As Tesla’s roof tiles are increasing in popularity across the US, other parts of the globe, such as the UK, will soon be able to take advantage of this solar power innovation. But when will they be available for purchase and installation in this part of the world?
Tesla’s solar roof tiles are not currently available for UK residents; however, they are likely to hit the market sometime in 2021. In the meantime, several solar roof tiles made by companies other than Tesla are already ready for installation in the UK.
Included below are all the details about the solar roof tile brands currently obtainable by UK residents and whether this technology is likely to be effective in this region.
Are Tesla Roof Tiles Available in the UK?
Tesla solar roof tiles have not yet been distributed in the UK, although you can pre-order the latest version of Tesla’s roof tiles here.
In October 2019, Tesla announced the release of the Tesla Solar Roof V3. Compared to the original solar tiles,the V3 has larger tiles, lower production costs, increased power density, and is simpler to install.
There was skepticism regarding the functionality of the original version of the solar tiles due to the questionable cost-effectiveness of the technology and reduced energy production versus traditional solar panels; however, the V3 seeks to address this.
When Will Tesla Roof Tiles Be Available in the UK?
Tesla began taking pre-orders for solar roof tiles during the Spring of 2017. As part of the pre-order process, applicants are required to submit payment for the $1,000 deposit fee. As of October 2020, under 1,000 solar roof installations had been confirmed in the United States.
You can anticipate installations ramping up in the United States and the rest of the world in the coming years. With the release of the V3, Elon Musk announced plans to streamline production at Tesla’s New York factory so that as many as 1,000 roofs could be manufactured and packaged per week.
While there is no specific release date, you can expect Tesla solar roof tiles to begin hitting the UK’s markets sometime in 2021. Once they are installed, an infinity warranty will be applied to the roof tiles.
Will the Tesla Roof Tile Be Worth It in the UK?
The Tesla Solar Roof was first revealed to the public in 2016. Since then, the company has spent time adjusting its product as installations continue to occur in the United States. You can anticipate the Tesla roof tiles competing with the brands currently on the UK market in only a matter of time.
|Colors Available||Tuscan Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Smooth Glass Tile|
|Size (mm)||1140 x 430mm (per module)|
|Energy Output (Watts)||24W|
|Restrictions||2:12 to 20:12 roof pitch|
(Source: PV Magazine)
Many people find these specs impressive, but although Tesla solar tiles come from a familiar brand name, will they be worth the cost once they are finally available in the UK?
Benefits of the Tesla Roof Tiles
As you can see from the above table, Tesla’s solar tiles will be available in 4 different color options. One of the Tesla roof’s significant advantages is the seamless integration with Tesla’s Powerwall home battery. The Powerwall home battery system is capable of storing energy for use at later times that are convenient, such as a power outage.
The Powerwall battery system can be installed in conjunction with any approved solar energy panels or tiles. Still, if you install it with Tesla roof tiles, you may be able to reap the benefits of a bundle package rather than having to buy components separately. Tesla says that the average installation takes about a week to complete.
Once the roof tiles have been put in place, you can conveniently monitor your solar system’s performance via the mobile Tesla app. The ability to monitor all aspects of your solar energy system, even while on the road, is not a feature that is common in the solar industry.
Tesla also continues to reduce the cost of their Solar Roof tiles, making them more and more comparable to the less aesthetically-pleasing solar panels by the year (at least in terms of fees).
How Much Does a Solar Roof Cost?
Solar roof tiles do cost more than traditional solar panels. In the case of Tesla, you start with a $1,000 deposit during the pre-order process. Consumer Reports estimates that you can likely expect to pay somewhere in the territory of 60 Pounds (84 USD) per square meter.
A solar roof may cost twice as much to install as a traditional solar panel setup. However, the costs of solar roof tiles continue to plummet at a rapid rate. When Tesla released the newest version of their solar roof tiles, they advertised a 40% price drop from the previous version. Companies are often finicky with acute cost estimates; thus, you are certainly encouraged to contact any of the companies listed in this article for accurate cost estimates for your roof.
