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Solar Roof Tiles

For house-proud homeowners, the idea of sticking large panels on their roofs for solar power might not be the most appealing – and for those in protected areas, the initiative might be banned entirely.

Emerging as an alternative in the space are solar roof tiles, which provide homeowners with the chance to benefit from the savings that can be made with solar panels, but who don’t want traditional solar panels on their roofs.

In this article, we’ll be looking at:

  • How much solar roof tiles cost
  • What affects the cost of solar roof tiles
  • How to save money on solar roof tiles
  • What’s involved in installing solar roof tiles
  • How to find and hire an installer

If you’re considering a new renewable energy source and have your eye on solar power as a solution, keep reading to find out how to take advantage of this infinitely available energy source while keeping the aesthetic of your home intact.

How Much Do Solar Roof Tiles Cost?

To start things off, let’s look at the cost of solar roof tiles based on their system size, considering the labour time and charges to provide an overall total cost for fitting.

1kW £5,000 to £7,000 £2,000 1 week £8,000 to £9,000
2kW £7,000 to £9,000 £2,000 1 to 2 weeks £9,000 to £11,000
3kW £10,000 to £12,000 £2,000 2 weeks £12,000 to £14,000
4kW £12,000 to £16,000 £2,000 2 to 3 weeks £14,000 to £18,000

Prices last reviewed in November 2022.

For a 1kW system, the estimated supply cost would be between £5,000 to £7,000, with an additional labour cost of £2,000. This would take around a week to install, and come out at a total estimated cost of £8,000 to £9,000.

A 2kW system will increase the cost price from £7,000 to £9,000, incurring the same labour timeframe of one week and £2,000. This would make a total estimated cost of between £9,000 to £11,000.

3kW systems will increase the price further from £10,000 to £12,000 for supply costs alone. When adding on the additional £2,000 for labour and the same week timeframe for installation, this will equate to £12,000 to £14,000.

Finally, the largest of our selection is the 4kW system, coming in at between £12,000 to £16,000 for supply costs. Adding the £2,000 labour fee and one-week installation period will level out at £14,000 to £18,000 in total.

Looking at specific solar tile suppliers, Tesla (although not yet available for purchase in the UK), will cost roughly £18 per square foot, when converted from USD. For a 2,000-square-foot roof area, this can equate to a total cost of around £35,000.

GB Sol’s slate PV tiles are the perfect solution for homeowners struggling to get planning permission for their solar tiles, with a slate variant produced in Wales. To find out about their prices, you’ll need to enquire with them directly.

Solecco offer both terracotta and black roof tiles, offering a seamless look to blend in with traditional styles. To find out about their prices, you’ll need to enquire with them directly.

Nulok offers solar tiles that are capable of generating 20% more power than their older models, giving 3.7kW for every 1kW installed. Again, for pricing information, you’ll need to directly enquire.

Are you ready to have solar tiles installed? HouseholdQuotes can help you find the right solar tile fitters.

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What Affects the Cost of Solar Roof Tiles?

A few different factors are likely to affect the cost of solar roof tiles. We take a look at the most common factors below so you have an idea of what to be aware of before making any purchases.

The Number of Solar Tiles Installed/The Size of Your Roof

Understandably, the number one factor in raising or lowering the price of your solar roof tiles is simply the number of solar tiles installed. This ties into your overall roof size, as the larger the area, the more solar tiles you can have fitted, usually equating to higher overall costs.

The Condition of Your Roof

Some solar tiles can be installed over existing roof tiles, while others require roof tiles to be removed. If your roof is in poor condition, you will need to pay for the cost of repairs before your roofer can install the solar tiles.

Ease of Access

For taller properties you can expect to pay more in labour for the installation of your solar tiles as your roof is harder to reach, needing scaffolding or lifting machinery to access. For smaller properties, or those in single-storey homes such as bungalows, the price will be lower by contrast as the ease of access is better.

Your Location

As is the case with all home renovation projects, your geographical location impacts the price you will pay. For those in cities and the capitals, you can expect to pay more than your neighbours in rural locales.

Another important consideration is if you are on the main road, or somewhere without a driveway or good access to your roof, you may need to block off parts of the road or pavement for the installation, which will again cost you more and require you to get parking permits – again, all coming at extra cost.

How Can I Save Money on Solar Roof Tiles?

Comparing quotes is a great way to potentially reduce the cost of your solar power project. HouseholdQuotes can help you get quotes from multiple solar tile installers near you, so that you can find someone that suits your budget.

