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Over the past few years, solar roof tiles have gained popularity with property owners who want to take advantage of the sun’s free energy without having to install unsightly roof-mounted solar panels. Alternatives names for these tiles include slates, PV roof tiles or solar shingles.
There are pros and cons associated with installing solar roof tiles instead of the traditional solar panels, with the main disadvantage being the higher cost. For example, a 3 kW solar panel installation can cost between £3,800 and £6,000, whereas obtaining the same results with a solar roof tile installation can run as high as £12,500.
Many new homes are now being built with solar tiles instead of panels and the families who purchase these properties will enjoy significant benefits in the form of reduced electricity costs. More and more owners of older properties are also making enquiries about whether solar roof tiles will be economically feasible or not.
Many property owners don’t like the appearance of solar panels, feeling that they hide the roof’s natural beauty and look somewhat unsightly and that property values would be affected. Solar roof tiles have been designed especially for people like these.
Any home that is a listed building or that is located within a conservation area will require planning permission before solar roof tiles can be fitted. However, it’s recommended that all property owners check with their local council to find out what the regulations are with regards to installing these tiles before going ahead with the project.
These tiles will be a wise investment choice by virtually any property owner who wants to add value to their home, while also decreasing their electricity bills over time.
Research that was carried out by Tesla Roof Shingles in the US revealed that property owners would benefit from at least a 10% increase in the value of their homes after solar roof tiles had been installed.
The Energy Savings Trust has also noted that a home with solar roof tiles installed on it will be able to generate more than £7,000 in cash over a period of 25 years. This information has been passed on payments that have been made under the Feed-in Tariff system, along with the savings that have been achieved against previous electricity bills.
The government has implemented this system and it’s been split into two sections – a generation tariff and an export tariff.
The generation tariff enables your household to earn income for each kWh of electricity that your solar roof tiles can generate, while the export tariff pays you for every kWh of electricity that your household doesn’t use. This is then sold to the National Grid.
The current generation tariff is 3.93 p per kWh, while the export tariff is 5.03 p per kWh.
Before you will be allowed to enroll in the Feed-in Tariff system, you will have to ensure that your solar tiles are purchased from an accredited provider of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).
You will obtain your solar roof tile installer’s certificate once the installation has been completed. After you have this documentation, you’ll be able to apply for and take advantage of both major government incentive schemes, namely the Renewable Heat Incentive and the Feed-in Tariff.
Once you’ve successfully registered, you’ll being obtaining payments from the Feed-in Tariff scheme. These payments will continue being made for twenty years and they will not be subject to any form of tax. They will also not count towards your personal tax allowance.
After your solar roof tiles have been installed, they will be able to generate much of the electricity that your family needs and uses. This will in turn reduce the amount of electricity that you’ll have to buy from your local service provider.
When based on an electricity account of £700 per year, your household could save more than 50% on these annual charges by having a 4 kWh solar roof tile system installed. A 1 kWh system, which is currently the smallest option, can enable you to save around 15% on your yearly electricity bill.
Solar roof tiles work in exactly the same way as the traditional solar panel systems.
These tiles absorb heat and energy from the sun and convert them into usable electricity by using the photovoltaic process. This process creates an electrical field, which is then converted into the electricity that’s needed to provide power to your home.
A connection point will either be installed in your roof space or loft area, and this joins the solar tiles to electrical cables and an inverter unit. Solar roof tiles create what’s referred to as DC power, and the inverter converts this to the AC power that is needed to supply electricity for the items in your home.
Higher amounts of solar tiles will obviously be able to generate higher percentages of electricity
over time. Some aspects that will also affect the amount of energy being created include:
When your solar roof tiles produce more energy than that, which is needed by your household, any surplus will be fed back to the National Grid. You will then receive payment for this by means of the Feed-in Tariff.
More and more property owners are choosing to store surplus electricity that’s been generated, and having a solar battery storage system installed can enable them to do this.
An advantage of storing excess electricity is that it will be cheaper to use this stored energy that it will be to purchase it from your energy service provider through the National Grid. In the event of a power outage, you would also be able to use this stored electricity to provide power to your home.
At present, the two main companies providing solar roof tiles are TESLA and SolarCentury.
This California-based company is most well known for its development, production and sale of upmarket electric vehicles. Initially, a few of the company’s employees had tested the tiles and their satisfaction is what resulted in them being launched for sale by TESLA’s solar division. They are sold under the brand name of, “Solar City.”
The company opened their solar tile retail division in the UK, meaning that these tiles can be purchased locally.
TESLA has also stated that these tiles are three times stronger than other roof tiles, and they can be purchased in smooth, slate, textured and Tuscan styles. An unlimited warranty is provided on the tiles themselves and the company assures clients that they will be able to create energy for a minimum of 30 years after being installed.
Since SolarCentury launched in 1988 in the UK, more than 25,000 homes in the country have had these tiles installed.
At present, the company manufactures three different solar roof tiles:
Monocrystalline technology has been incorporated into the company’s tiles, and these units are produced from the highest-grade silicon inglots. The main benefit of these tiles is that they enjoy the highest energy efficient rating out of the three main forms of solar power. However, this technology does also make them more expensive than other solar tiles.
The company provides a 25 year power guarantee on these tiles, along with a 10 year tile warranty. This provides homeowners with peace of mind in knowing that support will be provided in the event of anything going wrong.
Tiles produced by SolarCentury generate and produce more energy than TESLA’s tiles, allowing the company’s customers to save a higher amount of money on energy bills.
Where warranty periods are concerned, TESLA has the upper hand because its power generation warranty and tile warranty are superior to those being provided by SolarCentury. The company also has more tile styles and designs to choose from, allowing property owners to customise the look of their solar installations.
Before choosing between solar panels and solar tiles, there are some aspects to consider:
Solar tiles are far more discreet than panels, and research has shown that the tiles have the ability to increase the value of your home over time. Your warranty will cover up to 30 years of electricity generation, allowing you to see a return on your investment annually for the next 30 years.
If you’re dissuaded by the appearance of bulky solar panels, roof tiles will be the best option for you. Property owners in listed buildings and/or conservation areas stand more chance of being granted planning permission for the tiles because they won’t detract too much from the original appearance of a property.
Solar tiles can be quite challenging to retrofit, meaning that you will most likely have to perform a complete roof replacement before they can be installed. This can be quite a costly exercise.
Solar tiles can cost as much as double the price of traditional panels, and the price difference is not likely to narrow between then anytime soon. Reasons for this include the fact that there are fewer market competitors producing them and the market for them will most likely always be somewhat smaller than that for solar panels.
Solar tiles are not as efficient and traditional panels. They generate less energy than solar panels that cover the same amount of surface area on a roof. Although you’ll most likely benefit from an increase in the value of your home after having them installed, the pay out on your Feed-in Tariff will be smaller for up to 20 years because less surplus electricity is being generated.
A standard 1 kWh solar system that is mounted on your roof can cost between £4,500 and £6,500, and you can expect an increase of about £2,200 for each additional kWh that is installed thereafter.
It’s crucial to ensure that an accredited professional performs your solar tile installation. We have a number of professionals in our network, all of who will be able to install a solar roof tile system at the best possible prices. If you would like to obtain up to four free quotes from experienced solar tile installers or companies, simply fill in our basic contact form today. We look forward to working with you.