Solar PV tiles are often used as an alternative to solar PV panels due to the more subtle aesthetics they provide. Whereas solar panels sit quite clearly and obtrusively on the roof, tiles can be used to blend in to the surrounding roof tiles whilst also offering the benefits of renewable energy, from cheaper bills to lower carbon emissions. Solar thermal tiles for providing solar hot water for your home are only rarely available, but can be found.
However, the use of solar PV tiles is not as straightforward as it might be, due to the performance and costs of the tiles generally being not as good as that of their panel counterparts.
What are the Pros of Solar PV tiles?
- Appearance. The main pro point of using solar PV tiles as opposed to panels is their appearance. By using tiles, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy without what some may consider the unsightly appearance of large solar panels fixed to the rooftop.
- Two-in-one application. Whilst solar panels are fixed on top of the roof, solely providing solar energy, solar tiles provide renewable energy whilst also acting as the main roof covering. This is especially beneficial where the solar PV tiles are used across the entire roof, improving the aesthetic of the roof as a whole.
- Desirability. Being a newer technology, solar PV tiles can be seen as more desirable. Also, where new builds are concerned, the more subtle appearance of the tiles is likely to appeal to a greater array of prospective buyers than the not-so-attractive solar panels.
What are the Cons of Solar PV tiles?
- Cost. Whilst solar tiles look great, the cost is generally much greater than that of solar panels. Often the cost of the tiles will be double that of the panels.
- Efficiency. Solar PV tiles are still a relatively new technology, meaning that they are constantly progressing in their efficiency. However, at the moment the tile varieties tend to be around 10-20% less efficient than solar PV panels.
- No solar PV and Thermal combinations. Solar tiles are either solar PV, providing electricity, or solar thermal, providing hot water. At the moment there is not a solar tile on the market which can provide both hot water and electricity, unlike the solar panel varieties.
Generally, solar PV tiles are considered better suited to new builds where the tiles can be fitted across the roof without laying waste to the existing tiles. Tiles will also increase the desirability of the home whilst providing efficient, low-carbon emission energy. Find new build homes in the UK here.