Solar Roof Tiles

A fantastic recent innovation is the solar roof tile. Rather than put a standard tiled roof on a property and then fit solar panels on top of it, it is possible to purchase roof tiles with built in photovoltaic solar cells.

Solar roof tiles installed at the University of Southampton

These tiles can be used on new build properties, or incorporated into an existing roof during re-roofing. These tiles are designed to blend in with existing roof tiles whether they are interlocking concrete tiles, slates, or shingles. Each tile has a plug-in connector, and the tiles can therefore be simply wired together during installation.

Wiring up solar roof tiles - solarcentury
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As long as you have a south / south-east / or south-west facing roof which is not shaded by trees and/or large buildings, solar roof tiles offer a simple way to ‘go green’. It is far more expensive than having a wind turbine at the bottom of the garden, but for many people in built up areas, solar roof tiles are one of the only renewable electricity generation options available.
For a typical grid tied system at least 100 square feet of roof space is required.

C21 solar roof tiles in action. 2kW system over 20 square metres of roof
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Buy Solar Roof Tiles in the UK

For buyers in the UK one option is Solarcentury‘s C21 solar roof tile which was designed specifically for the UK housing market. It fits together with common interlocking roof tiles and so can be installed by any roofer. 200 standard tiles replaced with 40 C21 solar tiles gives a 2kW solar system and costs between £8,000 and £12,000 assuming a government grant of £8,000. This system would generate at least 1,600 kWh (units) of electricity per year silently and without emissions. The tiles should last a minimum of 20-30 years and will require minimal maintenance.

Each C21 solar roof tile puts out 52 Watts peak power, with just 8 square metres of tiles required to generated 1 Kilowatt peak power. Solar cell efficiency is 20%. Click here to download the C21e solar roof tile datasheet (PDF).