Solar Roof Tiles

Solar tiles are designed to look like ordinary roof tiles meaning they blend in with the rest of the roof and are often considered to be less obtrusive than traditional solar panels.

However, solar tiles cost more than solar panels and are often less efficient meaning they typically deliver a lower return on investment.

You can compare the cost of different solar solutions by entering your postcode in the banner above or read our guide to solar tiles below.


In this Guide:

What are Solar Roof Tiles?

Solar Roof Tiles Cost

How Much can you Make from Solar Roof Tiles?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Roof Tiles

Solar Roof Tiles vs Solar Panels

Solar Roof Tile Manufacturers and Reviews



What are Solar Roof Tiles?

solar roof tiles

Solar roof tiles, also known as solar slates or solar shingles, are a popular option for homeowners a) building a new house or b) having a new roof fitted.

Unlike solar panels which are bolted onto a property’s existing roof, solar roof tiles are actually built into the structure of the roof and are designed to look exactly like normal roof tiles.

This means that they are better at blending into the roof than solar panels, making them a much more inconspicuous choice for homeowners who are concerned about the aesthetic appearance of their property.

Solar roof tiles produce renewable electricity in exactly the same way as solar panels. Each solar roof tile is made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells. When light from the sun shines on these cells, an electric field is created which is used to provide electricity to your home.

Solar roof tiles are attached to a connection point in your loft or roof space via a series of electrical cables. Here, an inverter is installed which converts the DC electricity generated by the solar roof tiles into AC electricity that can be used to power your home’s appliances.

The amount of electricity produced by your solar roof tiles will depend on a number of different factors including the amount of time that they are exposed to sunlight, the angle and orientation of your roof, and the efficiency rating of the solar roof tiles themselves.

Obviously, the more solar roof tiles you have, the more free electricity you can generate. The electricity can be used straight away or stored in a solar battery storage system for later use (e.g. at night when there is no sunlight).


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Solar Roof Tiles Cost

Despite the price of solar roof tiles having reduced over recent years, they are still considerably more expensive than solar panels. However, the good news is that installing solar roof tiles will add value to your home - the Energy Saving Trust estimates that installing solar roof tiles could increase your house price by as much as 10%.

The table below compares the price of solar roof tiles to solar panels. The prices quoted are for the most common sized solar systems in the UK. An average household will need a 3kW or 4kW solar system installed to cover their total energy usage. You should therefore be prepared to spend upwards of £10,000 for your solar roof tiles if you have a household of three or more people.

Typical 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 - £14,000
£6,000 - £8,000


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How Much Money can you Make from Solar Roof Tiles?

You can earn up to £7,250 over 25 years by installing solar roof tiles into your home. Earnings are based on payments from the UK government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme and savings on your annual energy bills.


Feed-in Tariff Payments:

The Feed-in Tariff is split into two sets of payments: the Generation Tariff and the Export Tariff. The Generation Tariff allows you to earn money from every kWh of electricity that your solar roof tiles generate, whilst the Export Tariff pays you for every kWh of electricity produced by your solar roof tiles that you don’t use and sell back to the National Grid.

You will start to receive these payments once your solar roof tiles have been registered for the Feed-in Tariff scheme. They can only be registered if they have been purchased and installed by an MCS accredited supplier. Payments from the Feed-in Tariff are tax-free and last for twenty years.

The table below shows you the current Feed-in Tariff rates for October to December 2017 for residential properties with an EPC rating of D or above that install solar roof tiles:

Quarter

Date Range

Generation Tariff

Export Tariff

Q4 2017
Oct 1st to Dec 31st
4.00p per kWh
5.03p per kWh



Energy Bill Savings:

Because you will be producing free electricity from your solar roof tiles, your spend on electricity bills will fall. This is because you won’t need to buy as much electricity from your energy provider to power your home. The exact amount of money you’ll save will depend on how much electricity you use, however it is typically around 50% of your annual energy bill.


The table below shows you how much you can earn from solar roof tiles over 25 years. Please bear in mind that whilst you will receive payments from the Feed-in Tariff for only twenty years, you can save money on your energy bills for the full 25 years. Earnings are based on the most popular sized solar systems and the current Feed-in Tariff rates for October to December 2017:

Typical Solar System Size
Typical Cost
Earnings over 1 Year
Earnings over 25 Years
1kW
£5,500 - £7,000
£91
£1,850
2kW
£7,000 - £9,000
£181
£3,650
3kW
£10,000 - £12,000
£247
£5,450
4kW
£12,000 - £14,000
£305
£7,250

*based on installation on a south facing roof with no shade and a monthly household electricity bill of £50


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Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Roof Tiles

Advantages:

Form part of your roof for a discreet design

Can be installed onto listed buildings and in conservation areas

Enable you to earn money from the Feed-in Tariff and savings on your energy bills

Add value to your property

Reduce your carbon footprint

Produce free electricity for up to 30 years


Disadvantages:

More expensive than solar panels

Less efficient than solar panels (i.e. produce less electricity)

Only a small range of manufacturers and installers

Can only be installed onto new roofs


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Solar Roof Tiles vs Solar Panels: Which is Best for You?

solar tiles vs solar panels

Whether solar roof tiles or solar panels are best for you will depend on your individual circumstances and what you want to achieve from harnessing solar energy. Below we have compiled a list of situations in which solar roof tiles are a better option than solar panels (and vice versa).


Solar roof tiles are the best option for:

• Homeowners who are concerned about the aesthetic look of their property

Listed properties or those within a conservation area that are prohibited from installing solar panels

• Homeowners who are building a new house, or those looking to replace their existing roof


Solar panels are the best option for:

• Homeowners on a budget who want to install solar technology

• Homeowners who want to maximize the amount of solar electricity they can produce

• Homeowners who want to maximize their return on investment


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Solar Tile Manufacturers and Reviews

Because of how new solar roof tile technology is, there are significantly less solar roof tile manufacturers than there are solar panel manufacturers. This means that you have less choice over factors such as the style of the tile, its efficiency and its price.

The leading solar roof tile manufacturers in the UK are: Solarcentury and Tesla. The table below compares the key features of the solar roof tiles made by these manufacturers:

Manufacturer
Maximum Output
Tile Warranty
Power Warranty
Provide Installation?
Solarcentury
138 watts per m²
10 years
25 years
Yes
Tesla
100 watts per m²
Infinite
30 years
Yes


Solarcentury

With headquarters in London, Solarcentury are a market leader in the manufacturing and installation of solar roof tiles. Since being founded in 1988, they have helped over 25,000 homes go solar.

Solarcentury produce four different styles of solar roof tiles within their ‘C21e’ range: C21e solar slate, C21e solar plain tile and C21e solar roof tile. All their solar roof tiles come with a 10 year tile warranty and a 25 year power warranty. Solarcentury’s solar roof tiles have a higher energy output than those of Tesla’s, meaning they produce more free electricity.


Tesla

Tesla are new to the solar technology market. Manufacturing and installing solar roof tiles under their subsidiary company SolarCity, Tesla have just began to take orders for their solar roof tiles in the UK having become the largest installer of rooftop solar systems in the US.

Tesla’s solar roof tiles come in four different styles to suit different homes: slate, smooth, textured and tuscan. Tesla claim that their solar roof tiles are three times stronger than standard roof tiles, leading them to provide an infinite warranty on all their solar roof tiles. They also provide a 30 year power warranty, slightly longer than that offered by Solarcentury.


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