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One of the best ways to save money on your solar tiles is to enrol in the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

While the government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) has been revoked for new applicants as of April 2019, which previously saw incentives paid to homeowners who included renewable and low-carbon electricity generation in their homes, the scheme has since been replaced with the Smart Export Guarantee as of January 2020.

This initiative is a way to provide small-scale generators of renewable electricity payment for any energy they export to the national grid. The following information relates to energy bill savings when paired with solar panels, not roof tiles, but the information can relate to the predicted savings seen by solar roof tile installation.

The Energy Savings Trust has a clear breakdown of how much you save using solar panels with and without the SEG. They estimate that homeowners who are in their houses all day can save up to £610 per year with the SEG, while they’ll save up to £500 per year without SEG enrolment – those who are out all day until 6 pm can see savings of up to £360 per year with SEG sign-up, and £205 without SEG contributions.

Taking a DIY route with household renovations is usually a surefire way to cut costs in labour and reduce your overall project bill, but when it comes to solar roof tiles, we would advise against installing the tiles yourself as it’s a complex job.

What’s more, if you’re installing solar tiles to qualify for the SEG system, you’ll need the tiles to be installed by a qualified installer and provide proof of this to be able to receive tax-free payments.

Solar roof tiles are more expensive than solar panels (up to 100% more in price) and the price difference is not likely to come down any time soon because it’s a smaller market than the solar panel market and there’s much less competition between manufacturers.

Solar panels are the more affordable option, which can make renewable energy easier to install for some homeowners who are less concerned about the overall roof aesthetic.

What’s Involved in Installing Solar Tiles?

First of all, your existing roof tiles will need to be removed, and the roof prepped for the solar tiles. Starting from the edge upwards towards the peak of the roof, the tiles will be laid, starting feet in place to create the shape.

In your loft or roof space, there will be a connection point which joins the solar roof tiles with electrical cables and an inverter. The electricity that your solar roof tiles create is DC power, and your inverter then changes the DC power into the AC power, ready for your home to use it.

More and more homeowners are now wishing to keep the surplus electricity they create and they can do this via a solar battery storage system.

How Do I Know If Solar Tiles Are Right For Me?

Solar roof tiles are a smart investment for any homeowner looking to add value to their property and reduce their annual electricity costs. Let’s take a look at the main advantages and disadvantages of solar tiles.

Smart investment, adding value to properties Solar tiles are more expensive than solar panels
Reduce annual electricity costs by up to 50% Considerably longer installation time as opposed to solar panels
Can be easier to get permission for installation for properties in conservation/listed areas Solar tiles can be harder to source than traditional panels

For many people, the idea of having large, standard solar panels bolted onto their homes covering most or all of their roofs is not so appealing – which is exactly why solar roof tiles were developed.

In locations where a home is either a listed building and/or situated in a conservation area, planning permissions for solar tile panels are much more likely to be approved than for solar panels. Although, we would urge any homeowner in this situation to check with their local authority before making a purchase.

When you’ve installed your solar roof tiles, they’ll be responsible for generating a significant amount of the electricity your household uses. This home-grown energy reduces the amount of power that you have to buy from your utility company, bringing down the value of the monthly direct debit you pay for your electricity.

If we consider a £600 bill a year, your household potentially could save 50% on its annual energy charges with a 4kW solar roof tile system. The smallest option, a 1kW system, will produce savings closer to 15%.

How Do I Find and Hire an Installer?

Finding the right solar tile installer can be challenging. At HouseholdQuotes, we can connect you to solar tile companies in your area.

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The best way to find and hire a reputable solar roof tile installer is to use HouseholdQuotes to keep your search consolidated to just one website, rather than scattered across many. Using our site can also help you to save up to 40% of your project fee, which helps with expensive projects such as solar roof tiling.

As it is somewhat of a niche installation, seeking out recommendations from family, friends, and neighbours might prove harder than with other home renovations, but it’s worth asking the question to see if you can find someone local and reputable in your area.

Solar tiles are still a relatively new product in the UK and are mainly supplied by GB Sol and Solecco. Before going ahead with a purchase, it’s always best to double-check that you are purchasing solar tiles and not solar panels, as these are different products with different pricing.

Solarcentury used to sell solar tiles, but these have since been discontinued as they now provide integrated solar panels instead.

Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit

With a specialised fitting such as solar roof tiles, you must find a competent and qualified tradesperson to carry out the work for you. Your home’s energy system will be relying on the solar power working correctly, so it’s not something to do on a hope and a prayer.

In the first instance, it’s a good idea to get hold of a written quote so you can be sure exactly how much you will be paying out before agreeing to work with a trader. This way, you can avoid any sneaky additions to the bill at the end of the project.

