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Solar roof tiles cost guide
by
Checkatrade

This solar roof tiles cost guide is going to focus on the new green technology powering our homes. For years, environmentally friendly and sustainable energy has gained momentum, evolving along with its application and distribution measures. Consequently, the demand for more integrated and efficient technologies has risen, making the cost of solar roof tiles a little higher than their counterparts.

We’ve pulled together everything you need to know about this new technology in our solar roof cost guide, so read on for more information.

What are solar roof tiles?

Solar tiles, also known as solar shingles or solar slates, are for people who’d like a solar-powered home without anybody noticing. They’re a relatively new technology that isn’t widely available in the UK as of yet; however, there are a few brands who specialise in making them.

These include:

Tesla tiles

Terracotta solar roof tiles and costsThe most widely recognised solar tile brand is Tesla’s Solarglass roof. That said, they aren’t available in the UK yet, and they’ve only just seen a limited rollout in the US.

GB Sol

GB Sol’s PV Slate is manufactured in Wales. It’s one of the few solar panel tiles already on the market, designed to integrate with slate roofs in areas where planning permission is more restricted.

Solecco

Until Tesla’s Solarglass is available in the UK, Solecco tiles offer a great alternative. Due to hit the market in 2020, they come in attractive black or terracotta roof options.

Like their panel counterparts, solar roof tiles help power you home with free, green, and renewable energy. They also lower energy bills and our reliance on fossil fuels and energy suppliers.

How much do solar roof tiles cost?

Solar system sizeSolar tile cost Cost + VAT
(Range low - high)
Labour costTotal Average cost
1kW£5,500 – £7,000£1,800£8,050
2kW£7,000 – £9,000£1,900£9,900
3kW£10,000 – £12,000£2,000£13,000
1kW£12,000 – £16,000£2,200£16,200

Due to their new and integrated technology, the cost of solar tiles is up to twice as much as solar panels. They also take longer to put in place because they require a more complex installation process, which takes around a week to complete.

The solar roof tiles price is based on several other factors, such as:

  1. The size of your roof; and
  2. What proportion of the roof you’d like the solar tiles to cover.

At present, integrating solar tiles into your existing roof is unlikely, which makes their installation more suited to new builds or renovations.

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Are solar roof tiles covered by the new Green Homes Grant?

In July, the government announced the new Green Homes Grant, which provides homeowners and landlords in England with £5,000 – £10,000 worth of vouchers for energy-saving renovations.

Solar PV roof tiles are not covered as part of the scheme, but solar thermal panels (for solar water heating) are part of the primary measures covered by the Green Homes scheme.

If the Green Homes Grant doesn’t cover your thermal panel costs, then the Renewable Heat Incentive can help you pay back the cost of installation every quarter over a period of 7 years.

Check out our solar energy grant guide for more information.

Solar roof tiles and the Feed-In Tariff system

The Smart Export Guarantee launched on 1st January 2020, replacing the Feed-in Tariff. This means that some energy providers are offering around 5.5p/kWh of exported electricity.Solar roof tiles cost

With that in mind, a 4kWp solar panel system could make around £340 per year, so it’s an investment that literally pays for itself.

More information can be found here.

What is the difference between the SEG and the FiT?

In terms of government-led solar power initiatives, the SEG is the FiT’s successor; but they’re not the same.

Previously, the government paid for the Feed-in Tarif while suppliers paid for the SEG. This meant homeowners with solar panels received two payments:

  • A generation tariff (for the total amount of renewable electricity they generated).
  • A further export tariff (for the renewable electricity they exported back to the grid).

The SEG introduced a single payment that replaced the old export tariff, rewarding homeowners for the renewable electricity they send back to the grid.

However, instead of the government setting this fixed-rate, suppliers now set it themselves. This gives companies the freedom to choose their rates –  as long as it’s more than zero.

Solar roof tiles vs solar panels

Solar panels on house to demonstrate the green grantBoth solar roof tiles and solar panels use photovoltaic (PV) cells, which means they both draw energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.

There are five key differences between solar roof tiles (SRT) and solar panels (SP).

  • SP’s are mounted to your roof, while SRT’s are installed alongside traditional roof tiles instead of on top of them.
  • The UK has a range of SP’s widely available, whereas SRT’s are a relatively new technology and therefore not as obtainable.
  • SP’s cost less than SRT’s but aren’t as aesthetically pleasing. (Average solar panel roof tiles UK cost: £10,000 for 3kW vs. £5,000 for 3kW solar panels).
  • SRT’s cannot be fitted on an existing roof, whereas solar panels can.
  • When it comes to listed properties or conservation areas, SRT’s are most suited.

Checklist for solar tile installation

  • Solar roof tiles are as much as double the price of solar panels.
  • Solar roof tiles are less efficient, with an efficiency rating between 10% and 20%.
  • Tiles are more complex than panels so are not suitable for DIY installation.
  • The small size and discreet appearance of solar tiles mean they look just like conventional tiled roofs.
  • Make sure you’re dealing with a Checkatrade vetted and qualified installer before undertaking any works.
  • Get several quotes and research the solar tile you’re planning on getting installed to ensure that you’re aware of the pros and cons of tiles versus solar panels.

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FAQs

Are solar roof tiles available in the UK?

Solar roof tiles price – panels on house

They are. Both GB Sol and Solecco supply them for the UK, which you can purchase here.

Can I fit solar roof tiles myself?

As solar roof tiles are a relatively new technology, we recommend that you hire a professional to install them for you. That way, you avoid any problems and help maximise their input and output.

Should I buy solar roof tiles and fit them myself?

We strongly advise against doing so. To qualify for the Feed-In Tariff system, you need to purchase your solar tiles from an accredited supplier. To make a claim, you need to take a copy of your solar roof tile installer’s MCS certificate as proof.

After that, you can apply for the Government incentive scheme and start receiving tax-free payments for twenty years. These payments are not taxable and do not count towards your personal tax allowance either. However, if you buy cheap tiles online and fit them yourself, you’ll miss out on the government incentives, which total as much as £12,000 over 20 years (which would cover the costs of the professional installation).

Will I be better off with traditional solar panels?

Due to the new technology and efficiency limitations of solar panel tiles, unless you’re concerned about aesthetics or live in a listed building or conservation area, traditional solar panels might be a better option.

How do solar slates work?

Traditional solar panelsSolar slates (aka, solar tiles) work in the exact same way as traditional solar panels. They’re just small solar panels which look like roof tiles, made of photovoltaic cells (PV) that produce electricity when exposed to light. The solar shingles are attached by electrical leads to a connection point where the electricity is stored for future use.

Do solar tiles need any maintenance?

There are no moving parts and nothing to rust or wear, so solar tiles require minimal maintenance. They just need to be kept clean and clear to keep them in good working order. Check out our solar panel cleaning cost guide for more information.

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