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Last updated on November 20th, 2023

Solar roof tiles cost guide

Considering solar roof tiles to help provide energy to your home? We've put together a guide to help you understand solar roof tiles and how much they could cost you.

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 that specialise in making them.

These include:

Tesla tiles

The 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. They come in attractive black or terracotta roof options.

Nulok

Nulok tiles are widely available all over the UK, Europe, Australia and USA. The tiles generate an average of 3.7kWh of power for every 1Kw installed on a roof.

Tyle

Each Tyle provides 95w of solar power. Tyle is a UK based company.

XO Edge

The XO Edge tiles are made using construction-grade recycled plastic. They generate 12W per tile and a total of 152W per m². They are a UK based company.

Marley SolarTile

The Marley SolarTile comes with a 25 year panel efficiency guarantee and 15 year warranty on the system. Each tile generates 335W.

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

Terracotta solar roof tiles and costs

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
4kW£12,000 – £16,000£2,200£16,200

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

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?

There are currently no grants to help with the costs of solar roof tiles.

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.

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.

Solar roof tiles cost

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

Both 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 easy to get hold of
  • 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

Solar panels on house to demonstrate the green grant

Solar tile installation key takeaways

  • 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
  • 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

Solar roof tiles price – panels on house

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FAQs

Are solar roof tiles available in the UK?

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. We recommend hiring a qualified professional.

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?

Solar 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.

Can solar tiles heat water as well as generate electricity?

Yes, solar PV panels or solar roof tiles can heat water because the electricity generated can be used to power an immersion heater in a water tank. Solar PV panels and solar roof tiles generate electricity, and so how you use that power can vary. Solar thermal tubes can heat water directly.

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What others think of this article:

Phil Lee

A really helpful article, which sets out simply the merits and drawbacks of tiles vs panels, including some approximate costs. Having successfully used a ‘Checkatrade’ contractor before, l’d have no problem in searching for an installer, if/when l decide to install solar panels.

Checkatrade

Hi Gerry, we have had an expert look at your question and have added it as an FAQ in the piece. The answer is yes, solar PV panels or solar roof tiles can heat water because the electricity generated can be used to power an immersion heater in a water tank. Hope this helps!

Gerardino Gambone

Can solar tiles heat water as well as generate electricity? Regards Gerry Gambone

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