Solar Tiles - Installing Solar Tiles - Solar Roof Tiles
The solar tiles that are currently available are designed to replace conventional roof tiles on a pitched roof. Solar tiles can be easily incorporated into most house roofs. Whether it is on the roof of a new building or an existing roof, solar tiles can be integrated to form part of the weatherproof envelope
Is my Roof Suitable for Solar Tiles?
For a solar tile installation, a clear uninterrupted and un-shaded section of roof is required, with a south or near-south orientation. The roof needs to be large enough to accommodate sufficient solar tiles. It should be structurally sound and built using conventional roof tiles that are compatible with one of the solar tile systems available.
Solar Tiles - Shading
Once an appropriate position for the solar tiles has been identified it is necessary to ensure there are no obstructions that will block the sunlight from reaching the solar tiles at different times of the day or at certain times of the year.
Solar Tiles - Available Sunlight
The amount of electricity generated by a solar tile system can also vary depending on where the site is in the UK. Northern areas receive slightly less energy from the sun over the year. For example a 1 kWp system will generate less electricity in northern Scotland than it would in Cornwall. However solar electricity is still worthwhile in the northern parts of the UK as the differences are not substantial.
Solar Tiles - Site Location
The amount of available sunlight in the UK varies with the latitude of the site. The total annual energy available varies from approximately 1,259 kWh per m² per year in the South-West of England to 850 kWp per m² per year in Scotland. The light energy varies during the year; more daylight is available in the summer and less in the winter when the visibility is poor. Simply put the sun is considerably higher in the sky in mid summer than it is in mid winter.
Solar Tiles - Orientation and Angle of Tilt
Orientation and pitch are probably the most important factors affecting system efficiency after the type of solar PV module selected. Solar tiles can be set to face between SE and SW at a tilt angle of 30 to 40 degrees. The maximum efficiencies are achieved at a pitch of around 35 degrees, facing due south.
Solar Tiles - Existing Building
Where solar tiles are to be integrated with an existing roof, it is likely that the parameters are already set i.e. the orientation of the house and the angle of tilt of the roof are already established. Most house roofs have a pitch at between 25 and 35 degrees tilt.
Solar Tiles - New Building
In the case of a new building, the architect will be able to anticipate the requirements of the solar tile installation, taking account of location, orientation and tilt, and making the necessary adjustments to the design.
Solar Tiles - A Home’s Energy Requirement
A typical four bedroom house uses 3,450 kWh of electricity per year. An area of approximately 50m² of solar tiles is required to meet this level of consumption. If there is insufficient south facing roof to achieve this target then a smaller area of solar tiles can be fitted to supply some of the energy demand, with the remainder being provided from the national grid.
Solar Tiles - Maintenance
The average lifetime of solar tiles is in excess of 25 years. There are no moving parts to the system and very little maintenance is necessary. Solar tiles have a self locking fixing system that allows the glass laminate to be easily removed for inspection, cleaning or replacement. Solar tiles are generally self cleaning but normal glass cleaning products can be used to remove dirt. Wiring and components of the system should be checked regularly by a qualified technician. Batteries in stand-alone systems should last between 6 and 10 years with regular maintenance, depending on the quality and type employed. Inverters can last between 5 and 15 years depending on the make.
Solar Tiles - Warranty
The best quality solar tiles are designed to meet the same rigorous performance standards as the surrounding conventional roof tiles and are tested under driving rain and wind uplift conditions. Typically, solar tiles are supplied with with a 25 year guarantee.
About Solar Tiles - Solar Roof Tiles - Building Integrated PV