Just a decade ago, the thought of harnessing the sun’s power to create electricity for your home may have seemed like a distant dream.
Now, as solar energy’s popularity soars amid increasing advances in solar panel technology, the cost of installing solar power is becoming more affordable to people around the globe. Today, solar is becoming so widespread that it’s not a question of whether to get solar power, but rather when and how to do it.
You have two major options for residential rooftop solar when you decide to harness the power of the sun in your home. Keep reading to find out more about solar roof tiles vs. solar panels, so you can get on board as soon as possible.
What Are Solar Panels and Solar Tiles?
It’s important to understand what solar panels and solar tiles are to make a fair comparison. Solar panels and solar roof tiles convert sunlight into electricity, which is one of the most common uses of solar energy.
Their surfaces absorb light through photovoltaic (PV) cells onto a semiconducting material, like silicon, contained within. The sunlight reacts with this semiconducting material to create an electric field.
This energy creates a direct current that must pass through an inverter before you can use it in your home, feed it into the grid, or store it in batteries.
The obvious difference between these two technologies is their size. Solar panels typically measure 3.25 feet by 5.5 feet, while solar tiles are 12 inches wide by 86 inches long, which is about the same size as a roof tile.
Installing Solar Tiles vs. Solar Panels
Solar tiles aren’t as widely used as solar panels are. Solar panel sales have reached record highs in recent times as more Americans discover the benefits of solar energy. They’re available in most areas, especially in the Western states, where solar is widely adopted.
There are many technicians qualified to install and maintain solar panels across Texas, and they’re easy to install using roof-mounted brackets. Most installers can have your solar panels up and running within a day.
Solar tiles only make up around 1% of total solar installations across the country. Only a few manufacturers produce this technology, so they’re a lot scarcer than solar panels.
If your roof is in good condition, it takes about a week to install solar tiles on top of it. If you’ve decided to replace your roof tiles with solar tiles, it will take much longer.
Additionally, solar tiles are tapered to fit sloped roofs; you can attach solar panels to any type of roof as you can angle them to catch the sun.
Comparing the Efficiency of Solar Tiles vs. Panels
The semiconductors inside solar tiles and panels work better in cooler conditions. Airflow under and around the panels helps keep them cool and operating at their best.
Thus, solar tiles aren’t as efficient as solar panels due to constricted airflow underneath the shingles. Each tile can only produce up to 63 watts of power.
This adds up, depending on how many tiles you install. Most solar tile installations can reduce your electricity bill by between 40% and 70%.
Solar panels produce between 250 and 400 watts of power per panel. When you choose the right solar panel system for your home you can lower your electricity bill by up to 90%.
Solar Roof Tiles vs. Solar Panels Cost
Solar tiles are almost twice as expensive as solar panels. You’ll pay between $3 and $8 per watt, depending on which brand of solar tiles you install. This can amount to $115,000 per installation.
Solar panel costs vary depending on the make and type of panel you choose. These are your options:
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
These dark black panels contain silicon wafers sliced from a single crystal. Due to their high efficiency, they’re the best solar panels for residential use, but they’re also the most expensive type of solar panel available.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Blue polycrystalline panels comprise wafers made from many silicon crystals combined, melted into a mold, and then sliced. They’re less efficient and more affordable than monocrystalline panels.
Passivated emitter and rear cell panels are an advanced version of the monocrystalline solar panel. They have a passivation layer behind the solar cells that emits light back into the solar panel to maximize efficiency.
PERC panels are 5% more efficient than monocrystalline panels and are also more expensive.
Thin-film solar panels contain a conductive sheet, photovoltaic material, and a protective layer. They’re the lightest and cheapest type of solar panel, but they’re also the least efficient.
Overall, the average cost for installed solar panels is around $3 per watt or $18,000 to $20,000.
You will enjoy the benefits of tax incentives for both solar roof tiles and solar panels, which can help mitigate the costs.
The reason for the huge price difference is that installing solar tiles is much more labor-intensive and takes longer than installing solar panels.
