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Should you replace your roof with solar shingles. Solteq solar roof

Should you replace your roof with solar shingles. Solteq solar roof

    Should you replace your roof with solar shingles?

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    Arrow Right Senior editor, Home Lending

    Troy Segal is a senior editor for Bankrate. She edits stories about Homeownership in addition to stories about the finer points of mortgages and home equity loans.

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    Any homeowner who’s concerned about carbon footprints and energy costs has considered solar power — usually, in the shape of solar panels. But now there’s another option: an entire solar roof.

    Solar roofs are composed of solar shingles, aka solar tiles, that can fit over existing shingles or be installed on their own. So the energy-harvesting ability is baked into the roof itself. The shingles do everything regular shingles do, roof-wise (protect your house from the elements), are fire-resistant, and are quite durable. Plus, they look a lot more sleek and seamless than solar panels.

    If you’re considering replacing your roof (or are building a new one for a new home), solar shingles may be a particularly timely choice. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in August 2022, offers enhanced tax credits of up to 30 percent of the cost of installations, increasing the incentive to go solar.

    Let’s shed more light on the subject.

    What are solar shingles?

    Solar shingles or tiles are like regular roof shingles. But instead of being made of asphalt, clay or slate, they are made of glass that contain photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells act as semiconductors and transfer energy collected from the sunlight into electrons, which can then become electrical current to power your home. Each shingle typically produces between 13 and 63 watts of energy, depending on the brand (one of the latest, by industry leader Tesla, claims to have a max power of 71 watts). While they both convert sunlight to energy, solar shingles are quite different from the solar panels (we’ll dig into the differences later).

    The first solar shingles were developed by DOW Chemical Company, rolling out in 2011. But the concept began to get serious traction in 2016, when Tesla purchased manufacturer Solar City and began offering what it deemed the Tesla Solar Roof. Today, there are several brands of the solar roof tiles available through manufacturers like CertainTeed, GAF Energy, Luma, SunTegra and of course Tesla. (Dow dropped out of the game.)

    The average size of a solar shingle or tile is about 12 inches wide by 86 inches long. It takes about 350 solar tiles for a standard-size roof. Tiles weigh about 13 pounds per square foot, so most roofs can handle them without additional reinforcement.

    What do solar shingles cost?

    Although the have been dropping of late, as more makers enter the market, solar roofs are expensive. On average, the cost to install solar roof shingles runs 21 to 25 per square foot or 2,100 to 2,600 per roofing square. So a total project could easily average 60,000 to 75,000 — at least. That’s considerably higher than the cost of a conventional roof (between 5,646 and 12,031. according to HomeAdvisor). Even expensive traditional materials like clay or slate (800 to 1,800 per square) cost less than solar tile.

    What solar roof tiles will cost you depends on several factors including:

    • Roof size: The bigger the roof, the more shingles needed.
    • Roof pitch/slope: As is the case with any roof, the more extreme the angling, the more difficult/risky the installation will be, which affects the overall cost.
    • Home location: Labor (installation) costs vary by city and state.
    • Energy needs of your home.
    • Particular manufacturer/brand of shingle or tile.

    Still, solar shingle have dropped since their introduction, and they may continue to do so, given the Inflation Reduction Act’s significant incentives and grants for solar implementation, for builders as well as consumers. The Solar Energy Industries Association believes that the IRA’s investment in clean energy will spur “a renaissance in American solar manufacturing,” driving down costs. as its recent “Catalyzing American Solar Manufacturing” report put it.

    What do you save in energy costs?

    While expensive to install, a solar roof can save in the long run. Depending on the number of tiles on your roof, solar shingles can reduce energy costs by anywhere from 40 to 60 percent, according to the consumer education site SolarReviews. Additionally, you may be eligible for federal and state tax incentives.

    Helping the immediate bite a bit: Per the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, eligible homeowners who install solar shingles will qualify for a 30 percent tax credit on the installation cost. Starting in tax year 2023, this credit continues through 2032 (and then at a reduced percentage through 2034). Several states offer credits, rebates and other incentives as well.

    Solar shingles vs solar panels

    Both solar shingles and solar panels can be a great option to take your home energy efficiency to the next level. But which is best for you? The advantages of each in a nutshell:

    Solar shingles Solar panels
    weather-resistant and durable Can be more energy-efficient depending on roof slope, sunlight exposure
    Greater energy-bill savings Shorter installation time
    aesthetically pleasing (fewer potential HOA issues) inexpensive to install

    What are the advantages of a solar roof?

    When compared to conventional roofs and solar panels, there are some advantages to investing in solar shingles.

    • They are projected to be long-lasting (30-40 years)
    • They reduce energy use/carbon footprint and bills
    • They blend in better and resemble traditional roof materials
    • They are more cost effective per watt of solar energy than solar panels
    • They are easier to maintain than solar panels

    What are the disadvantages of a solar roof?

    Downsides of solar shingles relate to their being such a new technology.

