Our team has researched and reviewed the Solar Tiles Cost and the best solar shingles to help you come up with a better decision. We’ve also put up a solar panel cost shopping guide with the features you can consider when buying solar powered lights for indoor or outdoor use.
Solar Roof Tiles Costs 2020
✔ Solar roof tiles work just the same as solar panels, but they look like traditional roof tiles
✔ Solar roof tiles are sleek and subtle, but are much more expensive than solar panels
The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) launched on 1st January 2020 to replace the old Feed-in Tariff. Check out our guide to the Smart Export Guarantee here to find out how much you could earn.
Everyone’s getting very excited about solar power, and quite right too – it’s a clean and renewable energy source that’s completely transforming the way we create our electricity. As the natural supply of fossil fuels rapidly comes to an end, the sustainability of sunlight promises a very bright future. It’s a beautiful thought.
On this page, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about solar roof tiles (or photovoltaic roof tiles), including typical costs and manufacturers. They are much more expensive than solar panels, and their future looks uncertain – but they sure do look good.
If you’d like to switch to solar power, we recommend solar panels. Simply fill in this short form, and our qualified installers will be in touch.
What’s in this guide to solar roof tiles?
Solar Tiles Cost
Solar tiles can cost more than twice as much as solar panels. For example, a 4kW solar tile system will typically cost between £12,000 and £16,000, while a 4kW solar panel system usually costs between £6,000 and £8,000.
Neither option is cheap, but the tiles will burn a much bigger hole in your wallet. Why are they so much more expensive than solar panels? The main reasons are:
• Newer technology
• Less competitive market
• Longer and more complex installation process.
It’s difficult to estimate exactly how much a solar tile system costs, as it depends on 1) the size of your roof, and 2) what proportion of the roof you’d like to be covered in solar tiles.
If you want to go the whole hog and drape your home in pure photovoltaic goodness, you’ll be spending much more than two-tile Brian down the road.
Here are the typical costs of solar tiles compared to solar panels:
|Solar system size||Typical solar tile cost||Typical solar panel cost|
|1kW||£5,500 – £7,000||£2,500 – £3,000|
|2kW||£7,000 – £9,000||£3,000 – £4,000|
|3kW||£10,000 – £12,000||£4,000 – £6,000|
|4kW||£12,000 – £16,000||£6,000 – £8,000|
Information updated in April 2019.
How much are Tesla roof tiles in the UK?
Once Tesla solar roofs become available for purchase (it’s currently only possible to put down an £800 deposit), Tesla insist that they will cost $21.85 per square foot, or £16.71 per square foot. Based on this, here are the expected costs of a Tesla solar roof:
|Size of home||Cost of Tesla solar roof|
Information updated in April 2019.
While it’s currently unclear as to how long a Tesla solar roof installation will take in the UK, according to Electrek it will be about two weeks.
What are solar roof tiles?
While most solar power companies are busy improving the power and efficiency of solar panels, a small few are simply trying to make them look nicer.
Solar tiles, also known as solar shingles or solar slates, are for people who want a solar-powered home without anybody noticing.
That’s right – solar tiles work just like solar panels (i.e. photovoltaic cells converting sunlight into electricity), but they’re made to look just like traditional roof tiles. While solar panels are much cheaper and generally more efficient than solar tiles, they can sometimes protrude out and clash with the colour of the roof they’re placed on.
However, you can’t just swap a few old tiles for solar ones. Instead, you have to replace your entire roof, which means dismantling it, and rebuilding it with a mixture of traditional and solar tiles (a 100% solar roof is possible, but it’s not cheap).
If you’ve got a big budget and some hefty concerns about the appearance of your home, read on to find out more about solar tiles.DID YOU KNOW?
You can save more than £400 each year, just by switching your home’s energy supplier. If you’re looking to cut down your bills, this one’s a bit of a no-brainer.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Switchd. With four different price plans (including a free option), Switchd will find you cheaper, greener energy suppliers in no time.
Are solar roof tiles available in the UK?
Unfortunately, the current options for solar tiles in the UK are extremely limited – the only manufacturer is GB Sol, who create blue solar slates in Wales (find out more below).
Tesla solar roof availability
You may have heard all the hoo-ha about Tesla’s solar roof tiles over in the US, but nobody’s sure when the first UK installations are going to happen. They were expected to begin in mid-2018, but Tesla seems to have encountered a few mysterious issues. The people who put down their £800 deposits back in 2017 are still twiddling their thumbs, sitting patiently.
