A Guide to Solar Roof Tiles UK 2023: Costs & Benefits Written by Charlie Clissitt Updated on 2 June 2023 ✔ Solar roof tiles work just the same as solar panels✔ Solar roof tiles are sleek and subtle, but are more expensive than solar panels✔ To get free quotes for solar panel installation, fill in the form aboveSolar roof tiles can blend in seamlessly with your roof, while still providing your home with electricity. Solar panels cost less, but aesthetically they're no match.In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about solar roof tiles, including their typical costs and manufacturers. They're more expensive than solar panels – particularly concerning in a cost of living crisis – but they look great.We can also help you find the best solar panel prices. Just provide a few quick details, and our expert installers will be in touch with free quotes for you to compare.Want to compare solar tiles to panels? Head to our solar panel costs page to get a detailed breakdown of solar panel prices. Where do you want to install solar panels? Roof Ground Both Other / not sure Get started Loading What's on this page? 01 What are solar roof tiles? 02 How much do solar roof tiles cost? 03 How efficient are solar tiles? 04 Are solar roof tiles available in the UK? 05 Solar roof tiles manufacturers in the UK 06 Solar roof tiles vs solar panels 07 Are Tesla solar roof tiles available in the UK? 08 Should I buy solar roof tiles? 09 Next steps 10 FAQs What are solar roof tiles?Solar tiles convert sunlight into electricity, just like solar panels, but they’re made to look just like traditional roof tiles. While solar panels are much cheaper and more efficient than solar tiles, they can sometimes protrude out and clash with the colour of the roof they’re placed on.So solar tiles were created for people who want a solar-powered home without anybody noticing – and were willing to pay more for it.You can’t just swap a few old tiles for solar ones though. Instead, you have to replace your entire roof, which usually means dismantling it. How much do solar roof tiles cost?A 3.5 kW solar roof tile system will cost you £14,550, on average.House sizeSolar PV system sizeCost of solar tilesOne-bedroom flat1 kW£8,0501-2 bedroom house2 kW£9,9003 bedroom house3.5 kW£14,5504+ bedroom house5 kW£16,550Information last updated in May 2023. Where do you want to install solar panels? Roof Ground Both Other / not sure Get started Why are solar tiles more expensive than standard solar panels?Solar tiles are more expensive than solar panels because they use a newer, less widely produced technology and they operate in a less competitive market.This leads to fewer models are produced – which keeps consumer prices high – while development on this technology hasn't yet succeeded in lowering manufacturing costs.Solar tiles also require a longer, more complex installation, which raises your costs as well. Loading How efficient are solar tiles?Solar roof tiles have an efficiency rating of around 10% to 20%, making them less efficient than typical solar panels, which are 18% to 25% efficient.One reason for this is because solar roof tiles aren’t as well ventilated as solar panels. They are attached directly to the roof, instead of mounted a few inches above it, like regular solar panel systems are. Having less ventilation around the solar roof tiles means they get hotter at a faster rate than panels, which decreases efficiency.Additionally, since solar roof tiles are designed to be integrated into the roof, their angle and direction will be in line with the roof. Unfortunately, this might not be the best angle and direction to capture the most sunlight. With solar panels, it’s easier to alter their angle using roof mounts. Want to get a better idea of what it’s like to own a set of solar panels? Check out our case study with Andrew, based in North Yorkshire. Andrew had a 3.95 kWh solar panel system installed in June 2022, which cost roughly £6,000. Despite electricity prices increasing around the world, Andrew’s panels are already saving him £32.93 on energy bills. He's also projected to save around a tonne of CO2 a year with his panels.Check out the full interview with Andrew to learn more about solar panels. Are solar roof tiles available in the UK?Solar tiles are available in the UK, but your choices are limited.There are only a handful of manufacturers, including GB-SOL, which creates blue solar slates in Wales, and Solecco Solar, which is based in Leeds. Solar roof tiles manufacturers in the UKHere are your options when it comes to installing a solar roof in the UK.TyleThis newcomer to the solar market is located in the capital, and charges London prices.A three-bedroom household can expect to pay £19,995 for a 3.6 kW system.Each grey tile generates 100 W, and comes with a market-standard product warranty of 10 years and performance warranty of 25 years.XO EdgeLondon-based XO Edge says it can install its sleek-looking black and silver tiles on your roof within eight weeks of purchase.Each tile only generates 12 W, which means you'll need around 13 tiles per square metre – though at just 1.4 kg each, they're very light.XO Edge hasn't yet responded to our enquiry about price information, but we'll update as soon as it does.Marley SolarTileMarley describes its product as a tile, but it's really just a solar panel that's completely integrated with your roof, so it's flush with your roof tiles.Each 'tile' generates 335 W at an efficiency of 20.7%, making it a decent but average solar panel.The company offers a 15-year product warranty, which isn't bad, and a 25-year performance warranty that also isn't pulling up any trees.If you desperately want panels to be inserted into part of your roof in place of tiles, choose Marley.GB-SOL solar tilesGB-SOL, located in Pontypridd, Wales, sells solar tiles 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 28 W of power, and has a 25-year warranty on the product, its solar performance, and its weatherproofing abilities.The tiles sell for £294 per square metre, which adds up to £8,449 for a 4 kW system – though that's without installation, which will typically add another £2,200. That means you'll pay a total cost of £10,649.Solecco SolarSolecco Solar, based in Leeds, manufactures and sells solar tiles for £3000/kW, which means that a 4 kW system will cost you £12,000.It also usually costs an additional £1,000 to have the tiles installed, according to the company.Though its product is more expensive than some, Solecco Solar does offer tiles in eight different colours, from smooth grey to terracotta and old English dark red.And if you don't need or want to buy solar tiles to cover your whole roof, you can purchase the company's identical (and cheaper) non-solar tiles to make up the difference.Tesla solar tilesJust as Tesla made electric cars look cool, they’ve transformed solar tiles into something understated and beautiful – though they're not yet available to be installed in the UK.