    • Availability is more limited
    • They are more expensive than conventional roofs and solar panels
    • They have fewer style and color options
    • Since part of the roof itself, they cannot be installed at an angle like solar panels can, to produce maximum energy
    • They are not conducive to a DIY installation

    The final word on solar shingles

    Solar shingles are still pretty new, which means experienced installers and contractors may be limited in your area. And their exact lifespan and durability is still something of a question mark, of course: None have been around long enough to prove the current projections. Nor is there much sense, as yet, as to how they’d affect a house’s resale value (though eco-friendly features, in general, are getting more popular with homebuyers).

    Still, if you’re an environmentally-conscious homeowner in need of a full roof replacement or a roof for a new build, solar shingles are worth considering. With some states now requiring that newly built homes be solar power-equipped, and enhanced federal tax credits in effect starting in 2023, the time to go solar may be now.

    Solar Panels vs. Tesla Solar Roof: The Key Differences

    It’s pretty obvious when you have solar panels. Less so if you have Tesla’s Solar Roof. But there’s a price to pay for that sleek design.

    When you think of solar power systems. you probably imagine the classic solar array : some black panels that point toward the sky and absorb the energy of the sun’s light and convert it into usable electricity. But if you look closely at the roofs of some houses, you might notice a surprise.

    In 2016, Tesla.- yes, that Tesla.- introduced something novel. Instead of solar panels that sit in your front yard or stand out on the roof, Tesla decided to turn every shingle into a solar panel. The Tesla Solar Roof replaces an existing roof and captures sunlight to help power your home in a clean and streamlined manner.

    There are some significant downsides, namely that the Tesla Solar Roof is quite expensive. (Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment.)

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    For homeowners interested in solar energy, that creates the ultimate question: Should you go with the standard solar panel system or try the less intrusive.- but pricey.- Tesla Solar Roof? To help you with your buying questions, I have compiled the biggest differences between the two solar options below.

    Solar panels

    Solar panels should be relatively familiar by now, as they have been gaining popularity and have become more affordable in recent years. An array can be located on your roof or set to stand in your yard, depending on what works best for you. While there are a variety of different brands and types of panels, they all offer a clean energy alternative to fossil fuel sources like coal or natural gas. These panels can be expensive, and some are more difficult to install than others. But for the most part, you can expect cheaper energy bills, a smaller carbon footprint and increased property value.

    Tesla Solar Roof

    Instead of using panels, the Tesla Solar Roof turns your entire roof into your solar array. The Tesla solar roof uses tempered glass panels that replace your standard shingles, providing the same protection you’d expect from a traditional roof while also capturing solar energy. The Tesla Solar Roof is novel, but less proven and harder to transfer to another home if you move because they are custom made for each roof.

    Solar panels or a Tesla Solar Roof?

    Pricing

    Price is a tricky thing when it comes to solar systems, as a lot of it is going to be dependent on what your house and property is capable of supporting. There is the cost of solar panels, the infrastructure needed to support them, the installation costs.- and you have to account for the actual capacity of the system. In both cases, you can get tax credits and other incentives for installing these systems, so that will help to ease the price somewhat. Research suggests solar panels cost between 15,000 to 25,000 to buy and install.

    Can solar panels save you money?

    Interested in understanding the impact solar can have on your home? Enter some basic information below, and we’ll instantly provide a free estimate of your energy savings.

    For the sake of simplicity: conventional solar panels are cheaper than the Tesla solar roof in terms of the overall cost. Tesla has also had some challenges keeping the price down for its solar roof system, which has been a point of issue for some people. Price estimates suggest can scale from 30,000 to 75,000, with some people reporting installation costs as high as 100,000.

    Installation

    The installation process for solar energy systems can be complicated. In general, traditional solar panels are easier because they can be installed in different places depending on the layout of your property.- either on your roof or on the ground. The Tesla Solar Roof can only be installed on your roof, obviously, and is a bit more of a to-do since it requires replacing your entire roof. There are fewer contractors familiar with the Tesla solar roof system than conventional panels, so this can create challenges in finding a capable installer.

    Solar power capabilities

    Both the Tesla Solar Roof and traditional solar panels will have a similar ability to meet your power needs, although your ability to scale your solar power system to your electricity needs might be more limited with the Tesla Solar Roof compared to panels. It will likely be easier to expand a setup with traditional solar panels in the future if you find your electricity needs have increased.

    Mobility and longevity

    One downside of the Tesla Solar Roof is the fact that it really can’t move with you. Because it is custom-fit to the roof of your home, you can’t pack it up and install it on another home. Conventional solar panels offer a bit more flexibility here, as you could potentially take your solar system with you.- though you may want to leave it to benefit from the boost in property value that they provide.

    Winner for most: Solar panels

    For now, conventional solar panels are the safer bet if you are looking to make the switch to solar power. They are a proven product. They are also typically cheaper and offer a bit more flexibility in terms of how you install them.

    Tesla’s Solar Roof shows a lot of promise, but the custom tiles can be cost-prohibitive and early troubles with the product make it hard to recommend at this stage. Future versions of the Tesla Solar Roof may improve and make good on the promising concept. For now, stick with what works so you can save on your energy bill and shrink your carbon footprint.

