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Solar Roof Tiles

Solar roof tiles represent a possibility when designing a home solar system. Learn about their pros and cons here.


home solar power systems


What's new in solar?

Solar roof tiles are the newest way to add solar energy in your home. Solar roofing tiles solve the aesthetic problem of large and unsightly solar panels rack mounted to the top of your home or on a ground rack.

Do they really work? Yes, solar roofing tiles do work but they are not inexpensive and it takes a lot of them to generate enough power for your home.

Learn more about their pros and cons here.

Solar Roof Tiles Facts And Considerations

How solar power roofing tiles work

Solar roof tiles come in different types. You can buy solar flat tiles or solar S tiles.The flat solar tiles are designed to be used on concrete or clay flat roofing and the S style tiles with profiled roof tiling (mediterranean or raised,curved roofing tiles).

We refer to integrated roofing systems as BIPV's or "building-integrated photovoltaics". The solar tiles or solar shingles combine solar cell technology with slate, metal, cement, and asphalt roofing. Electricity is generated when the sun strikes a photovoltaic layer typically composed of solar cells in a crystalline silicon that acts as a semiconductor. This is laminated to the surface of the tile or shingle. Each shingle or tile is installed over existing roofing or integrated into new roofing.

Positive design effects

The aesthetically pleasing aspects of solar roofing tiles are not only the fact that they come in colors and generally blend in with the roof better but also because the wiring lays in grooves in the bottom side of the tiles which hides all the electrical connections from view. The tiles are connected to each other using standard connectors.

Energy efficiency and costs

Before running out to invest in solar roof tiles or shingles you should be aware that the power they generate is limited. A single tile or shingle generally produces somewhere between 50 and 200 watts. It would take hundreds of square feet of the tiles to produce enough energy to power an entire house. An electrician or a trained roofing installer is required to wire together the units and wire them into the home's electrical system.

A benefit to solar tiles or shingles is that they require less "balance of system" components. No racking or mounting hardware is necessary but do remember that because the tiles are less powerful you will need more of them than traditional solar panels to generate the same amount of power so the costs may actually be comparable or even more than a mounted panel array depending on how large a system you are considering. You must also make certain you have enough roof space for the solar tiles you will need to generate your desired level of electricity.

New product development

Coming up in 2010 is the launch of a new solar shingle manufactured by Dow. Dow states that this asphalt compatible solar shingle will be significantly cheaper than other photovoltaic options so keep your eyes open for more information as it becomes available on new solar roofing tiles and solar roofing shingles because prices continue to drop and the efficiency levels of these products are improving.

More related articles:

  1. Residential solar energy - An overview

  2. Sizing of home solar power systems

  3. Solar power components - a cheat sheet

  4. What are the best residential solar kits for Do it yourself

  5. The top 10 questions about installing residential solar power

  6. Where can I find reliable solar contractors in my area?
 



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