar Shingles
- 7 What is a Feed-in Tariff System?
- 8 Discover the Power of Solar with Solar Panels Network
- 9 Bottomline
- Solar roof tiles, also known as solar shingles or slates, offer a sleek and aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional solar panels while generating renewable energy.
- Options for installing solar roof tiles include on-roof tiles, in-roof tiles, and complete solar roofs, each with advantages and considerations.
- Advantages of solar tiles include a sleek appearance, high durability, and suitability for listed buildings. Still, they come with a higher cost, lower efficiency, complex installation, and limited availability compared to traditional solar panels.
What Are Solar Roof Tiles?
Solar roof tiles are also referred to as solar shingles or solar slates and are used as a replacement for traditional solar panels. These tiles are made with small solar panels with photovoltaic cells that absorb sunlight as conventional panels.
This energy output is converted into DC (Direct Current) form. Further, a solar inverter helps produce AC (Alternating Current) output and can be connected via electrical cables to a battery to store excess electricity generated.
In other words, we can say that solar roof tiles are just a modernised version of traditional panels with multiple shingles closely connected in an array. However, one significant difference is that installing solar tiles will not alter your existing roof’s appearance.
Options Available While Installing Solar Roof Tiles
Switching from a regular to a solar roof tile will undoubtedly be a smart investment. You can escape the hassle of paying the electricity bill and contribute to the green energy movement. Here are a few options you can decide on.
A common occurrence in UK installations is that on-roof tiles are fixed on the mounts already on your roof space. There is no need for roof replacement here, as you add an element on the top of non-solar tiles on the current roof. These tiles are less evident than the standard solar panels.
A selected portion of the existing roof structure is replaced with solar tiles. Some of the traditional roof tiles are replaced with photovoltaic roof tiles. As the integration process is on the level with the entire roof, this solar tile installation would appear more subtle than the on-roof one.
Complete Solar Roof
If you want to step towards being a solar-powered home, solar roofs will work best. Instead of a specific portion, the entire roof is replaced with an intelligent combination of regular and solar tiles. It will help keep your roof structure safe and ultimately offer the facility to generate electricity per your requirements.
Why Should You Invest in Solar Tiles?
Are you planning to go solar but not convinced about solar tiles? In that case, read through the below-mentioned advantages that might help change your mind.
Undoubtedly, one of the reasons people tend to avoid the installation of solar panels is the way they look. But with solar tiles, there is no such ‘eyesore’ factor. Slate roofs look like other traditional roofs and do not appear very bulky. As a result, your house’s aesthetic appeal stays intact.
It doesn’t take much to see a crack in a traditional tile. If you live in a geographical region where hailstorms or snowstorms are regular, you have probably called the builder too often.
But solar tiles are designed to be about three times stronger and effectively protect your home against leaky roofs. As a result, your roof is set to last for decades to come. Also, most manufacturers offer a good warranty duration.
Fitting for Listed Buildings
Listed buildings are located in conservation areas where homeowners are not legally allowed to put up solar panels as it can spoil the appearance of your property. But with solar roof tiles, there are no such limitations.
You can easily integrate solar tiles on your roof without causing any damage to the house structure and conservation area guidelines.
Disadvantages of Solar Roof Tiles
With the above-listed advantages, there are a few notable disadvantages of picking solar tiles over solar panels.
Switching to solar tiles is quite a good option for the stylish appearance of your home. But it is bound to cost you almost twice the amount you would pay for solar panels. For example, you could go solar for 3 kW with panels for around £4,000-£6,000.
But with roof tiles, you are looking at an expenditure of £10,000-£12,000. On average, solar roof tiles cost £16.71 per square foot. This factor can deter many people if aesthetics is not their top-shelf priority.
Solar panels are known for their superior efficiency of about 18% – 25%. More efficiency implies that the panel can convert more solar energy into electricity.
But with roof tiles, you only get an 8% – 15% efficiency range. It means that you will end up paying more instead of saving money.
Solar roof tile installation is not as easy as it sounds. To cover up the energy required for your household, you might need to cover the entire roof surface with solar slates.
You could even be asked to get a new roof for some buildings altogether. It is inconvenient if you are too attached to your home or not ready to hire a full-time construction worker.
Complex Installation Process
Conventionally, solar panels are installed within a few days and do not require an army of workers up on your roof. But this is not quite the situation with solar roof tiles.
You might need a complete roof replacement based on your pre-existing roof structure. In the past, solar roof installation has been known to take over a fortnight with around 10-15 people on the job.
Roof tiles are still a relatively newer concept. Not many companies have ventured into this domain with crucial issues like installation, cost, and efficiency. As a result, the market is still in its beginner stage with fewer competitors.
It implies that the customer has limited choices to pick from. But with the ever-escalating developments in the field of solar technology, there are bound to be more options in future.
Solar Panels vs. solar Shingles
Even though the working principle of solar tiles and shingles is similar, there are still some differences.
An average solar panel measures around 40 inches wide and 66 inches long. On the other hand, shingles are nearly 12 inches wide and 86 inches long.
Panels weigh about 42 pounds, while shingles only weigh 13 pounds. Also, a roof tile’s thickness is less than an inch.
Solar panels are made up of silicon. However, solar roof tiles are made with CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) semiconductors.
This particular material allows for a thin structure and more surface flexibility. Some companies also utilise the naturally occurring Monocrystalline Silicon (Mono-Si) semiconductor.
Solar panels are available for different wattage ranges. On average, you will find that panels are available from 225 to 350 watts.
Shingles have a comparatively lower power output of around 13 to 63 watts. However, 350 PV tiles can effectively produce about 40 to 70% of your electricity.
What is a Feed-in Tariff System?
The feed-in tariff is part of the government incentives scheme, where you get paid for electricity production. This energy could be derived from any renewable source like solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectricity, anaerobic digestion, etc.
The feed-in tariff is divided into two parts:
- Generation tariff – You get an incentive for every kWh of power produced using solar tiles.
- Export tariff – You get paid if you produce extra energy and send it back to National Grid energy suppliers.
To join the tariff policy, you must ensure that your solar tiles or panels are purchased from credited suppliers registered under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). With the MCS certificate, you can register for the Feed-in tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.
The UK government will pay you for the next 20 years, and the incentive is not considered a part of your tax allowance.
Discover the Power of Solar with Solar Panels Network
Are you navigating the world of solar installations? Look no further than Solar Panels Network, the UK’s trusted partner in harnessing the sun’s potential. Our dedication goes beyond just installations; we’re on a mission to transform how homeowners and businesses across the UK perceive and utilise energy. By choosing us, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and making a smart financial move that promises savings for years ahead. Contact us today and embark on your solar journey.
The hype around roof tiles in the solar industry is steadily increasing with time. With benefits like sleek appearance and elimination of electricity bills, it sure seems like a good project to consider for your homes or offices.
If you are unsure whether to buy solar roof tiles, go through our guide for clarity.
Even though solar tiles work just like panels, there are still some notable differences between both options. You can choose between both based on your roof structure, budget, and energy requirements.
About the Author
Solar Panels Network stands at the forefront of solar energy solutions, driven by a team of seasoned solar engineers and energy consultants. With over decades of experience in delivering high-quality solar installations and maintenance, we are committed to promoting sustainable energy through customer-centric, tailored solutions. Our articles reflect this commitment, crafted collaboratively by experts to provide accurate, up-to-date insights into solar technology, ensuring our readers are well-informed and empowered in their solar energy decisions.