    The latest on solar shingles, solar roofs and solar tiles

    There are many words used to describe unconventional solar PV technologies used on rooftops. Within the “building-applied” category — basically anything that isn’t traditional solar panels attached to racks — terms like solar roofs, solar shingles and solar tiles are becoming more common, especially after Elon Musk and Tesla announced their solar roof idea in 2016. While the Tesla solar roof has yet to show successful application besides a few pilot installations, there are plenty of building-applied solar products on the market right now for homeowners looking for something different than the status solar quo.

    Rackless solar systems

    CertainTeed’s Apollo II solar shingles

    There are two building-applied solar veterans that make what they call solar shingles but may be better described as small, rectangular solar panels that are installed without traditional racking systems. CertainTeed’s Apollo II solar shingles are installed alongside asphalt shingles. The 63-W monocrystalline solar panels are about 46 in. long and 17 in. wide — bigger than asphalt shingles but smaller than traditional solar panels. SunTegra has two building-applied products, also using monocrystalline solar panels that are bigger than the surrounding shingles. The SunTegra Shingle is about 52 in. long and 20 in. wide and rates at 110 W. The SunTegra Tile is also about 52 in. long but 14 in. wide and produces 70 W. The CertainTeed and SunTegra products are attached to the roofing deck for a sleek solar look not often achieved by elevated racks.

    GAF Energy’s DecoTech product

    GAF Energy has a solar system that similarly attaches to the deck. GAF Energy’s DecoTech system installs full-sized solar panels without traditional racking in the middle of a roof, while normal asphalt shingles are still used along the perimeter. The GAF Energy system offers low-profile aesthetics with a more traditional solar power output.

    Dow was a leader in “solar shingles” until it dropped out of the business in 2016. The original Dow Powerhouse product used CIGS thin-film solar cells mounted to the roof decking, with traditional roofing shingles or tiles around the perimeter. One of the larger problems with Dow’s design was that the thin-film solar cells got very hot with little ventilation that close to the roof, so power output decreased. In 2017, national solar installer RGS Energy bought the Powerhouse brand from Dow and began marketing improved solar shingles, this time made with monocrystalline solar cells. The 41-in. long, 13-in. wide Powerhouse 3.0 solar panels have been rated at about 55 W. RGS Energy announced in 2019 it was ditching its residential installation arm to FOCUS exclusively on Powerhouse solar shingle sales. (2020 UPDATE: RGS Energy has filed for bankruptcy.)

    Sunflare’s prototype solar shingles on display at SPI 2018

    One company that is still trying the CIGS thin-film route is flexible panel manufacturer Sunflare. The company brought prototype four-cell solar shingles to Solar Power International 2018 and expects to have a finalized product by 2021 (as confirmed to Solar Power World). It’s unclear by looking at the prototype shingles whether the product would be installed with traditional roofing shingles or as a full roof, but Sunflare said it will FOCUS on new roof installations.

    Solar shingles and tiles

    When solar shingles and solar tiles are sized to look like traditional roofing products, the result can be a more uniformly designed solarized roof. Luma Solar designs custom solar roofs, using 54-in. long and 15-in. wide, 65-W polycrystalline solar panels (or 75-W monocrystalline panels) connected together for the entire roof span. Similarly sized metal panels are used along the roof perimeter or where solar cells can’t perform. The Luma solar shingles blend in with the non-solar metal panels for a uniform look.

    DeSol Power Tiles also has a solar roof but uses individual polypropylene tiles similar in shape to traditional roofing tiles. An entire roof is installed, with some of the tiles having 17-W monocrystalline solar cells embedded. The tiles are screwed to battens on the roof plywood level. The roof looks uniform in design, although the solar tiles are shinier than the solid, polymer tiles.

    A DeSol Power Tiles installation

    Hanergy is rolling out two CIGS thin-film solar tile products: the curved HanTile and the flat Thin Film Flat SOLARtile. Both are installed among other non-solar-generating tiles. The HanTile roof installation looks less obviously like solar than the flat tiles. (2020 UPDATE: Hanergy subsidiaries have been working through bankruptcies.)

    Tesla’s solar roof — if we see more installations soon — is definitely the more aesthetically pleasing solar tile choice. The company is manufacturing solar cells hidden behind tempered glass, and matching non-solar tiles are used along the roofing edge. Tesla’s tiles are 14 in. long and about 8.5 in. wide, with an unknown power output. The solar tiles are manufactured in Tesla’s Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York, that it also shares with Panasonic. It’s assumed that the Solar Roof tiles use crystalline silicon cell technology from Panasonic. Similar to other true solar shingle and tile products, Tesla’s solar tiles replace an entire roof, so other, more traditional roofing tiles are not used.