Elon Musk tweeted in Spring 2019 that Tesla’s solar roofs will reach the UK in Summer 2019, but it’s now 2020 and nothing’s happened yet. Check out this article by Greentech Media, which suggests that nobody should be getting too excited about Tesla’s solar roofs any time soon.
Interested in standard solar panels? Check out our page on solar panel costs in 2019. We also have a guide to the best solar panels on the market, so you can make sure you get top quality kit for your money.
To find out how much it will cost you to get solar panels installed at home, simply answer the question below, fill in the form, and you’ll hear from our trusted suppliers.How much could you save with Solar Panels?What’s your average monthly electricity bill?Under £35k£35 – £50£50 – £70Over £70
Solar roof tiles manufacturers in the UK
Here are your options when it comes to installing a solar roof in the UK:
Tesla solar tiles
Just as Tesla made electric cars look cool, they’ve transformed solar panels into something understated and beautiful.
The clean-energy aficionados from California have created their very own solar tiles, built with photovoltaic cells made by Panasonic. Elon Musk announced the new product in fabulous style on the set of Desperate Housewives in late 2016.
The tiles are extremely tough (up to three times stronger than a traditional roof tile), available in four styles (Textured, Smooth, Slate, or Tuscan), and come with an infinite warranty. You just have to wait a while (and pay a lot) if you want them.
Tesla also sell a high-performing solar battery called the Tesla Powerwall. You can learn all about it in our guide to solar batteries.
GB Sol solar tiles
On the less glamorous end of the scale, there’s GB Sol, who are located in Pontypridd, Wales. Their solar tiles come in just the one style – “natural blue” slate, to complement a slate roof. They’re lighter than traditional tiles (just 3.5kg per slate), which means you could replace your roof without having to strengthen your property’s structure. A GB Sol solar slate can generate 35W of power, and has a ten-year product and power guarantee.
Solarcentury solar tiles
This one’s nothing more than a history lesson. The UK-based Solarcentury used to sell solar tiles (the C21e range), but these have since been discontinued. Instead, the company now produces integrated solar panels – the Sunstation Roof-integrated+ – which aren’t quite as subtle as solar tiles, but still sit more seamlessly on your roof than standard solar panels.
For more information about manufacturers around the world who have their own solar tiles on the way, check out this from Ars Technica.
Solar roof tiles vs solar panels
Are you wondering whether you should buy solar panels or solar tiles? Take a look at the pros and cons of solar tiles below to give yourself a better idea.
Advantages of solar roof tiles
✔ Sleek and subtle. The biggest advantage of solar tiles is their stylish appearance. With solar panels on your roof, it’s usually pretty obvious that they’re up there – for some people, this is a good thing (“look at me, I’ve gone solar”), but for others, subtlety is key. Solar tiles give you renewable energy without blowing your cover.
✔ Ideal for listed buildings. If you’re lucky enough to be living in a fancy, listed property (or within a conservation area), you might not be allowed to mess with the appearance of your home. Fortunately, solar tiles are a great way to keep the switch to solar sneaky (but please do consult your local authority before proceeding).
✔ More durable. Solar tiles are tough as nails – Tesla’s, for example, are up to three times tougher than traditional tiles – so they’ll give your roof some serious protection. When the hail gets hard or the storms get serious, your tiles will face it all with grit and resilience. Tesla even dropped a kettlebell on their solar tile to prove its strength, but we’re hoping airborne kettlebells aren’t a peril your roof has to face.
Disadvantages of solar roof tiles
✘ Very expensive. As mentioned previously, solar tiles generally cost more than twice as much as solar panels, so you’re really paying for the aesthetics. For a more economical switch to solar energy, solar panels can save you money in the long-term.
✘ Low efficiency. Solar tiles are so busy looking great that they don’t always deliver the goods. The efficiency of solar tiles (i.e. how much sunlight they convert into electricity) tends to range between 10-20%, while high-efficiency solar panels generally achieve 18-25% efficiency.
✘ Limited compatibility. Unless you’re building a new property or willing to replace your entire roof, solar tiles aren’t an option – they want to be all over your roof, or not involved at all. If you’re quite attached to your current home, you’ll find solar panels to be much less demanding.