Your roof’s condition can also have a significant impact on the cost of installing solar panels and solar tiles.
If you’re due to replace your roof, it can be more cost-effective to install solar shingles instead of regular shingles, as well as solar panels. That’s because you can install solar tiles instead of conventional tiles and save on material and labor costs.
When installing solar tiles, the complexity and size of your roof can also affect the cost. Installing the best panels on a complex roof with many levels and obstructions can be extremely costly.
Solar tiles aren’t as heavy as solar panels, so you might be better off with solar tiles if it means you won’t have to reinforce your roof structure to accommodate solar panels.
Ways to Save With Solar Panels
Solar energy companies are committed to conserving the environment by allowing more people to access the benefits of solar power. Thanks to this, there are two extra ways you can save money on your solar panel installation:Solar Leases
Another way to enjoy the benefits of solar panels more affordably is by signing up for a long-term solar lease. This means an energy company, like Chariot Energy, installs solar panels on your roof, and you pay a monthly fee to use the power they generate.
With these plans, you don’t pay for any solar maintenance costs, and you can choose to buy the solar panels at any time. These solar initiatives allow you to get on board with sustainable energy without the high upfront costs.Power Purchase Agreements
PPAs work the same as a regular electricity supply, except you’re using electricity created from solar panels instead of fossil fuels. With these agreements, the power company installs solar panels on your roof to supply its electrical grid.
In return, you get to use all the electricity you need at preferential rates. You don’t pay for the installation of the panels or their upkeep.
Solar Panels vs. Solar Tiles Appearance
When comparing aesthetics, solar tiles win hands-down. They blend in seamlessly with your roof and have no protrusions.
You get solar tiles in a range of colors to suit your home’s style and existing roofing.
On the other hand, solar panels aren’t an attractive addition to your home. They’re obvious even from a distance, and they’re only available in two colors, i.e., black and blue.
Maintaining Your Solar Panels or Solar Tiles
Solar panels and solar shingles are both low-maintenance options. They require little more than a routine bi-annual inspection and regular cleaning to operate at their best.
It’s important to use an approved detergent designed for solar panels and a gentle stream of water to clean your solar panels or tiles. Pressure washing can crack the panels and cause water to erode the inner workings of the panel or cause a short.
If you don’t want to clean your solar panels or tiles yourself, you can hire a professional to carry out this task for you.
Solar panels and solar tiles can last up to 30 years with only basic maintenance. That means your solar panels or tiles will likely outlive your roof.
This can result in additional costs when you have to remove your solar panels to facilitate a roof replacement.
Frequently asked questions
The solar monitor is a tool that consists of hardware connected to a solar array, an internet connection, and software in the form of a phone app or web portal. The monitor collects and analyzes the data transmitted by the inverters in the solar array. Two of the top manufacturers in the industry, SolarEdge and Enphase, have integrated their solar monitors into their inverters.
It is crucial to have a reliable solar power monitoring system that can detect any issues with your inverter and notify you immediately so that you can repair or replace it as soon as possible. While some inverters come with built-in solar monitoring, it is advisable to use a third-party monitor to ensure that the manufacturers of the inverter are transparent and honest.
Solar monitoring systems operate by connecting to your facility’s inverter or inverters. The inverter transforms DC electricity into AC electricity for powering your establishment. The monitoring system interprets the power levels and sends the information to a cloud-based monitoring system as data.
Get on Board with Solar Energy Technology
When comparing solar roof tiles vs. solar panels, the latter emerges as the clear winner in most practical aspects. They’re more efficient, cost-effective, and readily available than solar tiles are.
With solar panels, you also have the option to take part in fantastic solar buyback plans to ensure you get the most out of your investment. You can also sign up for a solar lease or power purchase agreement to help you get started with solar energy.
Are you ready to transition to solar and enjoy the benefits of caring for the environment while saving money at the same time?
Chariot Energy offers some of the most competitive solar energy plan rates in Texas. Head to our ‘Find My Plan‘ section to choose your ideal solar buyback plan, or reach out using our chat module or by phone for more information.