    Another Silicon Valley hopeful, Forward has a unique solarized roof product that isn’t solar shingles nor just deck-attached solar panels. The company claims to make what it calls “solar roof panels” — long, skinny monocrystalline silicon solar panels that (in the case of Forward’s metal roof offering) have optically enhanced glass fronts to camouflage into the roof or (in the case of Forward’s tile roof offering) have individual glass tiles over top that concentrate the sun’s rays. The solar roof panels, which have traditional aluminum frames, polymer-based backsheets and junction boxes, are about 21.5-in. wide and can be up to 18- to 20-ft long — all custom to the individual home’s roof size, Forward CEO Zach Taylor told Solar Power World. The solar panels can’t be seen from the ground, and the roof just looks like a normal metal or tile roof, with the invisible added benefit of solar generation.

    It is unknown how many actual Forward solar roofs have been completed in the San Francisco Bay Area since installation began in July 2018, and no photos of the roofs are available for publication. Solar Power World did speak with the company about its solar production methods but cannot confirm if installations have been completed. Since publication of this article in April 2019, there have been multiple claims of fraud against the company.

    One thing is for sure, solar customers who prefer to have integrated roof designs have plenty of options, with more on the way in the near future.

    About The Author

    Kelly Pickerel

    Kelly Pickerel has over a decade of experience reporting on the U.S. solar industry and is currently editor in chief of Solar Power World.

    Комментарии и мнения владельцев

    Kelly, You should look into “Easy Roof”, which is a product that makes standard solar panels waterproof. This product works with most 60 cell solar panels. Because of this, the cost is much lower than all other building integrated products. It also allows ventilation which means it experiences less energy losses due to heat. Every other roof product I have seen doesn’t have a way to keep the solar cells cool unless you build a false roof for ventilation purposes which adds a substantial cost. You can get some basic info on our website at http://www.empirecleanenergy.com

    Hi Kelly, Please, Please help get the word out about Forward Roofs! We, too lost our 1,000 deposit made in May…calls go directly to voicemail, calls NEVER returned…emails NEVER responded to…frustrating! Hoping Capital One will come through and refund our deposit. If not, looks like we have to get in line to sue for our refund. Too bad, seemed like such an awesome product, we were excited to have a Forward Metal Roof! Who do we contact about their web site still being up? Please look into a product called Smart Flower. This is what we are going with instead of a Forward Roof. Your readers can rest assured the Smart Flower really exists…we saw it in Philly. Thanks, Robyn Betterly

    Never understood why we should give a 1000 deposit for the needed information of details installation cost, kw per our production, battery system, and transformer. The so call Giga factory of Tesla in Buffalo last year actually was reported to dismissed a large number of worker and chaos reigned in the factory. The idea of photo-voltaic roof shingles is great, Mr Musk should concentrate on letting the consumer know what it cost install such system to become independent from the grid. I would welcome complete information for a project using 27 kw/hr.

    We also had an experience with that Forward Labs they are scammers! We contracted to them but failed to do the job description. We are considering to sue them.

    Jordan, Don’t bother suing them as they will just ignore the complaint. Instead, contact the State Contractors Licensing Board as they have already investigated Zach and Forward and as a result criminal charges have been filed against Zach. Forward is not a licensed contractor.

    I had put down a 1000 deposit last July and had Zach out here last month not knowing that there were all these issues with him and the company. Luckily, I decided not to accept his contract but now I have been chasing Zach for my deposit back. Looks like there may be quite a few people that they have scammed out of their money. I will contact the State Contractors Licensing Board but if they are not licensed contractors, then I don’t know if they can do anything. But it looks like there are criminal charges, so I will reach out to Contra Costa County as well. In the meantime, word needs to get out that this company is a scam because it looks like their website is still active and therefore probably collecting more deposits.

    Great, informative article. I too have been looking into 3-in-1 solar tiles and wondered if you knew anything about them. Thank you, Geoff

    Can I invite a review of solteq.eu for what appears to be the truely functional solar tile? We welcome your research and reader Комментарии и мнения владельцев.

    Great article. As a still-working senior with a business in northern NJ, I see solar, in some more fashionable form than now being used, as a way to significantly cut back on residential operating expenses as state real estate taxes continue to rise.

    For a long time I have wondered when someone would come up with “chameleon” shingles. During the winter shingles would be dark (absorb sun’s rays and keep crawl space warm) and during the summer would be capable of becoming a lighter color (reflect sun’s rays and keep crawl space cooler).

    Kelly, Please review Forward Labs in your article. They are a scam solar company. They have people sign up for 1000 deposits and then don’t return the money. Forward Labs doesn’t have a Contractors License in California, plus they are involved in 3 lawsuits. As of now, they don’t have a physical address and their phones only go to recording. Your readers need to be aware of this sketchy business.

    Thanks, Jim. As I was unable to confirm if Forward roofs have been installed, I made sure to reference that in the article. I have been following online coverage of the company for awhile and fear you may be right. I will continue to look into their claims.

    Where can one find information about the lawsuits against Forward Labs? We are also in the same boat having made a deposit. Voicemails perpetually full and emails not returned. One user said they were in contract with the company in July 2018 and had put a large sum down only to have Forward disappear. They continue to do very well in presenting their product in review magazines.

    I was contacted by Zach, from Forward Roofing, earlier in the year but I did not move forward due to large amount of deposite required and why CEO is running around to make a sale to me. I also did research on Zach and found him to be a roofing guy and had complains about his company in the New York area, if I remember correctly. I called credit card company to get my money back after months of not answering their phone.