Solar Roof Tiles vs. Traditional Solar Panels
If you are doing a cost-benefit analysis of a solar installation, you will certainly need to consider all the costs, advantages, and disadvantages of solar roof tiles versus traditional solar panels.
Compared to traditional solar panels, the solar roof tiles:
- Are more aesthetically-pleasing because they take up less space
- Actually weigh less than traditional roof tiles
- Continue to improve in terms of efficiency so that power generation nearly matches traditional PV panels
- Installation can be pricier and more complicated than traditional solar panels: roof tiles typically take about two weeks to install, while solar panels only take a day or two
- You need to hire a roofing contractor who knows how to position the solar tiles properly
As time progresses, solar roof tiles are becoming more of a practical energy solution for homeowners across the UK and the rest of the world. The efficiency of these products does continue to improve. Although, they still have to overcome the monocrystalline panels’ high-performance standards, which can reach efficiency ratings as high as 25%.
Solar tiles are most beneficial in an environment where the aesthetics are of utmost importance. There are several circumstances in which this can become practical. Say, for example, you are restoring an old home and want to bring it into the next generation of energy use. You are likely to find that the solar tiles do a much better job of blending into the surroundings.
Is it Worth It to Go Solar in the UK?
The UK has a reputation for being damp and cloudy, although the fog historically associated with London was actually industrial smog. Despite this, you’d be surprised at how effective solar-powered systems can be, even in the UK.
Per the Greater London Authority at the city hall, the UK has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of solar energy installations in the last decade. London’s average solar system can meet around 50% of the home’s total annual electricity demand, producing about 3.3 kW of electricity. Keep in mind, too, that solar roof tiles continue to become more effective at meeting energy demands.
Where Can You Buy Solar Roof Tiles in the UK?
The good news is that while the Tesla tiles are still in backorder, there are already brands available for purchase within the confines of the UK. If you are ready for installation, you are encouraged to weigh the pros and cons of these products against those that the Tesla solar tiles will eventually have to offer for UK residents.
The PV Slate by GB Sol is one of the options currently available to residents of the UK. These tiles are made in Wales, which is undoubtedly a bonus for property owners looking to invest in a product made just a stone’s throw from home.
The PV Slate is specifically designed to be integrated with slate-style roofs. Some of its features include the following:
|Colors Available||Common blue-grey slate color|
|Size||Each module is equivalent to 3 regular tiles|
|Energy Output (Watts)||35W (per module)|
|Warranty||10 years plus a power generation warranty|
|Restrictions||Must be surrounded by normal slate tiles to fill in the gaps between the roof and the module and in locations where tiles have to be cut; the pitch must be at least 22 degrees, although a roof pitch of over 30 degrees is ideal|
(Source: Spirit Energy)
GB-Sol has been in the game a long time. They designed their first solar roof tile way back in 1994. They also hold the great benefit of being manufactured within the confines of the UK. If you are looking for a seamless, natural blue-grey slate look, then you are encouraged to take a peek at what GB-Sol has to offer.
Solecco solar roof tiles hit the UK market in 2020 and present themselves as a suitable alternative to the Tesla roof tiles for those who have not committed to the Tesla product. These tiles are made from recycled plastic instead of the glass used to make so many of the solar tiles currently on the market.
|Colors Available||Black tiles with monocrystalline cells, red terracotta tiles with polycrystalline cells; 4 different shades of red and black dummy tiles are also available to enhance the aesthetics further|
|Size (mm)||298mm x 335mm (per module)|
|Weight (kg)||0.7 (excluding base tile)|
|Energy Output (Watts)||15W per tile|
|Warranty||30 year expected lifespan; actual warranty terms vary by product|
|Restrictions||Recommended 22.5-degree to 80-degree pitch: tiles are clipped together in a row and then connected to an inverter|
One of the main concerns with the solar roof shingles versus the traditional solar panels is the complicated installation process. However, Solecco claims that they can have the tiles installed on your home in a single day. This company is another option that calls the UK it’s home, with their head office being located in Leeds.
