Are you interested in having solar power at your home but don’t like the way rack-mounted photovoltaic panels jut up from the top of the house? Solar roof tiles may be your solution. With the right choice of tile and location, they can be just as efficient, but because they blend in with conventional roofing materials, they are much less noticeable from the street.
What Are Solar Tiles?
Just like conventional solar panels, solar tiles for your roof consist of strong, shatter-resistant glass over photovoltaic cells. When the sun hits a cell, chemical reactions produce an electric current. The current from many cells is collected, run through an inverter to convert it from direct current to alternating current, and is integrated with your house’s electrical system. If the solar array produces more power than the house needs at the moment, the excess goes onto your electrical utility’s grid.
The advantage of solar roofing tiles is that instead of being mounted on a rack over the existing roof, the pv roof tiles themselves are the roofing. They lie flush with the rest of the roof and creating a seamless, more aesthetically-pleasing look. They can stand up to wind, snow, and hail.
What’s the difference between solar shingles and solar tiles for roofs? Functionally, none. It’s only their size and shape, to allow them to match different types of materials.
Who Makes Them?
CertainTeed and Suntegra are two well-known manufacturers. Tesla has just started manufacturing solar power roof tiles as well, with models that will imitate slate, shakes, and Mediterranean tile.
How Do They Go On The Roof?
Solar panel roof tiles are easiest to install when putting up a new building or reroofing an existing one. Since there are no mounting brackets or racks needed, installation is faster and less expensive than for conventional solar panels on roof, according to Suntegra. For best results, they should be placed by a contractor who is familiar with the product and certified by the manufacturer.
What is the Cost of Solar Roof Tiles?
Less than it was a few years ago! According to a recent post in Scientific American, the average cost of a CertainTeed residential array is around $20,000, which makes them competitive with standard panels. With federal, state and local incentives, the cost can be brought down to half that in some areas. Energy.gov, the website of the federal Department of Energy, notes that the costs of obtaining local permits, meeting zoning requirements, installing the system, and connecting to the grid may add to the outlay.
A Word of Caution
Rack-mounted systems have one big advantage: they can be angled to collect the maximum amount of sunlight. Roof tile solar panels are limited by the direction and slope of the roof. That can reduce the amount of power they produce. For the greatest efficiency and quickest payback, they should be installed either on new construction sited for optimum PV production or on a carefully chosen existing roof. The payoff is free clean power and a potential increase in the resale value of your house.
Contact Us Today
If you think solar pv tiles might be right for you and you are ready to learn more, please call us or fill out the form on the “Contact Us” page of our website. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff can help you determine your needs, find the right type of system for your site, and estimate costs and electrical yield. We look forward to hearing from you!