    One ‘other’ complaint of the “solar tiles” is the number of piercings through the roof. Then once inside the attic of the home, some sort of raceway where the individual panels will be wired in series/parallel to get the proper voltage to the house inverter. With the larger tiles being produced now, I imagine that it is still difficult to troubleshoot a panel wiring or panel power output problem. Look at the many ‘standard’ solar PV panel installations on roofs that have micro-inverters or conditioners attached to each panel. Devices that are individually addressable and can be monitored by a gateway one can purchase from the solar company. From a internet site one can tell which panel/converter or inverter is having a problem. A lot easier to troubleshoot than individual tiles and hard wiring. Now with packaged systems that include solar PV with energy storage, system monitoring and power use modeling will help the customer to program the best use of their solar PV with energy storage, for maximum payoff of their investment.

    Kelly, this is finally exciting! Now that the marketplace has options, the competitive landscape will allow the strong to survive. The consumer will benefit. I’m still waiting to hear about OM because if something breaks (things fall on roofs) or just doesn’t work, who’s going to fix them….

    CEO Carmen Bellavia- is a former roofer. He developed the product to be install friendly and extremely durable. Great guy and product, 3in1.com Not affiliated in anyway, would love to see a good product from a small company succeed.

    Great information on the panels and options but, what about the energy output and storage systems with each option. Can you point me to that information? I own a townhouse and so far haven’t been able to find a product that can power my home even though I get full direct sun. Have been told that roof area not large enough.for the number of panels needed, shingles are the answer, I’m sure but haven’t found a local company that installs them. It really is a huge untapped market, wish I had the brains and money to tap it.

    Tesla Roof Tile Availability in the UK

    As Tesla’s roof tiles are increasing in popularity across the US, other parts of the globe, such as the UK, will soon be able to take advantage of this solar power innovation. But when will they be available for purchase and installation in this part of the world? Tesla’s solar roof tiles are not currently available for UK residents; however, they are likely to hit the market sometime in 2023. In the meantime, several solar roof tiles made by companies other than Tesla are already ready for installation in the UK. Included below are all the details about the solar roof tile brands currently obtainable by UK residents and whether this technology is likely to be effective in this region.

    Are Tesla Roof Tiles Available in the UK?

    CHECK FOR UPDATES HERE: Tesla solar roof tiles have not yet been distributed in the UK, although you can check if they are available here. In October 2019, Tesla announced the release of the Tesla Solar Roof V3. Compared to the original solar tiles,the V3 has larger tiles, lower production costs, increased power density, and is simpler to install. There was skepticism regarding the functionality of the original version of the solar tiles due to the questionable cost-effectiveness of the technology and reduced energy production versus traditional solar panels; however, the V3 seeks to address this.

    When Will Tesla Roof Tiles Be Available in the UK?

    Tesla began taking pre-orders for solar roof tiles during the Spring of 2017. As part of the pre-order process, applicants are required to submit payment for the 1,000 deposit fee. As of October 2020, under 1,000 solar roof installations had been confirmed in the United States. You can anticipate installations ramping up in the United States and the rest of the world in the coming years. With the release of the V3, Elon Musk announced plans to streamline production at Tesla’s New York factory so that as many as 1,000 roofs could be manufactured and packaged per week. While there is no specific release date, you can expect Tesla solar roof tiles to begin hitting the UK’s markets sometime in 2023. Once they are installed, an infinity warranty will be applied to the roof tiles.

    Will the Tesla Roof Tile Be Worth It in the UK?

    The Tesla Solar Roof was first revealed to the public in 2016. Since then, the company has spent time adjusting its product as installations continue to occur in the United States. You can anticipate the Tesla roof tiles competing with the brands currently on the UK market in only a matter of time.

    Colors Available Tuscan Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Smooth Glass Tile
    Size (mm) 1140 x 430mm (per module)
    Energy Output (Watts) 24W
    Warranty 25 years
    Restrictions 2:12 to 20:12 roof pitch

    (Source: PV Magazine) Many people find these specs impressive, but although Tesla solar tiles come from a familiar brand name, will they be worth the cost once they are finally available in the UK?

    Benefits of the Tesla Roof Tiles

    As you can see from the above table, Tesla’s solar tiles will be available in 4 different color options. One of the Tesla roof’s significant advantages is the seamless integration with Tesla’s Powerwall home battery. The Powerwall home battery system is capable of storing energy for use at later times that are convenient, such as a power outage. The Powerwall battery system can be installed in conjunction with any approved solar energy panels or tiles. Still, if you install it with Tesla roof tiles, you may be able to reap the benefits of a bundle package rather than having to buy components separately. Tesla says that the average installation takes about a week to complete. Once the roof tiles have been put in place, you can conveniently monitor your solar system’s performance via the mobile Tesla app. The ability to monitor all aspects of your solar energy system, even while on the road, is not a feature that is common in the solar industry. Tesla also continues to reduce the cost of their Solar Roof tiles, making them more and more comparable to the less aesthetically-pleasing solar panels by the year (at least in terms of fees).

