Solar-powered roof tiles, also known as solar tiles, are a fairly new advancement in solar technology available for domestic and commercial properties. They are a great addition to any building to provide solar power without the aesthetic downsides of solar panels – which can be obtrusive and obvious. They are readily available in the UK from various solar tech retailers.
If you are new to solar technology, it is important to know all the advantages and disadvantages of solar-powered roof tiles to decide whether they are suitable for your property.
This article will explore everything you need to know about solar tiles. Before we delve, there’s some terminology you’ll need to know:
Solar Technology Jargon
DC Power – this refers to a direct current supply of power. This is the type of electricity that constitutes the national grid and the type of electricity generated by power plants (or solar technology).
AC Power – this is the type of power used in homes and businesses across the nation. Stands for alternating current power.
Photovoltaic(s) – abbreviated to PV, refers to the conversion of light (radiant energy) into electricity (electrical energy) using semiconductors that are known to have the PV effect.
Photovoltaic Effect – abbreviated to PV effect, this is the phenomenon through which materials such as semiconductors can convert sunlight into electricity.
Circuit – a series of electrical devices (such as solar panels) connected together, usually in series.
Solar Cell – an electrical device that exploits the photovoltaic effect to generate DC electricity from sunlight.
Solar Module – a collection of solar cells built into one cohesive structure, such as a solar panel.
Shading – used to describe when a solar panel or solar tile is shaded for a portion of the day, making it less efficient at producing electricity.
kW – a unit of measurement, stands for kilowatt. (see more here)
kWh – a unit of measurement, stands for kilowatt hour.
What Is A Solar Powered Roof Tile?
A solar tile is a type of roofing tile that can generate electricity using solar cells built into the tile’s design. They can act as both a roofing tile and a way to generate electricity.
They are a fantastic way to discreetly invest in solar technology for a home or business while retaining a tiled roof.
How Are Solar Tiles Different From Solar Panels?
A solar panel is a collection of solar cells constructed into one solar module that takes the form of a flat panel. This panel is usually fixed to a roof or rack bolted onto a roof – on top of pre-existing roof tiles. Solar tiles are installed to replace your pre-existing roof tiles.
What Are The Benefits Of Solar Powered Roof Tiles?
When compared to a solar panel system, solar tiles have the following benefits:
- It can generate electricity more consistently due to shading being less of a problem. This is because solar tiles will cover a greater surface area on the roof, making them less susceptible to being shaded.
- They are low profile and look like regular roof tiles.
- They have a functional purpose as a waterproof tile and a solar energy generator.
- They are easier to clean.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Solar Roof Tiles?
While solar roof tiles are beneficial in many ways when compared to solar panels, they do have drawbacks when compared to panels such as:
- Installation involves replacing existing roof tiles.
- Solar tiles are more expensive than panels.
- Installation can take longer and involve more labour for installing solar tiles versus solar panels.
- Tiles cannot be removed and transported with you to a new home; solar panels can.
Where Can Solar Roof Tiles Be Used?
Tiles with solar cells can be used on various buildings, making them a versatile option for all kinds of homes or businesses.
Their versatility has made solar technology more accessible to those who may not be able to use solar panels for various reasons.
If your property has a tiled roof, you’ll more than likely be able to install solar tiles. Always consult with a solar tech expert beforehand!
How Much Do Solar Tiles Cost?
The cost of installing solar tiles will vary from project to project as every roof will differ. Generally, you can expect to spend:
- £5,000 - £7,000 on a 1 kW system
- £7,000 - £9,000 on a 2 kW system
- £10,000 - £12,000 on a 3 kW system
- £12,000 - £16,000 on a 4 kW system
An average household in the UK will use around 2,000 kWh and 3,000 kWh of electricity in a year. An SMB can use anything from 10,000 kWh to 50,000 kWh of electricity in a year.
Solar tiles, while they tend to be more expensive, come with many benefits compared to solar panel systems. For your solar setup, it is always advised to consult solar tech experts who can provide tailored advice based on your circumstances.
Always consult industry professionals before committing to a solar system.
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