BiSolar roof tiles are a recent addition to the solar technology market. This unique solar roof tile was designed and patented by a company that lives and breathes in the UK, Roof Tiles Technology Ltd. The company’s two founders lay claim to more than 70 years of experience in the UK and global roof tile markets.
|Colors Available||Dark Grey|
|Size (mm)||445mm x 300mm x 4mm|
|Weight (kg)||6 (including both tile and PV)|
|Energy Output (Watts)||18W|
|Warranty||25 year performance guarantee|
|Restrictions||25-30% more expensive than a standard Solar Panel Setup|
This product does not appear to be widely available for purchase yet, as the company website features a call to action for interested stakeholders to seize the opportunity to take advantage of this technology.
What sets BiSolar apart from the rest is the design meant to allow for the seamless integration of these tiles with a pre-existing roof. The company claims that you will not have to make any modifications to your existing roof.
SolteQ is a PV roof tile made in Germany and is available for distribution in the UK. These tiles are made out of a 4mm solid prismatic safety glass. These products do come with an impressive 40-year guarantee that is described in further detail below.
|Colors Available||Blue (economy option), Black Slate (premium), Black Slate 24 Carat Gold Stripes, Terracotta, Beaver Series (black, purple, blue, green, orange, red), and a multitude of other colors and styles|
|Size (mm)||420 x 580mm (per module)|
|Weight (kg)||14 (per square meter)|
|Energy Output (Watt peak)||29, 58 Wp|
|Warranty||40-year performance guarantee: in 40 years, the tiles will produce at least 80% of the energy that they produce today; the official warranty terms include 5 years of coverage that can be expanded to 20 years|
|Restrictions||The company may require that a specially-licensed contractor install the tiles|
Disclaimer: The technical data here most applies to the Marley SolteQ Tile. Specific data will vary with product design, although this provides you with a good idea of what SolteQ’s product line is capable of.
SolteQ appears to offer many different types of solar roof tiles, certainly more so than much of the competition in the UK. Their most unique product may be their Beaver tile series designed for integration with historical buildings and is approved by the historical building protection authority in Germany.
The company also advertises the SolteQ tiles as being easy to install:
- The PV tiles hang directly onto the wooden tiles underneath.
- There are two hooks on the backside of the wooden tiles that allow for the solar portion to be fixed to the wood base.
- There is no need for an aluminum base under the PV tiles.
Are There Tax Incentives for Solar Power in the UK?
Historically, governments worldwide have incentivized the implementation of solar panels with special tax credits for both residents and businesses. The intent of these programs has always been to offset the enormous upfront costs of solar technology.
In recent years, these programs have been altered in response to the increased affordability of solar-powered equipment. This is the case regardless of whether you are talking about solar panels, solar batteries, or appliances. That being said, tax incentives for solar power do still exist in the UK.
Here are the details about some incentives that you may be able to take advantage of:
Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)
This is the only solar panel/roof incentive program that is currently available to new applicants. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) took effect on January 1, 2020.
Here is how SEG works: small-scale energy generators with a low carbon output receive payments for the amount of electricity they can export out to the grid.
The stipulations of the program are as follows:
- All homeowners with regular solar systems up to 5MW in capacity are eligible.
- The home must be fitted with a smart meter that is capable of monitoring energy exports.
- The majority of energy suppliers offer a tariff for homeowners who have a solar battery installed in their home (like the Tesla Powerwall, for instance).
- All licensed energy companies must offer an export tariff to all customers.
- Energy companies with less than 150,000 customers are allowed to partake in the program on a voluntary basis.
Tesla Solar Roof Tiles are not yet available in the UK, although you can still pre-order the latest and greatest solar roof that Tesla has to offer with the recent release of the V3 roof tiles. Tesla has offered these at a price that is significantly reduced from the price of their original offerings.
In the meantime, you are encouraged to look into several other companies that offer solar tile solutions listed above. The increase in competition burgeoning of solar roof companies should lead to the further enhancement of these technologies, though many of them already have much to offer homeowners.