    How Much Does a Solar Roof Cost?

    Solar roof tiles do cost more than traditional solar panels. In the case of Tesla, you start with a 1,000 deposit during the pre-order process. Consumer Reports estimates that you can likely expect to pay somewhere in the territory of 60 Pounds (84 USD) per square meter. A solar roof may cost twice as much to install as a traditional solar panel setup. However, the costs of solar roof tiles continue to plummet at a Rapid rate. When Tesla released the newest version of their solar roof tiles, they advertised a 40% price drop from the previous version. Companies are often finicky with acute cost estimates; thus, you are certainly encouraged to contact any of the companies listed in this article for accurate cost estimates for your roof.

    Does Tesla Offer Discounts on Solar?

    Tesla solar is already the lowest cost-per-watt solar on the market, but are there any other ways to save money when ordering? In short, the only way to get a discount on Tesla solar products is by using an existing Tesla owners “referral link” when ordering. Tesla has did this same “referral program” concept with it’s vehicles and essentially it allows new customers to get a discount on their purchase by using an existing customers personal referral link. In regards to Tesla solar discounts, using a Tesla referral link when ordering will save you 300 off solar panels or 500 off solar roof. The referral discounts are typically only available for a limited time before Tesla stops offering the discount, so take advantage of the savings while you can.

    Solar Roof Tiles vs. Traditional Solar Panels

    • Are more aesthetically-pleasing because they take up less space
    • Actually weigh less than traditional roof tiles
    • Continue to improve in terms of efficiency so that power generation nearly matches traditional PV panels
    • Installation can be pricier and more complicated than traditional solar panels: roof tiles typically take about two weeks to install, while solar panels only take a day or two
    • You need to hire a roofing contractor who knows how to position the solar tiles properly

    As time progresses, solar roof tiles are becoming more of a practical energy solution for homeowners across the UK and the rest of the world. The efficiency of these products does continue to improve. Although, they still have to overcome the monocrystalline panels’ high-performance standards, which can reach efficiency ratings as high as 25%.

    Solar tiles are most beneficial in an environment where the aesthetics are of utmost importance. There are several circumstances in which this can become practical. Say, for example, you are restoring an old home and want to bring it into the next generation of energy use. You are likely to find that the solar tiles do a much better job of blending into the surroundings.

    Is it Worth It to Go Solar in the UK?

    The UK has a reputation for being damp and cloudy, although the fog historically associated with London was actually industrial smog. Despite this, you’d be surprised at how effective solar-powered systems can be, even in the UK.

    Per the Greater London Authority at the city hall, the UK has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of solar energy installations in the last decade. London’s average solar system can meet around 50% of the home’s total annual electricity demand, producing about 3.3 kW of electricity. Keep in mind, too, that solar roof tiles continue to become more effective at meeting energy demands.

    Where Can You Buy Solar Roof Tiles in the UK?

    The good news is that while the Tesla tiles are still in backorder, there are already brands available for purchase within the confines of the UK. If you are ready for installation, you are encouraged to weigh the pros and cons of these products against those that the Tesla solar tiles will eventually have to offer for UK residents.

    GB Sol

    The PV Slate by GB Sol is one of the options currently available to residents of the UK. These tiles are made in Wales, which is undoubtedly a bonus for property owners looking to invest in a product made just a stone’s throw from home.

    The PV Slate is specifically designed to be integrated with slate-style roofs. Some of its features include the following:

    Colors Available Common blue-grey slate color
    Size Each module is equivalent to 3 regular tiles
    Weight (kg) 3.5
    Energy Output (Watts) 35W (per module)
    Warranty 10 years plus a power generation warranty
    Restrictions Must be surrounded by normal slate tiles to fill in the gaps between the roof and the module and in locations where tiles have to be cut; the pitch must be at least 22 degrees, although a roof pitch of over 30 degrees is ideal

    GB-Sol has been in the game a long time. They designed their first solar roof tile way back in 1994. They also hold the great benefit of being manufactured within the confines of the UK. If you are looking for a seamless, natural blue-grey slate look, then you are encouraged to take a peek at what GB-Sol has to offer.

    Solecco

    Solecco solar roof tiles hit the UK market in 2020 and present themselves as a suitable alternative to the Tesla roof tiles for those who have not committed to the Tesla product. These tiles are made from recycled plastic instead of the glass used to make so many of the solar tiles currently on the market.

    Colors Available Black tiles with monocrystalline cells, red terracotta tiles with polycrystalline cells; 4 different shades of red and black dummy tiles are also available to enhance the aesthetics further
    Size (mm) 298mm x 335mm (per module)
    Weight (kg) 0.7 (excluding base tile)
    Energy Output (Watts) 15W per tile
    Warranty 30 year expected lifespan; actual warranty terms vary by product
    Restrictions Recommended 22.5-degree to 80-degree pitch: tiles are clipped together in a row and then connected to an inverter

    One of the main concerns with the solar roof shingles versus the traditional solar panels is the complicated installation process. However, Solecco claims that they can have the tiles installed on your home in a single day. This company is another option that calls the UK it’s home, with their head office being located in Leeds.

