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Home > > Solar Roof Tiles (UK): What Are They and Should You Use Them?

Solar Roof Tiles (UK): What Are They and Should You Use Them?

Solar energy is generating a lot of excitement, and for a good reason—it's a clean, renewable energy source that can fundamentally change how we produce electricity.

The sustainability of sunlight promises a very bright future as the natural supply of fossil fuels and energy suppliers is rapidly running out.

But what about solar roof tiles and are they available in the UK? To learn about your possibilities, we looked into some of the top solar roof tile manufacturers.

What Are Solar Roof Tiles?

Solar roof tiles, also known as PV roof tiles, are an elegant method of incorporating solar technology into your house without detracting from its organic form.

These tiles are a relatively recent green energy technology, commonly referred to as solar shingles or slates. They are made to look just like traditional roof tiles.

Solar tiles can completely replace your roof tiles, as opposed to standard solar panels that are installed on top of them. Solar tiles work exactly like solar panels, despite their different appearance.

How Much Do Solar Roof Tiles Cost in the UK?

Solar roof tiles in the UK can cost twice as much as conventional solar collectors because it is a relatively new technology.

The roof size and the percentage of the roof you want to cover with solar slates impact the final solar quotes you can get.

The difficulty of the electrical installation process and the installer's fees would also need to be considered.

Solar Roof Tiles UK - Costs

  • System Size: 1kW | Solar Tile Cost (Inc. VAT): £5,500 – £7,000 | Labour Cost: £1,800 | Total Average cost: £8,050 | Typical Solar Panel Cost: £1,440
  • System Size: 2kW | Solar Tile Cost (Inc. VAT): £7,000 – £9,000 | Labour Cost: £1,900 | Total Average cost: £9,900 | Typical Solar Panel Cost: £2,880
  • System Size: 3kW | Solar Tile Cost (Inc. VAT): £10,000 – £12,000 | Labour Cost: £2,000 | Total Average cost: £13,000 | Typical Solar Panel Cost: £4,320
  • System Size: 4kW | Solar Tile Cost (Inc. VAT): £12,000 – £16,000 | Labour Cost: £2,000 | Total Average cost: £16,200 | Typical Solar Panel Cost: £5,760

Installing solar roof tiles could take a week or more as it incorporates them into an existing roof. They are better suited for new constructions or if you are remodelling your existing roof.

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    Are Solar Panel Roof Tiles Available in the UK?

    Several companies sell solar tiles in the UK. The UK market is already home to solar companies such as GB Sol, Solecco, Tesla's Solarglass Roof, and Nulok Roofing System.

    However, compared to solar collectors, this type of solar technology is not as widespread or frequently used across the country.

    Some of the Manufacturers of Solar Roof Tiles in the UK

    Here are your options when it comes to installing a solar roof in the UK:

    Tesla Solar Roof Tiles

    The Tesla Solar Roof tile is probably the most sought-after and ideal for homeowners who wish to have a solar-powered home.

    Tesla Solar Roof tiles can produce electricity using a free renewable energy source (the sun).

    Each solar tile has highly effective PV cells that were created in collaboration with Panasonic—incorporating solar technology as seamlessly as possible.

    Teslas Solar Roof Tiles were first put up for pre-order in the UK in May 2017. However, you can't currently buy solar roof tiles from Tesla.

    Nobody's sure when the first UK installations are going to happen. When converted from USD, Tesla tiles cost roughly £18 per square foot.

    GB Sol Solar Tiles

    The GB Sol Solar Slate company is one of the few solar panel tile manufacturers that have already hit the market. They received MCS approval in 2018.

    When it comes to planning approval, UK local authorities have found the appearance of the natural blue-grey PV slate to be appealing. There is only one natural blue design currently available.

    Due to its light structure and ability to blend with natural slates, the GB Sol Solar Slate is often used on delicate structures, such as listed buildings.

    It is also preferred because these solar PV slates weigh less than a standard roof tile. With solar PVs, battery storage is becoming a more popular option.

    GB Sol has designed its PV slate to integrate well with slate roofs. PV tiles are the perfect solution for homeowners struggling to get planning permission for their solar tiles.

    Solarcentury Solar Tiles

    The C21e range of solar roof tiles was previously offered for sale by the UK-based business Solarcentury.

    Since then, Solarcentury has stopped producing its solar roof tiles and has instead entered the market for integrated solar collectors.

    Like solar tiles, integrated solar panels can be attached to an average roof more securely than standard solar panels. Not to mention, they are cheaper and less trouble than solar tiles.

    Solecco Solar Tiles

    For those awaiting the arrival of the Tesla Solar Roof, the Solecco Solar tile is a fantastic substitute.

    Solar tile manufacturers have created a variety of monocrystalline black and polycrystalline red terracotta roof options that are ideal for your design aesthetics.

    The Solecco Solar tiles are undoubtedly a fair rival to the Tesla roof tiles, with an anticipated 30-year lifespan for solar energy generation.

    These solar tiles are made from recycled plastic rather than tempered glass, which is a bonus. This allows for even greater carbon footprint reduction!

    If you don't need or want to buy solar tiles to cover your whole roof, you can purchase the company's identical (and cheaper) non-solar tiles to make up the difference.

    What Are the Benefits of Using Solar Roof Tiles?

    Domestic solar systems typically offer a lot of uses, especially when it comes to solar power saving and environmental protection. The key advantages of solar tiles are outlined below.

