What are solar roof tiles?
Made from the same materials as solar panels, solar roof tiles generate electricity directly from sunlight while providing the performance and appearance of standard roof tiles.
The integrated photovoltaic (PV) tiles can be installed as part of a new build property or as a roof replacement, but not into an existing roof.
Types and styles of solar roof tiles
There are several styles available to choose from when it comes to solar tiles, so there should be something suitable for most properties.
Smooth glass tiles
Smooth glass tiles have been designed for modern homes. The contemporary, clean-cut appearance is targeted at higher-end properties.
Textured glass tiles
Textured glass tiles are styled to fit in with old homes and historic buildings.
French slate tiles
French slate tiles give a hand-crafted appearance for a more natural aesthetic.
Tuscan glass tiles match the type often seen on European-style homes, based on a design that dates back to the Greek and Roman times.
The cost and savings of solar roof tiles
The addition of solar roof tiles is a smart method to reduce annual electricity costs while adding value to your property.
It will cost between £5,000 and £7,000 to fit a 1kW system to your roof, with the price likely to rise by approximately £2,500 for every additional kW. *1
What are the savings?
The installation of solar roof tiles will generate electricity, saving you money on your fuel bills.
Reducing your energy bills
A 4kW solar roof tile system could save you more than 50% of the household’s annual energy costs, based on an electricity bill of £600 a year. A 1kW system, the smallest option, could provide a saving closer to 15%. *2
Who manufactures solar tiles?
There are three main manufacturers of solar tiles for the UK market – Tesla, Solecco Solar and GB Sol.
Solar City is the brand name of solar tiles from Tesla, the California-based company that is better known for its electric-powered vehicles. Offering an unlimited warranty on the tiles, Tesla claims they are three times stronger than standard roofing tiles and guarantee that they will produce energy for at least 30 years from purchase.
Solecco Solar launched its innovative solar roof tile in 2017. Manufactured in Leeds, the 19mm tiles come with a competitive 17.9% efficiency and are integrated into roofing via a unique interlocking method. The tiles are available in slate grey and natural terracotta. *3
Based in Pontypridd, Wales, GB Sol have been manufacturing solar panels for more than 20 years. GB Sol’s solar slate tile is natural blue in design, allowing it to be installed alongside standard slates. Covered by a 10-year product and power guarantee, each slate can produce 35W of power in ideal conditions. *4
What to ask an installer
- How efficient are the tiles? This will vary depending on the manufacturer of the tiles.
- What number of tiles do you need? The more tiles installed the more electricity they will generate.
- Will the tiles work with a solar battery? The solar battery would store surplus energy generated by your roof.
- What position is your roof? Solar tiles are not recommended for north facing roofs, east or west will work well, while south facing works best.
Using a HIES member
All HIES Accredited Installers are continually vetted in many areas in order to give consumers trust, confidence and peace of mind.Find your nearest HIES installer
How do solar roof tiles compare to solar panels?
There are three main factors that you will need to consider when choosing between solar roof tiles and solar panels:
Solar roof tiles are much more discreet than solar panels, making them a more obvious choice for listed buildings or properties in conservation areas.
Solar roof tiles are approximately double the price of solar panels. They are also very difficult to retrofit, meaning that it is likely an entire roof would need to be replaced in order to install solar roof tiles, making it a very big investment.
Solar roof tiles are not as efficient as solar panels and will produce less electricity from the same surface coverage. *5
How do solar tiles integrate with a roof?
Solar roof tiles are built into the structure of the roof itself, ensuring that they will blend in as much as possible. This means it isn’t possible to integrate solar roof tiles into an existing roof, it’s only a viable option for new build projects or if replacing an entire roof.
The installation process
Solar tiles are fitted in the same way as standard tiles, meaning that a professional roofer can carry out the installation. However, a solar electricity professional will be required to wire them together.Find your nearest HIES installer