The Use Of Solar Tiles In Residential Roofs
The use of solar panels on existing properties is a pursuit that divides opinions. Some people think their futuristic look is a welcome addition in our high-tech era, and that the power generating capability of these panels heavily outweighs any aesthetic concerns. Others believe that the photovoltaic panels look rather odd on an otherwise traditional structure, and that they take away from the home's overall feel. As such, surely there must be a way to capture the immense potential of light energy whilst keeping intrusiveness to a minimum? It just so happens there is an option offering the best of both worlds - solar tiles.
Benefits of Solar Tiles
The main benefit of solar tiles lies in the fact they they require only daylight, not direct sunlight. This means that they operate much better than panels on cloudy days and are able to harness the small amount of light available. Although solar tiles have been historically inefficient, the trend is towards high-technology tiles that outperform traditional flat panels.
Additionally, solar tiles aren't obtrusive as they are built into the structure rather than on top of it. This means they can be installed in place of traditional materials when building most roofs, and can be easily tied back to your home's main electricity supply. Due to their simple construction, there is no excessive heat, noise or radiation generated as a byproduct of their operation. This makes them one of the most efficient ways of powering your home with little to no effect on the surrounding environment.
The Drawbacks of Solar Tiles
As solar tiles are built into the structure itself, there are much more stringent requirements on their usage. These tiles not only have to comply with energy standards, but also building standards to ensure that their use does not take away from the structural integrity of the roof.
Solar tiles must be oriented at a precise angle in order to extract as much radiation from the sun as possible. Theoretically, any angle will produce energy; however, if your tiles are at a less than optimum angle then you run the risk of the being inefficient. As such, solar tiles can become problematic in roofs that require an abnormally steep pitch to attract sunlight. Where panels themselves can be oriented without hassle, solar tiles require the entire roof to be constructed at this pitch in order to generate electricity.
Finally, solar tiles are only really cost effective in new build homes. The cost of removing an existing roof and constructing one with solar tiles would be extremely expensive, and would negate the solar roof's cost-effectiveness. With that said, solar tiles remain to be highly effective in new build homes as they can be constructed alongside the property.
Installing Solar Tiles
Although solar panels can be installed as a DIY job, solar tiles have to be built into the structure when it is constructed. This means that you have to read more and hire a fully qualified roof contractor who can use standard roofing components to construct your energy-generating structure.
The installation process itself isn't too complicated, being very similar to the process used with standard tiles. In fact, all solar tiles have to be bordered by normal roof tiles, so the construction can be carried out in one sitting. However, the difficulties arise due to the large amount of cabling used to tie the panels back to your power supply.
Each base unit comes with a number of electrical cables that must be tied back to weatherproof connectors. These connectors shield the cabling from environmental extremes such as high winds or torrential rain. Once all of these bases units have been secured, the cables can be connected and the laminate finishes added to each base.