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Solar roof tiles: cost, manufacturer, pors and cons

Solar roofing tiles

Solar panels often come to mind when thinking of rooftop solar systems, and due to falling prices, solar roof shingles are becoming increasingly popular and are becoming an alternative to traditional PV modules. Learn all about the pros and cons, costs and manufacturers of solar shingles in this guide.

 

What are solar roof tiles?

Solar roof tiles, also known as solar shingles, are an innovative and aesthetically pleasing solution that combines the functionality of traditional roofing materials with the power generation capabilities of solar panels. These specially designed shingles are installed on the roof of a building and are designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding roof tiles or shingles.

Solar roof tiles are made up of individual photovoltaic cells that function in the same way as traditional solar panels in that they absorb the sun’s rays and convert them to direct current using an inverter. These cells are usually made of crystalline silicon or thin-film materials. Each shingle contains multiple photovoltaic cells that are interconnected by wires to form a solar module. These modules are then integrated into the rooftop system to generate electricity from the sun’s rays.

The difference between solar tiles and ordinary solar panels

Solar roof tiles and traditional solar panels differ in several aspects, including size, materials, service life,  efficiency and Installation.

Size

Solar roof tiles are typically smaller in size compared to traditional solar panels. They are designed to resemble and fit seamlessly with standard roofing materials, such as tiles or shingles.In the realm of traditional solar panels, there are varying sizes available. Longi specializes in manufacturing smaller-sized panels with a capacity of 400 watt solar panels, whereas Trina and Tongwei offer larger-sized panels, exceeding 600W in capacity. This allows customers to choose from a range of sizes to meet their specific needs.

Materials

Solar roof tiles are made using various materials, such as crystalline silicon or thin-film technology, encapsulated within a protective layer. These materials are chosen to ensure durability and weather resistance while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Traditional solar panels are typically made of crystalline silicon or other semiconductor materials, housed in a sturdy frame with a glass cover.

Service life

Both solar panels and solar shingles have a long life span, typically 20 years or more. However, the lifespan of solar shingles varies by manufacturer and installation. In contrast, roof coverings made of clay tiles can last about 60 to 80 years.

Warranty

Most solar shingles manufacturers offer a 12-year warranty, although the specific warranty terms may vary among different manufacturers. If you are considering purchasing solar tiles, it is advisable to inquire about the warranty terms and conditions.

Efficiency

There are many factors that can affect efficiency, but under equal conditions, traditional solar panels typically have a higher efficiency rating. The efficiency of solar panels refers to the percentage of sunlight that can be converted into electrical energy. Traditional panels can achieve higher efficiency levels, ranging from 15% to 20% or higher, while the efficiency rating of solar roof tiles tends to be slightly lower.

Installation

Solar roof tiles need to be professionally installed by trained technicians because they need to fit seamlessly into the roof structure. Traditional solar panels are typically installed on a separate structure such as a roof or ground mount system and can be retrofitted on existing buildings. If there is already an existing building that needs solar shingles installed, you will need to spend more money and time removing the old shingles

 

Pors and cons

Pors

  1. Independent power generation:The design of solar tiles allows individual tiles to generate power separately, so that if one of them fails, the other tiles can still work normally, increasing the reliability of the system.
  2. Durability: Solar shingles are made of weather-resistant materials that provide high durability and weather resistance to withstand harsh weather conditions.
  3. Aesthetics: Solar shingles are similar in appearance to traditional roof tiles and can blend into the exterior of a building without ruining the overall aesthetics of the building.

Cons

  1. High technical requirements for installation:The installation process is more complex and requires professional technicians to perform the installation.
  2. Highly demanding installation environment:If you already have a roof and need to rebuild the entire roof
  3. High price:They are more expensive than solar panels.
  4. Less company:Not many solar companies offer solar shingles

 

Solar Roof Tile: Manufacturers and Suppliers

Here are a number of brands that manufacture solar shingles for use in residential installations:

Tesla

The most famous solar tile manufacturer is Tesla.Offers high-efficiency solar roof tile systems with outstanding design and aesthetics that seamlessly blend with traditional roof tiles.

CertainTeed 

Focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency, providing a range of styles and colors of solar roof tiles suitable for various architectural styles.

GAF Energy

Provides flexible solar roof tile solutions that can adapt to different roof types and shapes while maintaining aesthetics and high performance.

RGS Energy 

Utilizes efficient solar cells and unique tile designs to offer reliable solar roof tile systems with long-term warranties.

SunTegra 

Offers lightweight and easy-to-install solar roof tiles with frameless design, ensuring durability and performance.And it will be more affordable, so if you’re concerned about budget, you’ll need to go with a brand like SunTegra.

 

Cost of solar roof tiles

For the average home requiring a 5kw solar system: the total cost of installing solar tiles is between $25,000 and $60,000.By comparison: a conventional PV system with the same output would cost about $6000 to $7,000.This price is an average price, and the price will vary depending on the manufacturer you choose. A Tesla full roof installation can cost up to $70,000 or more, while a SunTegra solar tile for an entire roof can cost close to $20,000.so if you’re concerned about budget, you’ll need to go with a brand like SunTegra.