There are a variety of sorts and models of solar tiles with differences in material, appearance, efficiency and mounting requirements. Many solar roof tiles are solid photovoltaic panels which resemble a strip of conventional shingles when mounted on the roof. Smaller, semi-rigid designs represent individual solar tiles, each consisting of several silicon solar cells. They do not necessarily have to be arranged in a row and can be mounted in various orders.
New Technologies - New Solutions
Newer technologies like thin film solar cells are very well suited for solar roof tiles. Thin film solar is very flexible and light and thin film solar tiles match conventional ones both in size and flexibility.
Installation of most solar tiles is quite easy as they can be applied directly onto roofing felt and are intermixed with regular shingles. The most common size of solar tiles is 12 by 86 inches (300 by 2,200 mm) with an exposed surface of 5 by 86 inches (130 by 2,200 mm).
Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Roof Tiles
The biggest advantage of solar roof tiles is their aesthetic value. Solar tiles are usually of a dark blue or purple colour and are therefore hardly noticed among similar coloured asphalt shingles.
Solar roof tiles are suited for home-owners who don´t want to have large solar panels on their roofs. As they are not as effective as regular panels, solar tiles have to be installed on a bigger area to get the same amount of electricity. Houses with small roofs may not have enough space to install a sufficient amount of solar tiles. But the efficiency rates of solar tiles are increasing and installation costs are often lower than for regular solar panels.