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.Solarcentury solar tilesThis 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 panelsAre you wondering whether you should buy solar panels or solar tiles? Tesla also supplies solar panels, so it's worth looking into the pros and cons of solar tiles below before you decide on the product you want. Pros Discrete appearance Can be a good fit for listed buildings Very durable, so won't break easily Cons Can be quite expensive Lower efficiency than solar panels Tricky to install, and won't work for all roof types 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 at least 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 look great, but they're not very good at converting sunlight into electricity. The efficiency of solar tiles tends to range between 10% and 20%, while 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. Are Tesla solar roof tiles available in the UK?Tesla solar roof tiles won't be available any time soon.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 years later and nothing's happened yet, except Musk admitting that Tesla has made “significant mistakes” that have led to spiralling costs for the company and extended delays for customers.Interested in standard solar panels? Check out our page on solar panel costs. We also have a guide to the best solar panels, so you can make sure you get top quality kit for your money.It can be quite daunting trying to do the research yourself – where do you even start when trying to find the perfect set of panels? If you want to speed up the process, find out how much solar panels will cost you by using our comparison tool.How much are Tesla roof tiles in the UK?Once Tesla solar roofs become available for purchase, Tesla has said they will cost $21.85 (£18.36) per square foot. Based on this, here are the expected costs of a Tesla solar roof:Size of homeCost of Tesla solar roof1,500 ft²£27,5002,000 ft²£36,7002,500 ft²£46,0003,000 ft²£55,100Information updated in September 2023.However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted in 2021 that the cost to consumers could be two or three times higher than Tesla’s initial estimate, according to Verge – five years after he initially unveiled the tiles.And 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. That's a lengthy installation. Should you buy solar roof tiles?The buzz surrounding solar tiles is exciting, but buying a solar roof is still very expensive, and UK suppliers are limited.If you’re a homeowner looking to convert your home to solar power, we recommend getting solar panels.It can save you more money, and it's popular. 65% of UK residents would buy a property with solar panels on the roof, according to our latest National Home Energy Survey.Want to get tailor quotes straight from the horse's mouth (otherwise known as our expert suppliers)? Pop your details on this short form and our trusted installers will be in touch with quotes for you to compare – you’ll find the best deal in no time. Next stepsYou should now have all the information you need to decide whether to buy solar roof tiles or solar panels.Panels are the clear winner, producing more solar electricity for a lower cost – which all means you'll break even much sooner.To find the best solar panel prices for your home, fill in this quick form, and our trusted installers will be in touch with free quotes for you to compare. FAQs Are solar roof tiles worth it? Solar roof tiles aren't worth it.On average, a three-bedroom household will pay £14,550 for a 3.5 kW solar tile roof – much more than you'll pay for panels.As tiles are around a quarter less efficient than solar panels, you'll save £401, compared to the annual saving of £520 you'll make with panels.As a result, you won't break even on solar tiles for 36 years – which is likely longer than your tiles will last. What is better, solar panels or solar tiles? Solar panels are better than solar tiles.Panels are more efficient, meaning they'll generate more solar electricity for your household, allowing you to stop using as much expensive power from the grid.You'll also pay around half as much for panels as you would for tiles, meaning you'll break even on your investment much faster. Do you need planning permission for solar tiles? You usually won't need planning permission for solar tiles.Your tiles shouldn't protrude more than 20 cm from your roof, so they'll almost certainly fall under the ‘permitted development' category of home improvements.The only exceptions are if your home is a listed building or located in a conservation area. How much does it cost to put a solar roof on in the UK? The average three-bedroom household will pay £14,550 for a 3.5 kW solar tile roof.In contrast, 3.5 kW worth of solar panels will set you back £7,860, on average.Your physical roof won't generate solar power, but your panels will – and you'll cut your electricity bills by 70%, typically. How long do solar roof tiles last? Solar roof tiles can last around 25 to 30 years, which is around the same lifespan as solar panels. Solar roof tiles are very durable, and can sometimes be stronger than regular roof tiles, so it’s unlikely that they will break. Do solar roof tiles need to be cleaned? Solar roof tiles don’t usually need to be cleaned, unless you live in a particularly dry and dusty environment. The rain will keep solar tiles clean enough to keep operating efficiently, according to most manufacturers.The one bit of maintenance you should do is make sure to keep your solar tiles clear of any debris, such as branches or leaves. And if you do feel you need to clean them, you should hose your roof down from the ground. Written by: Charlie Clissitt Editor Charlie has been researching and writing about the home energy market for over five years, and he has been the editor of The Eco Experts since 2021. Charlie's thoughts on solar panels have seen him featured in various publications, including The Times, Ideal Home, and Grand Designs Magazine. Ever since he can remember, Charlie has worried about the planet, and he one day dreams of owning a solar power farm.