Roofing Southwest Blog > Advances in Solar Roof Tiles

Advances in Solar Roof Tiles

April 13, 2018

We’ve talked about solar roof tiles in the past, but the technology continues to improve, so we wanted to let you know about the new innovations. Just to review, solar roof tiles or shingles look just like regular roofing products, but are lined with a thin crystalline solar film (PV panel) that harnesses energy from the sun all day long.

 

Esthetics

When solar roof tiles first came out, options were limited to versions that resembled asphalt shingles. Today, the choices are amazing! There are tiles that blend with the Tuscan, Mission and Terra Cotta design styles and even shake or slate. The tiles integrate seamlessly with regular roofing material.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Tile & SRS Energy

Your whole roof doesn’t need to be solar roof tiles since solar panels themselves generally only take up a quarter to a third of the roof space. The solar roof tiles or shingles must integrate into the regular roofing material. Todays newest offerings do that admirably.

Power Generation

Advances in technology have increased power generation, so the tiles have become even more efficient at converting the energy from the sun into power. Even the batteries that store power have become more efficient. If you have extra power, in many states you can sell that power back to the electric company.

 

Installation

Early versions of solar roof tiles were pretty clunky and HEAVY. These days, thanks to new technology, the manufacturers have found a way to make them lighter, higher in energy efficiency and even flexible to mold to roof surfaces. These new innovations are making installation much easier.

 

Cost

The cost of adding solar roof tiles compared to regular roofing and a solar panel system is about 1/3 higher. If you are thinking about solar energy, here are three scenarios for you to consider:

 

Need Solar, But Don’t Need a New Roof

If you want to explore solar energy, but don’t need a new roof, solar panels are your best bet. They are far less expensive than installing a whole new roof just for the solar roof tiles.

 

Need Solar and a New Roof

If you plan to stay in the home / building only a short time, it might not make sense to install solar roof tiles. However, if this is a long-term, dream home purchase, the cost is likely well worth it. Do keep in mind that if you sell the home, transferring the financing or lease can be a bit complicated, although the companies are catching up to make such transfers easier.

 

Hate the Esthetics of Solar Panels

The final scenario — that you want solar energy, but don’t like the look of solar panels — may make the extra cost of solar roof tiles worth it, whether you need a new roof or not!

 

Longevity

Solar roof tiles may last a long time (30 – 50 years), however, you probably want to ask yourself if the company that is selling them will still be around to provide maintenance in 10, 20 or 30 years. It’s a good idea to select a reputable company that has been around for a while. Moreover, selecting a roofing contractor with experience installing such roof systems is also highly recommend, as improper or faulty installation will often void the warranty at the beginning. Check to see how long the roofer has been in business and how many solar roof tile projects the company has performed. Make sure the company is licensed, bonded and insured and get references!

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