Solar roof tiles are the latest addition to the solar industry, and they’re making a fashion statement.
Solar roof tiles are the latest incarnation in the ever-expanding market for harnessing the power of the sun. This recent innovation will make solar power even more affordable and attractive on rooftops across the nation, and here in Florida.
This new technology is thin, photovoltaic (PV) sheets that can be placed on top of existing roofing products. This makes them more aesthetically pleasing and allows architects to seriously consider them in original designs without inhibiting the buildings overall design and appearance.
Like solar panels, solar roof tiles capture energy from sunlight and can be installed in any climate or environment. Actual efficiencies will vary widely depending on roof pitch and other factors that determine the absorption of direct sunlight.
Solar roof tiles are smaller, less obtrusive, thinner, and lighter weight than conventional solar panels. These film solar cells (FSC) of copper indium gallium selenide allow the cells to be thin and flexible for installation over most existing roof systems. Current research shows these can provide conversion efficiency rates on average of about 10–12 percent.
Some films contain the more expensive monocrystalline silicon cells that produce efficiency averages around 15–20 percent.
Depending on the brand and type of tile you purchase, power generated by your solar tiles will vary. Most produce between 13 and 63 watts. According to some estimates, 350 tiles can cut the average utility bill by 40 to 70 percent. All systems require an energy inverter kit in order to harness the power captured by the cells.
Determining which is best for you should be a result of consultation with a solar company professional. Green Energy Solutions is one possible option for you in the central and southern counties of Florida. They can be reached at 1-800-34-GREEN
Price vs Value
As with conventional solar PV panel installations, they should be viewed through the lense of a long term investment when it comes to payback. In a very general estimation, solar energy installations will provide “free” electricity of around $2,000 USD a year over the lifespan of the roof.
Tesla, a leading innovator on solar film development, estimates the life expectancy of its tiles will be around 30 years. If true, a homeowner can expect “savings” of approximately $60,000 USD over the lifetime of the roof. With installation costs in the $12,000 to $20,000 range the payback period is reasonable and the long term financial benefits substantial.
Again, no cost analysis is the same for everyone. Roof designs, sizes, exposure to sun, and other factors such as insulation and window quality will all have an effect on benefits received from solar installations. It is wise to have a competent expert assess your specific circumstance to help determine your outlook for savings.
Solar roofing tiles are increasingly available to homeowners in Florida. Most solar companies will source their tiles from a couple of the leaders.
The biggest selling point for this technology is clearly the fashionable and unobtrusive visual appearance versus the elevated panels of conventional solar.
2. Ease of installation
As a lighter weight pliable option, the solar tile application requires less grunt work and mounting complications that solar panels require. The trick of the installation is in coverage of the existing tiles and wiring connection to the grid. This still requires a professional solar company to properly conduct the installation.
Possible Lower Efficiency
This technology is possibly less efficient than conventional than solar panels, especially thin-film solar cells. Keep in mind that solar panels can also be adjusted to the best angle for sunlight exposure, but shingles cannot. Unlike solar panels, which can have their angle to the sun altered, solar roofing tiles are limited by the existing roof pitch, architecture and construction.
This may mean that you may need more tiles to achieve the same energy output, increasing your overall initial expense.
If you want to learn more about the costs and benefits of solar tile film applications, contact a professional solar company that serves your area. If you’re near Tampa, Orlando, Dade, Broward or Miami counties, Green Energy Solutions is a good place to start.