It is estimated that the use of 100 KW of solar energy, generated with photovoltaic solar tiles or any other system of solar energy production, avoids the emission of about 75 thousand kilograms of CO2 per year.
In other words, taking advantage of the energy that we can generate thanks to the sun’s rays, meets personal energy demands and helps preserve the environment.
Until recently, installations used to produce solar energy were very expensive, however, that reality has changed and now they are affordable products.
Besides being expensive, the installation of solar energy production systems were things of the future, you would have to handle a lot of knowledge to use it in your daily life, but they are here and now we can take advantage of them.
How is this possible? Thanks to innovation.
Here we will tell you about one of those innovations in the field of solar energy use, photovoltaic solar tiles.
Together, we will learn about this technology, the types available on the market, how to use them and the advantages they offer you.
These are the photovoltaic tiles
The photovoltaic tiles were a student project that was launched in 2009 by young people from the University of Minho and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
From its presentation, it was positioned as a type of innovative technology that would allow, in a very simple way, to offer the necessary energy for the operation of an installation, whether it is for housing, commerce or offices.
Today, that project is a reality.
Photovoltaic tiles are a device that serves to protect an installation, like normal tiles, with the particularity that they include a complete system that allows the capture and transformation of solar energy.
It is estimated that the installation of 45 square meters of photovoltaic tiles is capable of generating about 3 kW. What does that mean? That it generates the necessary energy to run a whole house.
Types of solar tiles
As you can imagine, from 2009 to date, a lot of water has run under the bridge. In other words, there are many types of photovoltaic tiles that you can find on the market.
However, to make it easier to understand this novel technology, it tends to be grouped into three types:
Photovoltaic tiles are no different in concept from the solar cells that we regularly encounter in this field of energy generation.
However, innovation is in its own way. At first glance, they look like a regular roof tile, with the difference of having a system to capture and transform solar energy into electrical energy.
The interconnection system of each tile is kept below the photovoltaic tiles, so the aesthetics of your home or building are not affected. You will have the most beautiful and efficient roofs in your neighborhood.
Generally, this type of installation is connected to batteries, which serve to store the excess energy production you might have in your system.
This surplus could even be sold to a neighbour and reduce the costs of the installation.
As for the material used to manufacture the photovoltaic tiles, you can find ceramic, slate or traditional clay tiles on the market.
From an innovative roof tile, made of glass or slate, solar thermal tiles have the ability to harness the heat energy produced by the sun.
This is one of the cleanest and most ecological energy production systems that exist at the moment.
The thermal tiles capture the heat inside and send it, in the form of hot air, to a heat accumulator. This installation – in turn – is connected to the heating system and water pipes of the home, business or office.
In this way, the heat produced by the Sun is used to provide heating to your spaces and to heat the water we use.
The hybrid tiles, as their name indicates, take a little of the two previous proposals to present a more complete solution to our needs.
Systems made up of hybrid tiles have the capacity to generate electrical energy, heating and hot water, a more comprehensive solution than the previous ones.
From an aesthetic point of view, hybrid solar tiles are not very different from the previous ones, so you could install it on your current roof without any inconvenience.
Advantages and disadvantages
When we are at such a new level of technology, such as solar tiles, we need reasons that invite us to trust this type of device.
For this reason, we will mention the advantages of using this type of system. To be fair, we also include the main disadvantages identified by common users of these solutions.
Among the main advantages of using photovoltaic tiles, we have:
- The first advantage that the use of solar tiles will generate is the revaluation of the property. Having a system like this will draw attention to the property when it comes to selling it.
- Integration with any traditional roof tile system, coexistence that allows both systems to live together on the same roof without affecting the aesthetics of the construction.
- Each of the pieces of a solar roof is independent. In this way, if any of the tiles suffer any damage, you will not have any problems with the generation and you will only have to change the damaged tile.
- Because its installation system is the same as the one used for the placement of traditional tiles, you have the possibility of installing your solar tile roof without much complication.
- The replacement of the roof of a house by this type of system for the use of solar energy, allows the generation of electricity for this house or – at least – a large percentage, depending on consumption habits.
- Being aesthetically equal to a traditional roof tile, they can be used in protected buildings and areas where the installation of a solar panel system is not allowed.
Among the users and installers of this type of technology, the following opportunities for improvement in the use of solar tiles are identified.
- The first disadvantage is the investment. As most of the initial installations of a technological development of this type, you need a considerable budget for its implementation.
- The installation is fixed, that is to say, they cannot be moved to take advantage of the light of the Sun any longer. Without a doubt, this affects the production capacity of the whole system.
- Being a new technology, in full development and expansion, the generation capacity cannot be compared to that achieved with solar panels, a solution with more experience in this sector.
- Another disadvantage is that the cleaning and maintenance, when compared with the usual solar cells, is a little more complicated, especially because they are installed on the roof of a building.
- At the moment, there are few companies dedicated to the manufacture of solar tiles, this reality ends up affecting production costs and – consequently – the cost of sale.
Tiles or panels, which technology is better?
Comparing a system of solar tiles with photovoltaic panels would seem to add up to pears with apples, however, because of their use, it is convenient to compare both systems.
When analyzing the section of architectural integration with the property, by a wide margin of advantage, the prize is for the solar tiles. As we indicated before, they are the same as a traditional roof tile, which makes them invisible.
However, when analyzing the production capacity, solar panels take the award. At present, you need between 9 and 11 square meters of roof tiles versus a maximum of 7 m2 of solar cells to produce 1 Kwp.
The tile, in front of the solar cells, represents a saving. This is more evident in buildings under construction or renovation. Why do we say this?
The photovoltaic roof tile replaces the common cell, so it will not be necessary to buy it during construction or renovation. However, when using the solar cell system, you will still have to buy and install the roof tiles.
Well, those are the main differences you can find between one system and another. Select the one that best suits your needs and install it in your home.
This is the solution that Tesla proposes
Before you go, we invite you to see the solar roofing system offered by Tesla, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of these devices
The idea is that you see how they integrate with the property and understand a little more about how they work.