Always check out the trader’s past experience, looking for any photos or videos of their previous work to get a feel for what they can provide you with. Secondly, seeking out recommendations from past clients is a great way to glean verbatim responses from customers, helping you to make an informed decision.

The trader must have insurance to fit and install the roof tiles, and you should always double-check the warranty period attached to the tiles in the event something does go wrong within a few months or years of their installation.

Final Checklist

Moving to a more eco-friendly way of living is something most homeowners are looking to do, and installing solar roof tiles is a great way to do just that while keeping the aesthetic of your property intact. Here’s our final checklist to make sure all things are considered with your project.

  • Are solar tiles right for you? Consider if solar panels are better as they tend to be more cost-effective and energy-efficient
  • Check-in with local councils if you live in a conservation area or have a listed building to make sure you’re able to get the work done before you get started
  • Enrol yourself with the SEG to make the most of your surplus solar energy, and take advantage of the payback scheme

Use HouseholdQuotes to find local solar tile companies and potentially save money on your solar power project.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between Solar Tiles and Solar Panels?

Roof tiles are a lot more discreet than solar panels, and there is evidence to suggest that they add to the value of your home. What’s more, you can enjoy a warranty of up to 30 years of power generation, meaning that you’ll see a return on your investment each year for the next three decades in the form of lower electricity bills.

The main pull towards solar roof tiles is if you worry about the look of solar panels. Especially prevalent for homeowners living in listed buildings or conservation areas, they are more likely to get planning permission (if needed) for solar roof tiles as they will not detract from the desired visual appearance a planning officer will be seeking to preserve.

However, solar roof tiles are difficult to retrofit – you most likely will need to replace your entire roof to have solar roof tiles installed. There is also evidence to suggest that solar roof tiles are less efficient than solar panels, as they produce less electricity for you than solar panels covering the same surface area on your roof.

Can I Purchase Solar Tiles by Tesla?

Tesla is a California-based company best known for the design, production, and sale of high-end electric-powered vehicles. Originally, Tesla’s roof tiles were tested out by a handful of its employees, and the favourable reaction eventually led to the launch of its solar tiles and solar panels division, under the brand name Solar City.

The company have since opened up their solar tile retail operation in the UK, and SolarCity solar tiles and panels are available to purchase. Tesla claims that its solar tiles are three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, and their tiles are available in four different styles – slate, smooth, Tuscan, and textured, mimicking the look of a standard roof tile.

Tesla offers an unlimited warranty on the tile itself and offers customers the guarantee that the tiles will produce energy for at least 30 years after purchase. While these are not yet available for purchase in the UK, you can pre-order them in anticipation of when they are.

It’s estimated that an entire Tesla solar tile roof covering a 2,000-square-foot area would cost around USD $34,000, which equates to around GBP £28,000.

Will I Need Planning Permission for Solar Tiles?

If you live in a conservation area or own a listed building, you’ll need to check in with your local authority to find out what your situation is, and if you are permitted to have solar roof tiles on your property.

Anecdotally, councils are more likely to favour roof tiles over panels in these instances as they are more sympathetically designed, but it’s always best to check in first to make sure you’re permitted before buying anything.

How Long Will Solar Tiles Last?

New-build homes are being fitted with solar tiles as standard in increasing numbers, and the people purchasing these brand-new houses will benefit permanently from the savings on electricity bills that solar power has been proven to bring over the last couple of decades.

For existing houses, more and more homeowners are asking specialist solar roof tile installation companies to replace their current roof with solar roof tiles so they can also reap the benefits. Solar roof tiles are said to be more durable than traditional solar panels, with a lifespan in excess of 20 years when properly maintained and cared for.

How Efficient Are Solar Roof Tiles?

The general efficiency of solar roof tiles is thought to be between 10% and 20% – for comparison, solar panels are wagered at 16% efficiency.

Solar roof tiles and solar panels operate in the same way – the tiles absorb heat and energy from the sun and convert it into electricity through the photovoltaic process, creating an electrical field which is then converted into electricity to power your home.

Simply put, more roof tiles you have, the more electricity they can generate. Their output is also impacted by:

  • How long the sun is out
  • The pitch of your roof
  • How your south-facing roof is orientated in relation to the position of the sun
  • How efficient your solar tiles are (usually between 10% to 20%)

Can I Add Solar Tiles to My Existing Roof, or Do I Have to Replace the Entire Roof?

If you’re wanting to add solar roof tiles to your property, you’ll need to remove your existing slate tiles to have them fitted. You don’t need to have your entire roof replaced, but you will need to have all of your existing tiles removed in order to create space for the new solar tiles.

Ready to start your project? We can help!

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