    BiSolar

    BiSolar roof tiles are a recent addition to the solar technology market. This unique solar roof tile was designed and patented by a company that lives and breathes in the UK, Roof Tiles Technology Ltd. The company’s two founders lay claim to more than 70 years of experience in the UK and global roof tile markets.

    Colors Available Dark Grey
    Size (mm) 445mm x 300mm x 4mm
    Weight (kg) 6 (including both tile and PV)
    Energy Output (Watts) 18W
    Warranty 25 year performance guarantee
    Restrictions 25-30% more expensive than a standard Solar Panel Setup

    This product does not appear to be widely available for purchase yet, as the company website features a call to action for interested stakeholders to seize the opportunity to take advantage of this technology.

    What sets BiSolar apart from the rest is the design meant to allow for the seamless integration of these tiles with a pre-existing roof. The company claims that you will not have to make any modifications to your existing roof.

    SolteQ

    SolteQ is a PV roof tile made in Germany and is available for distribution in the UK. These tiles are made out of a 4mm solid prismatic safety glass. These products do come with an impressive 40-year guarantee that is described in further detail below.

    Colors Available Blue (economy option), Black Slate (premium), Black Slate 24 Carat Gold Stripes, Terracotta, Beaver Series (black, purple, blue, green, orange, red), and a multitude of other colors and styles
    Size (mm) 420 x 580mm (per module)
    Weight (kg) 14 (per square meter)
    Energy Output (Watt peak) 29, 58 Wp
    Warranty 40-year performance guarantee: in 40 years, the tiles will produce at least 80% of the energy that they produce today; the official warranty terms include 5 years of coverage that can be expanded to 20 years
    Restrictions The company may require that a specially-licensed contractor install the tiles

    Disclaimer: The technical data here most applies to the Marley SolteQ Tile. Specific data will vary with product design, although this provides you with a good idea of what SolteQ’s product line is capable of.

    replace, your, roof, solar, shingles, solteq

    SolteQ appears to offer many different types of solar roof tiles, certainly more so than much of the competition in the UK. Their most unique product may be their Beaver tile series designed for integration with historical buildings and is approved by the historical building protection authority in Germany.

    The company also advertises the SolteQ tiles as being easy to install:

    replace, your, roof, solar, shingles, solteq
    • The PV tiles hang directly onto the wooden tiles underneath.
    • There are two hooks on the backside of the wooden tiles that allow for the solar portion to be fixed to the wood base.
    • There is no need for an aluminum base under the PV tiles.

    Are There Tax Incentives for Solar Power in the UK?

    Historically, governments worldwide have incentivized the implementation of solar panels with special tax credits for both residents and businesses. The intent of these programs has always been to offset the enormous upfront costs of solar technology.

    In recent years, these programs have been altered in response to the increased affordability of solar-powered equipment. This is the case regardless of whether you are talking about solar panels, solar batteries, or appliances. That being said, tax incentives for solar power do still exist in the UK.

    Here are the details about some incentives that you may be able to take advantage of:

    Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

    This is the only solar panel/roof incentive program that is currently available to new applicants. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) took effect on January 1, 2020.

    Here is how SEG works: small-scale energy generators with a low carbon output receive payments for the amount of electricity they can export out to the grid.

    The stipulations of the program are as follows:

    • All homeowners with regular solar systems up to 5MW in capacity are eligible.
    • The home must be fitted with a Smart meter that is capable of monitoring energy exports.
    • The majority of energy suppliers offer a tariff for homeowners who have a solar battery installed in their home (like the Tesla Powerwall, for instance).
    • All licensed energy companies must offer an export tariff to all customers.
    • Energy companies with less than 150,000 customers are allowed to partake in the program on a voluntary basis.

    In Summary

    Tesla Solar Roof Tiles are not yet available in the UK, although you can still pre-order the latest and greatest solar roof that Tesla has to offer with the recent release of the V3 roof tiles. Tesla has offered these at a price that is significantly reduced from the price of their original offerings.

    In the meantime, you are encouraged to look into several other companies that offer solar tile solutions listed above. The increase in competition burgeoning of solar roof companies should lead to the further enhancement of these technologies, though many of them already have much to offer homeowners.

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    The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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    About the Author

    The articles here on ThatTeslaChannel.com are created by a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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    What are solar roof tiles and how do they work?

    Fact Checked

    Not sure what a solar tile is or how it works? Canstar Blue’s energy experts breakdown all you need to know, from brands to pros and cons below.

    Rooftop solar panels certainly aren’t fit for every property. Whether it’s due to the positioning of the roof, a heritage listed building or just simply the bulky, mounted panel design, some Aussies may miss out on the benefits of solar power. But there may be a solution and alternative many didn’t know existed. Enter solar tiles.

    Sleek and compact with an aesthetically pleasing finish, solar tiles are causing a stir in the market, particularly as Tesla’s solar roof is about to hit Aussie shores. But, what is a solar roof tile and how does it work? In this Canstar Blue guide, we uncover the benefits of solar roof tiles as well as share some of the top brands that work with these products.

