Solar Panels vs Solar Roof Tiles. Is this the new solar energy dilema? Solar energy using solar roof tiles or solar panels has become one of the most popular alternative energy sources, as it not only reduces dependence on fossil fuels but also contributes to decreasing the carbon footprint.
In the United States, solar energy is widely available, and its cost is becoming increasingly affordable.
When it comes to choosing between solar energy products for residential homes, the variety is extensive and can be overwhelming for families.
Both solar tiles and solar panels can contribute to caring for the planet and help save money, but there are key differences that can sway the decision towards one option or the other.
What are Solar Panels?
Solar panels are composed of numerous photovoltaic cells arranged on a rectangular plate. These panels are connected together to generate electrical energy in residential and commercial buildings, making the most of solar exposure.
The electricity generated by solar panels is converted and stored in batteries for later use.
They are installed on the top of the roof, garage, or yard, using adjustable mounting brackets. Typically, there is a gap between the panels and the roof.
What are Solar Roof Tiles?
Solar tiles, also known as photovoltaic tiles, have a similar appearance to traditional roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles.
In addition to protecting the roof, solar tiles have the ability to generate electricity in a similar way to conventional solar panels.
These solar tiles function as mini solar panels that use the photovoltaic effect to convert sunlight into electricity, albeit on a much smaller scale.
They are installed as part of the roof instead of being a separate component mounted on top of it. Solar tiles can be installed as part of a complete roof renovation or during its replacement.
Key differences between Solar panels and Solar Roof Tiles
When choosing between solar panels and solar tiles, there are noticeable differences that influence the decision.
In general, solar panels are more cost-effective than solar tiles.
Traditional solar panels are usually cheaper, especially if you already have a roof in good condition. Additionally, competition in the sector has lowered solar energy prices.
Solar panels are more efficient than solar tiles. Solar tiles, being directly attached to the roof, have less airflow and dissipate more heat, reducing their efficiency. Furthermore, solar panels can be installed and repositioned for better solar exposure, while solar tiles are fixed on the roof, limiting their capture of sunlight.
Solar tiles are suitable for sloped roofs, while solar panels adapt to any type of roof, even flat ones.
Solar panels are also easier to dismantle and reinstall when moving, unlike solar tiles, which are integrated into the roof.
Dimensions and Aesthetics
Solar tiles have the size and shape of traditional tiles, while solar panels are larger.
Solar tiles are an integral part of the roof, while solar panels add additional weight.
Solar panels are functional but not always aesthetically appealing, as they occupy the entire roof space.
Solar tiles are designed to look like traditional tiles and offer a pleasant appearance. Aesthetics are an important factor for many people when choosing between the two.
Both solar panels and solar tiles are durable, with a lifespan of 25 to 30 years.
However, solar tiles are considered better in terms of roof longevity compared to traditional asphalt shingles.
Before making a decision, it is important to review the warranties offered.
Solar panels typically have product warranties of around 25 years, while solar tiles usually have warranties of up to 20 years.
Remember that the final choice will depend on your needs, budget, and personal preferences.
Solar Panels vs. Solar Roof Tiles: Which one is better for you?
The simple answer to this question is that it depends on what matters most to you. For most people, it comes down to these three main factors:
- Cost: Solar roof tiles are a cost-effective one-time investment during roof replacement, while solar panels are more affordable if they can be placed on a fully functional roof.
- Location: If exterior appeal matters, solar tiles are the winners. However, if your roof is flat or does not receive much sunlight, solar panels are the best choice to maximize energy efficiency.
- Long-term planning: If you do not plan to stay in one place for long, solar panels are the way to go. You can easily remove and relocate them, while solar tiles are there to stay.