Are Solar Roof Tile Worth It?

Solar Roof Tiles

While domestic solar panels have been around for such a long time now, they’ve failed to become a hugely mainstream application enter Solar roof tiles. This is usually due to the sheer cost of installing and maintaining solar panels, although the cost is lowering, they continue to be very expensive and slightly out of the average budget for most, not only in the UK but all over the world. The UK has a reputation for miserable weather and a cloudy forecast which means that the investments of your customers are less likely to bring a good return on investment. As most people know, it takes a long time to allow your solar panels to pay themselves off and while the technology is getting better and cheaper all the time allowing for a shorter payback period, it’s still longer than you’d like. With that in mind, solar roof tiles have been floating around in the world of energy for a while too. But is the technology good enough to recommend to customers? And what are solar roof tiles? What Are Solar Roof Tiles?  Solar roof tiles in the simple sense are exactly the same as a normal solar panel, they convert the same sunlight into the same energy the same way (more or less). They are sometimes referred to as; solar tiles, solar shingles or solar slates. We’ve seen a few iterations of these roof tiles and in that time, they have a number of styles. Some look like an ordinary roof tile, that blend in and don’t look the same as your existing tiles, some don’t even look like a solar roof tile at all. The Advantages  One of the biggest advantages of solar roof tiles is that they look just like a normal roof tile if you purchase that style. While you can buy solar roof tiles that look like tiny solar panels in a tile, companies do offer those that look like a low-profile slate tile or even a more traditional pan-and-cover tile. Regardless, being able to replace only a few of your roof tiles will also mean that you’re saving money if you plan to only cover a small area rather than your whole roof space again. You’ll also be able to skip the process of reinforcing your roof for the larger, heavier solar panels to sit on top of the roof tiles. Reinforcing your roof isn’t always necessary, most solar panels will sit within the acceptable weight limit of your roof but if you do have to reinforce the roof of your home it can be costly. Using Solar roof tiles means that there will be less strain on your roof and offer easier installation too. The Disadvantages The cost is one of the main reasons that most people are put off by the idea of getting regular solar panels. Now, the fact that companies have miniaturized them and given them shape and style which means they are less of an eyesore. This is likely to mean that they’ll have a greater cost attached to them due to the extra work that goes into making them. Using the Tesla solar roof tiles as an example we can see that with a $200 electric bill and a 3,000 sq. ft. roof, you’d be looking at 30% coverage (in solar tile) with a cost of $60,900. This would also mean that it would take around 15 years to breakeven and cover the cost of the solar panels. Installation can sometimes be a bit of a pain too, with different tiles comes different mounting and connections. Having to learn new techniques for fitting these solar roof tiles might take a while and could even result in a costly course for existing roofers. So, if the cost is going to be higher for you, it will also be higher for your clients/ customers too which might put them off. Top Brands While we have had these solar roof tiles around for a while, they haven’t really become a well-known product as of yet. There aren’t as many companies in the mainstream market as you’d like to think either. Obviously, Tesla is one of the biggest companies in the mix at the moment. Due to the fact that they are usually at the forefront of developments in all things electric we’d expect nothing less really. Tesla In November 2016, Elon Musk gathered a number of stakeholders and presented their version of the solar roof tile. It was quite revolutionary due to the fact that they’ve been designed to look just like a regular roof tile/shingle. Most other designed just simply look like a miniaturized solar panel which is still a bit of an eyesore. Tesla’s solar roof tiles come in four varieties; Tuscan Glass, Tuscan Glass, Textured Glass and Smooth Glass. This means that there will more than likely be a style that matches your existing roof already, so if your customers are hoping to only replace a specific number of roof tiles, they could do so. CertainTeed’s Apollo II Although CertainTeed is a new(ish) name, they are still the old company at heart. Originally in 1904, they were called General Roofing Manufacturing Company but now they offer a number of different services and products after becoming a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain. One of the main appealing factors that CertainTeed has to offer is that their Apollo Tile II solar shingles have been readily available for around 5-6 years now. Whereas Tesla’s solar roof tiles haven’t really been a widely available product like the Apollo Tile II’s have. You can purchase these solar shingles from an installer and get the price of the install and the shingles in one go. These tiles, however, have only one style that doesn’t exactly blend in. These Apollo Tile II’s have been designed to “match the profile of flat concrete tiles” and blend in to provide a clean look but they definitely do stand out. This is likely to make them less desirable than the tiles from

Voltacon Solar Exports Solar Panels Across Europe

Voltacon Solar Staff

An experienced Midlands energy renewable company is exporting its solar panels to homes and businesses across Europe.  Voltacon Solar, which is based at the Burnsall Road Industrial Estate in Coventry, was established in 2002 and assembles and tests off grid and energy storage systems from its purpose-built premises which has 20kW Solar Array installed and multiple test facilities for solar panels. Voltacon Solar managing director Stefanos Kandilidis designs the panels which are manufactured in China while the batteries are manufactured in Germany as the company supplies customers with the entire package needed to install solar systems. Stefanos said they have successfully installed more than 20MW of grid-tied systems throughout Europe over the last 16 years. “We have residential and business customers in the UK and Europe and until we started selling solar panels, we never realised so many British people had holiday homes abroad,” he said. “We have now sold solar panels to people living in Spain, Portugal, France, Greece and Gran Canaria as well as every corner of the UK.  “African rural communities that live completely off the grid have trusted our business to supply complete photovoltaic systems including solar panels, batteries, inverters and accessories. “Some of our customers live completely off the grid in farms in Wales and Scotland and rely on the solar panels for their heat and lighting since they have no means of connecting to electricity. “Since we started selling solar panels in 2002, the cost of the equipment has markedly reduced which means it is only taking customers four to five years to start receiving the financial benefits. “The technology is viable and affordable to the public because it isn’t as expensive as it was when we started trading in 2002 and with the cost of electricity rising on average by eight per cent each year, more and more of our customers whether they live in the UK or abroad are taking full advantage to switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy. “From chatting to people, it is often thought it is complicated to switch to solar panels but that is not the case and some of our customers have installed the system themselves after buying everything from and we provide an after-care service as well.” Stefanos said Voltacon is also practicing what it preaches since its business unit and his family home are 100 per cent environmentally friendly. Its UK warehouse and showroom are independent from the national grid so their carbon footprint is one of the greenest in the country. He said: “Our business on the industrial estate is completely self-sufficient energy-wise after we installed solar panels when we moved here four years ago. “From our own experiences at home, it is a big comfort to know that we can switch on the lighting and use appliances such as the washing machine without it being expensive because our energy supply is self-sufficient.”