✘ Long installation time. Of course, replacing a whole roof takes far longer than just sticking on a few solar panels, so this significantly adds to the total cost. For example, when San Jose resident Tri Huynh had a Tesla solar roof installed in early 2018, it required 10-15 people to install it across a fortnight. In contrast, solar panels can be installed in just one or two days.
Should I buy solar roof tiles?
The buzz surrounding solar tile technology is exciting, but everything is still in its early stages; a solar roof is currently very expensive, and UK suppliers are extremely limited. If you’re a homeowner looking to convert your home to solar power, we recommend solar panels.
To start collecting bespoke quotes for solar panels and speak to local suppliers, simply fill in this short form our trusted installers will be in touch.
TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR SOLAR POWER SYSTEM.
Buying a home solar power system can be a very exciting experience, but don’t get too carried away by advertising. Be sure to focus on the important aspects of your purchase as it’s a substantial investment and one you’ll be living with for a long time. The following are some buying solar tips on what to look for when purchasing a system.
Ask friends, family neighbours or colleagues who have had solar PV systems installed. Often the best buying solar tips com from right in your neighbourhood. They’ll be able to tell you about their experiences and perhaps alert you to any problems they experienced. Problems that you’ll be able to avoid. Learn more about potential issues in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.
Length of manufacturer’s warranty
Take note of what guarantees the manufacturer offers. If the manufacturer is reputable and the warranty period on the panels is substantial (at least 25 years) you would naturally expect your solar system to last long for a long time, long enough to pay for itself and make you a profit. However, for a warranty to be honoured, the manufacturer needs to be still operating. So, be cautious of brands without a track record in Australia.
Have realistic price expectations
If you are paying substantially less than many other similar size systems quoted, you may find poor quality equipment and/or poor installation work. Quality equipment and installation isn’t cheap and, like all other purchases, you often get what you pay for.
Compare components and warranty periods and check into the company providing the installation. While large, well established companies can pass on substantial savings due to increased buying power, other companies often reduce costs by cutting important corners.
Solar panel certifications
This applies to all solar panel purchases, but especially to the purchases that could attract a government rebate. The certification on solar panels indicates the type of testing that they have undergone. For instance, TUV IEC 61215 confirms that the solar panels have gone through testing by an independent laboratory and have met their advertised specifications. Other certification types are often self-assessed. Therefore, they rely on the company being honest in what it claims.
Decide on the type of panels
It used to be the case that if you had limited roof space you would need highly efficient (and very expensive) mono-crystalline solar panels. This is rapidly changing with advances in polycrystalline panel technology and some thin film technologies. Still, even if you have ample roof space you may still want to consider panel sizes vs. output. Filling up your roof with inefficient panels will affect your ability to add more panels at a later date, and does not maximise the power output of the space.
It’s also important to bear in mind that regardless of claim, no solar panel technology will produce a significant amount of power in full shade. Learn more about monocrystalline vs. thin film panels.
Solar panel mounting
Make sure that the roof, ground mounting or tracking system is engineer certified for the area you are in. For example, if you live in a cyclone prone area make sure the mounting system and mounting brackets are also cyclone rated. Quality systems are wind certified. After all you do not want your system to take off during a wild storm . The mounting system is a very vital component and some suppliers skimp on this item. Make sure you ask about wind certification, warranty arrangements and get copies of relevant documents.
Solar inverter efficiency
A power inverter is the box between the panels and your appliances that converts DC electricity from solar panels to AC suitable for use in your home.
Not all solar inverters are equal and inverter efficiency will have a direct impact on the amount of time it takes for a system to pay for itself. Look at the inverter efficiency before purchasing a system. Obviously, the more efficient the inverter the better. Less electricity will be wasted as heat during the conversion from DC to AC. Industry leading solar inverters for grid connect systems in Australia include SMA, Sungrow and Fronius. Be cautious of generic type brands.
Get a few solar quotes
It always wise to gather a few solar quotes when making a major purchase as you will find that prices vary widely between providers. But don’t be just swayed by price as inferior components can reduce the up-front cost of the system. However, they may wind up costing you more in the long run in terms of reliability and efficiency.
Avoid high pressure sales people
High pressure sales tactics are unfortunately common in the solar industry. Try not to make decisions on the spot, just ask the person to let you consider the offer. If it’s as good as they claim, it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Pressured decisions on the spot often turn out to be less advantageous in reflection.
High pressure sales people are only one of the pitfalls that may await you when you shop for a solar power system. Learn more about the potential issues and how to avoid them in our consumers guide to solar power – avoiding tricks and traps.