Solar Tiles, also known as solar shingles or solar slates, are designed to look like ordinary roof tiles meaning they blend in with the rest of the roof and often considered to be less obtrusive than traditional solar panels being bolted on to roofs.
Tesla, the firm famed for making electric cars and batteries, recently unveiled their new solar roof tiles, which are expected to be rolled out by Sumer 2017. The product, is claimed to ‘look far better than any similar product’, and will be available in a range of styles and colours, being more durable and with better insulation qualities than conventional roofing. The cost of this new product, although not confirmed, is expected to be less than a conventional roof plus traditional solar.
As part of the unveiling of the solar roof tiles, there was also the launch of the ‘Powerwall 2’; a longer lasting home battery which will store any surplus energy from the solar panels. The battery makes the most of the solar tiles, by storing enough unused solar energy to power an average two bedroom home for a full day.
It is a major step forward for Solar PV technology. Much like BIPV (Building Integrated PV), it means larger areas (in this case, whole roofs) can be covered with panels, providing increased production of renewable energy. Solar tiles also provide suitable solutions where a dwelling has a listed status, or is within a conservation area, meaning you cannot bolt on solar panels.
Solar tiles have been available for some years, and although aesthetically pleasing, a stumbling block has been the higher cost compared to traditional panels, meaning a lower return on a solar investment. With Tesla claiming the product to be affordable, beautiful, and seamlessly integrated, we can expect to see more solar roof tiles in the future.