Solar Roof Tiles

Most solar power systems consist of rigid solar panels attached to a roof mounted rack, spaced at least 100mm off the roof. This makes them quite conspicuous!

But many people want their solar system to stand out – they are very proud to have solar on their roof! Others don’t like the look of solar panels bolted on to their roof and would much prefer a system that was a bit more inconspicuous with less of the “environmental bling”.

If this is you, then there is an option, although it is expensive and quite hard to find!

The solution is Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), which includes solar tiles. There are a few solutions on the market that go under the moniker of “solar roof tiles”, among them:

Solar Roof Tiles That Are Simply Roof Tiles

One is literally a roof tile that is a mini solar panel and replaces your existing roof tiles like this:

solar tiles installed

These tiles from Australian company Monier are made from monocrystalline solar cells and produce about 30W each, so you’ll need 100 of them for a 3kW solar system. Called SOLARtiles, they are installed in place of conventional tiles and are almost invisible from the ground. Note: it appears Monier isn’t producing SOLARtiles any more. 

Another Australian firm that makes solar roof tiles is Tractile. They manufacture a solar PV roof tile and also, intriguingly a Solar Hot Water + PV combined tile. I have no idea on pricing or difficulty of installation but here is what a Tractile solar tile installation looks like:

Tractile solar tile

In 2016, Tesla announced their solar roof tiles, which were to be available in four variations:

Telsa tiles

Tesla’s original announcement presentation  was light on details. After the unveiling, more details on the Tesla Solar Roof product were made available. Check out our more in-depth article on Tesla solar roof tiles here, but note it was published in 2017 – so pricing and other aspects are likely to have changed since.

By August 2017, pilot Tesla Solar Roof installations had been performed on the rooftops of some Tesla employee’s homes in the U.S. As of the middle of 2018,  customer installation of Tesla Solar Roof began occurring, but the company has experienced quite a few challenges with rollout of its tech.

Tesla was taking pre-orders in Australia for a while; but as at late 2022 didn’t appear to be – and whether/when the company will resume isn’t clear.

So, solar roof tiles are certainly available. But should you get them – or other types of BIPV for that matter? Learn more about the pros and cons of solar tiles and BIPV here.

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