Ceramic tiles, synthetic slate, and asphalt shingles each make for a lovely and modern roof. However, I have to say that my personal favorite roofing material is the new kid on the block: solar tiles. Not only are these tiles cost-effective, eco-friendly, and rising in popularity, but they also look fabulous with their sleek texture. And they command an impressive street presence in any neighborhood.
Solar tiles (also known as solar shingles) are not to be confused with solar panels. Both materials perform the same task in transforming sunlight into energy to power the home, but there are a few big differences. Solar tiles are more aesthetically appealing since they’re manufactured to mimic the look of typical asphalt shingles, while traditional solar panels are constructed of bulkier materials. Thus, the shingles tend to be lightweight and easier to remove and reinstall if you choose to put them on a new home.
On the other hand, solar panels tend to be extremely efficient by producing more energy per watt in comparison to solar shingles. So, if you choose solar panels, you may only need one or two panels to produce adequate power for your home. Some homeowners don’t like the look of a massive solar panel placed on their asphalt roof and may opt for stylish solar shingles instead.
My favorite aspect of solar tile roofing is the cost-effectiveness. Many homeowners say their energy savings eventually matches the initial cost of the roof over a span of 7-20 years. Since the addition of a solar tile roof adds resale value to your home, the choice to go with a solar tile roof will pay for itself in the long run.
When building a new home, it’s best to do your research and choose materials that fit your desired home design and lifestyle. Here’s some preliminary research to get you started on your path to installing a solar tile roof on your dream home.
Solar shingles offer excellent aesthetics, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
Solar tiles are some of the more sleek and modern materials on the market. While they may not be as well-known as other types of roofing, they are gaining momentum as an appealing alternative to the clunky solar panels. Made to look like asphalt shingles, these lightweight tiles add a touch of beauty to any home.
By utilizing natural sunlight to generate clean energy, solar tiles are the home roofing material of the future. As a renewable energy source, the sun is an excellent alternative to various other power sources and can reduce your utility bills. The use of solar power as a clean and green energy will lessen our society’s reliance on energy types that burn fossil fuels and/or release greenhouse gas emissions, making it a wonderful alternative to power your home.
As stated, the installation and use of solar tiles can allow your household to dramatically reduce your utility bills within one year. With energy companies constantly increasing rates, you can take comfort knowing your lifestyle does not rely on local utility companies. You should also check your local and state government offices to discover if your new home may be eligible for tax benefits based on solar energy usage.
Sustainability and Tech Advancements
Solar tiles are built with strong materials to withstand harsh weather conditions. They are long-lasting and maintenance is similar in cost to the upkeep of a normal asphalt roof. You can rest easy knowing that your solar tile roof was built to last an average of 20 to 30 years at maximum energy output.
In a spirit of sustainability, manufacturers of solar tiles have instated new tech advancements that allow the shingles to collect and store energy for future use. On cloudy days or stormy nights, you’ll be confident in knowing that your roof is still able to supply you with continuous power.
While solar tiles have fantastic benefits, they also come with their own challenges.
Reliance on Sunlight
Since solar tiles have the capacity to store energy, you can tap into this power source on those cloudy days and darker seasons. If you live in a particularly dark climate that receives little to no prominent sunlight for 11 months out of the year, you might consider a better option. Consult a local expert in the area where you plan to build before deciding on a solar tile roof investment.
As a newer option on the market, solar tiles aren’t as easily available as other types of roofing materials. Many builders still have no expertise with solar tiles, and may not be as confident or comfortable with the new material. As these tiles gain popularity, they will become a simpler solution.
Solar tiles have a higher upfront expense for installation than some other roofing types, which may pose an immediate drawback. However, their cost-effectiveness grows considerably over the long term.
Most solar tiles are certified to the highest ratings when it comes to inclement weather and can hold up against high winds, plummeting hail, and fire emergencies. Coastal and rainy regions, as well as humid tropical areas, are equally suitable for a solar tile roof. Climates that experience extremely low levels of sunlight and areas that have too much tree cover or other development that block the sun may not be suitable for solar tiles. These tiles must be installed at the ideal roof slope to capture optimum sun exposure, so you will need to confirm the structure is built to suit the solar tile project.
Typically, solar tiles are not known for a wide color variance. You can usually order them in the natural colors of solar cells: blue, dark blue, and black. This is primarily because producing various colors can affect the efficiency of the solar shingles. Luckily, these colors can be adapted to resemble the common asphalt roof to add eco-friendly solutions without dramatically affecting the exterior design of your home.
Home Style and Design
Solar tile roofs are a wonderful addition to any home, but particularly those with sloped roofs and optimal sun exposure. They look amazing on Ranch or Modern-style homes, but could also be a nice addition to a traditional farmhouse or suburban family home.
It Could Cost you a Fistful of Dollars
As previously stated, the installation of a solar-tile roof is a high upfront cost that will eventually equalize in long-term savings. That being said, the average cost for a new solar tile roof on an 1800 square-foot single-story home in Austin, Texas, is approximately $60,000 to $75,832. This varies by location, size, and pitch of your roof. It is estimated that new homeowners could pay between $21 and $25 per square foot or $2,100 to $2,500 per square to install solar tiles on a standard single-story home.
Save Money Long-Term with Your Eco-Friendly Roof
It’s easy to see how the benefits can strongly outweigh the initial expense when installing a new, solar-tile roof. As these eco-friendly roofs gain popularity, it’ll be more common to see these sleek and distinctive designs atop all kinds of home styles. If you’re ready to drastically reduce your utility costs and join the Earth-friendly movement towards clean and green energy, then solar tiles may be an ideal fit for your new home.
Melanie Theriault is a writer, counselor, and lifelong learner. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she discovered her passion for fostering human connection through storytelling.