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    replace, your, roof, solar, shingles, solteq

    What are solar roof tiles?

    Solar roof tiles are like regular solar panels; however, they are much more compact and can be securely fitted within the roofline due to their tile-like design. Where a solar panel requires mounting and optimal positioning on the roof to be effective, solar tiles can be incorporated either on top of or among existing shingles on the roof.

    Solar tiles are classified as building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) as they become a part of the roofing. There are two main types of solar roof designs that you can get: tiles or shingles.

    How do solar roof tiles work?

    Solar tiles work in a similar fashion to conventional photovoltaics (PV) panels in that they capture sunlight and convert it into electricity (with the help of a solar inverter ). The main difference between a solar panel and a solar roof tile however, is the appearance. Where a panel is mounted to a roof, the solar tile becomes a part of the roofing, potentially making it easier to cover a larger surface area. Solar tiles can also offer the same protections as regular roofing shingles, in addition to generating solar power. With a solar tile, you might also find that they have a more visually appealing finish than a regular panel.

    What are the advantages of solar roof tiles?

    There are few notable advantages to using solar roof tiles. These include:

    • Can be used in hard-to-reach places: If you are unable to install solar panels on your property due to the positioning of your roof, you may be able to add some solar tiles to this area instead.
    • Limited damage to roof: As the tiles act as part of the roofing, you don’t need to worry about drilling holes or mounting equipment on top of the roof.
    • protective of the roof than panels: With panels, there is the additional concern of strain on the roof during storms and strong winds. Tiles, however, become a part of the roof and protect the house.
    • Visually appealing: Roof tiles are a lot more aesthetically pleasing than mounted panels and can easily blend in with the design of the house.

    Solar Plans Prices

    Some energy plans are marketed towards customers with solar panels and offer a higher feed-in tariff (FiT) than standard plans. Below, we have listed a handful of these deals available in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. Keep in mind that a higher FiT may only benefit customers who export leftover power back into the grid, in exchange for a credit on their bills.

    Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

    Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

    Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

    Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

    Top brands for solar roof tiles in Australia

    While solar tiles are still an emerging renewable energy generation product within the industry, there are a few retailers who offer these solar solutions. Some solar tile brands include:

    Monier claims to have launched the first integrated solar roofing system in Australia, with its product InlineSOLAR – which is recess-mounted within the roofline. These tiles, however, are a custom fit design and can only be used in conjunction with other tiles from the Monier range.

    Tractile is another prominent Australian-owned company that offers solar tiles. It uses an interlocking design, which has the added benefit of thermal solar, meaning that these tiles can also create solar hot water to be used in the home. Tractile roof tiles are also claimed to be non-corrosive, hail-proof and rated to withstand extreme winds and cold, wet climates. Tractile’s solar tiles though will also need to be used alongside other Tractile non-solar tiles.

    As for Tesla, its solar tiles have only recently become available to Australians and on a reservation basis only. Tesla’s solar tiles look to follow a similar design to those mentioned above, in that they are only interlock able with other non-solar tiles from Tesla. According to the Tesla Solar Australia website though, its solar tiles are more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

    Are there any disadvantages of solar roof tiles?

    While there are some obvious benefits to using solar tiles over mounted panels, there are also a few potential drawbacks. Some things to consider include:

    • Initial cost: Being a newer technology, solar tiles are significantly more expensive than regular solar panels to install. Not only this, but they also require compatible tiling to fit onto the roof, which could become costly, depending on how much of the roof you are tiling.
    • Installations to roof: As solar tiles become a part of the roof, you may find that you will need to re-tile a large portion of the roof with both solar and non-solar tiles from the same company. This will require the work of both licensed electricians and roofing contractors.
    • Repairs and maintenance: Where solar panels are quite an established product in the solar industry, solar tiles are still breaking their ground. This means that fewer installers and solar companies will have the products or knowledge to help service, repair or maintain your tiles.
    • Efficiency dependent on surface area: The positioning and number of tiles added to a roof will very much influence the efficiency of the solar tiles. Where a solar panel mount can be re-adjusted to help improve performance, once these tiles have been placed, it will be a big effort to remove and re-lay them.

    Should I install solar tiles over solar panels?

    The choice between solar tiles or panels will ultimately depend on the circumstances of your property. For homeowners moving into an existing property, it may be financially viable to install a solar panel system over solar tiles, purely to avoid having to re-tile the roof. But, for those who are in the process of building a new home, it may be worthwhile considering a solar tile setup over a panel system, especially if you plan to stay at the property for a long period.

    Either way, if you are keen to install solar on your rooftop, be sure to check out our ratings report below. This guide shows you which solar installation companies Aussies rate the best for customer service, set-up cost, overall satisfaction and more.

    Kelseigh Wrigley covers Australia’s retail energy market, growing her industry specific expertise over the last 2 years. She holds a Bachelor of Journalism at the Queensland University of Technology and has contributed her skills to online publications Hunter Bligh and local radio station 4ZZZ.

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