The quest to harvest renewable energy sources for domestic use is a challenge that many want to take on-board. However, it is entirely unrealistic to expect home-owners up and down the country to suddenly splash out on expensive solar panels. Moreover, such investments are especially impractical in the current economic downturn.
Whilst solar panel installations are becoming more commonplace, they remain relatively expensive and cannot always be installed on to existing rooftops without there being a need for significant re-building work.
Nevertheless, the drive to harness green energy is essential for the preservation of our planet. The good news is that new build properties (and existing houses that are undergoing re-roofing) can avail of an innovative new technique: solar roof tiles.
What are Solar Roof Tiles?
Solar roof tiles, as the name suggests, can be fitted on to rooftops in place of existing roof tiles. Most houses in the countryside comprise tiled roofing and it is possible for these to be replaced with solar roof tiles (also known as solar shingles). For new builds in particular, there is a great opportunity to combine an essential building requirement with an established method of sourcing renewable energy.
Each solar roof tile, which does not look radically different from any standard roof tile, consists of photovoltaic solar cells that capture sunlight for conversion into solar electricity. This electricity can be used throughout the home and, in the event of surplus production, the extra electricity can even be sold back to the National Grid for a profit.
Solar Tiles vs Solar panels
Solar panels can appear somewhat unsightly in a number of instances because the limited variety of panel designs reduces the scope for seamless integration. However, with the introduction of Solar Roof Tiles, the fundamental problems associated with traditional solar panel installations becomes a thing of the past. Tiles are designed to ‘blend in’ and integrate into an existing structure.
Aside from the aesthetic benefits, solar tiles are also a good choice for properties with listed status who are not allowed to install panels, new builds and homeowners who are replacing their roof.
Solar tiles are more expensive, however, and not quite as efficient as solar panels. There are more solar panel manufacturers to choose from and if you need to reposition them you do not need to disturb the roof to do so.
How Much do Solar Roof Tiles Cost?
The prices of both solar tiles and solar panels have been steadily declining in recent years but in the case of solar panels this has been a far steeper drop. Prices will vary depending on the size of the installation, structural work involved and the cost of the tiles / panels. As a rough guide, a 1kW system including solar panels could cost between £2,000 – £3,000 while the same system in solar tiles could be as much as £5,000 – £7,000.
However, it’s worth noting that solar roof tiles will add considerable value to your home in the long term.
Solar Roof Tiles Manufacturers
The solar tile market is a growing one that is currently dominated by Tesla. Their tiles are made from Tesla solar glass which they claim is three times stronger than standard roof tiles. The tiles include a lifetime guarantee and are available to pre-order in the UK now (May 2017) and Slate and Tuscan which will be released in 2018.
Visit Solar Guide for more information on Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles. Solar Guide can also provide you with free quotes for solar roof tile installation from suppliers near you.