    • A design that is appealing to the eye. The biggest benefit of this technology is probably this. You won't have to ruin the aesthetics of your home by covering a regular roof with sizeable solar collectors.
    • They give you free, clean energy. Solar roof tiles are a greener option for running all of your home's electric appliances, much like solar collectors are. The same government subsidies that apply to solar collectors also apply to them.
    • They reduce your energy bills. By using a solar roof tile system, you can reduce your electricity bills by between 40% and 70%.
    • They increase the market value of your property. Your home will be worth more thanks to their attractive appearance and the current high demand for solar power.
    • They have increased solar performance. Solar roof tiles and bolt-on panels have a long lifespan. However, the former can be harmed by severe weather. Conversely, solar tiles are as strong as the roof itself and cannot be torn off even by hurricane-force winds. The roof part that solar slates are mounted on will be protected.
    • They are suitable for listed buildings. Due to their aesthetics and structural impact, solar collectors are not permitted on many listed properties (or within a conservation area). Solar tiles and integrated solar collectors, however, are allowed.

    What Are the Risks of Using Solar Roof Tiles?

    Solar roof tiles do, of course, have drawbacks. The following are the disadvantages:

    • High start-up expenses. Solar slates are substantially more expensive to purchase compared to standard roofing tiles.
    • Less effective than any solar panels that are already attached. The effectiveness of solar tiles ranges from 10% to 20%. Most solar collectors have efficiencies of at least 16% and occasionally even 22%.
    • They cannot be put on a roof that has already been built. Solar tiles are only appropriate for new construction or buildings where all the tiles need to be changed. On the other hand, traditional solar panels can always be placed, removed, and reinstalled.
    • Not all roofs have room for them. If you decide to have solar roof tiles installed, it requires a correctly pitched and inclined roof. It is easier to install solar panels on ‘challenging’ rooftops.
    • Longer installation times. Only a completely new roof can accommodate solar roof tiles. Even if you only want to have solar panels on a small portion, this results in installation timeframes that are significantly longer than with a typical solar panel installation.
    • Very limited supply. There is a less competitive market for solar roof tiles because of concerns over efficiency and cost. There are fewer possibilities and options available because the product is still in its early stages of development.

    What Is Better, Solar Panels or Solar Tiles?

    Here, we look at how solar panels and tiles differ from one another:

    Power Generation and Efficiency

    Energy efficiency is vital since the better the panels or tiles provide solar energy for your home, the higher their efficiency level.

    Your energy costs will decrease as the tiles generate electricity.

    Solar panels can now produce more electricity, which allows them to be more efficient and take up less roof area.

    But as generation levels have risen and technology for solar roof tiles has advanced, certain CIGS models have achieved conversion efficiencies similar to traditional panels.

    While solar panels typically have efficiencies of at least 16%, solar tiles often have efficiencies of 10% to 20%.

    The best solar panels may reach efficiencies of up to 22%, so your investment will pay off more quickly.

    Installation & Roof Suitability

    First off, solar tiles are not an option for you if you don't want to replace your entire roof. Not all homes are eligible for a solar roof, even if you are replacing your original roof.

    The pitch and angle must be right for the tiles, which cannot be altered or tilted like conventional solar panels.


    The appearance of solar roof tiles is one of its main selling points.

    Solar tiles are made to mix in with or even resemble tiles, unlike traditional panels, which are sometimes called eyesores because of their being bigger and their tendency to protrude from roofs.

    Another factor to consider when using solar panels is the possibility that tiny animals or birds could build nests in the space between the panel and the roof.


    The predicted lifespan of solar panels, which has been demonstrated to be very long, is 20 to 25 years.

    On the other hand, although many providers offer a 20-year power guarantee, solar tiles have not been used long enough for us to determine their average lifespan.

    Solar tiles are made to survive the weather and work as functional tiles or shingles, protecting the roof below. Solar panels are very simple to repair if they are damaged or develop issues.

    Many assert that solar tiles are stronger and more resilient than regular tiles.

    What Makes Solar Roof Tiles Stand Out Compared to Others?

    As technology has advanced and better designs have hit the market, solar roof tiles have become more popular.

    There are a few benefits and drawbacks to be aware of if you're considering installing solar roof tiles on your residence or commercial building.

    Since they are available in various sizes and shapes and seem like standard tiles, they may go with practically any building's interior design.

    They do away with the need for a sizeable installation area that conventional solar panels rely on.

    Here are some FAQs about solar roof tiles in the UK and some related enquiries in case you can't locate the information you're looking for.

    Conclusion: Are Solar Roof Tiles Worth It in the UK?

    Solar roof tiles are sadly not available yet to completely dominate the solar business due to a lack of suppliers and a higher price point.

    But the prospect of effortlessly integrating solar tiles into any roof has undoubtedly altered the solar energy sector.

    Do solar tiles fit your needs? Think about whether solar panels would be preferable because they are typically more costly, although more energy efficient.

    If you reside in conservation areas or have a listed building, check with your local council to ensure you can complete the work before you start.

    Did you know that Solar Panel Installation can match you with 3 local installers who will provide you with a free quote? Fill out our form today to get in touch with installers.

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    Mark McShane
    Content Writer
    Mark McShane is a seasoned professional in the solar industry and the owner of Skills Training Group, a leading provider of solar training and education. With years of experience in the field, Mark has developed a deep understanding of the latest trends, technologies and best practices in the industry. His expertise and passion for solar energy have helped countless professionals develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the fast-growing field of solar energy. Whether you’re an aspiring solar professional or an experienced industry veteran, Mark is an excellent resource for anyone looking to enhance their skills and knowledge of the solar industry.
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