What Does the Future of Solar Hold?
Hello, and welcome back to the RGS Energy blog. It seems that no matter what news source you turn to these days, something about solar energy is being reported on. Whether those reports are positive or negative is of less concern to us than the fact that, finally, solar energy is becoming an energy source that people are not only discussing, but discussing in such a way that it seems like a viable solution to many of the world’s energy problems. For decades, solar energy was looked at as a sort of novelty, a source of power that was interesting and unique but not something that was seen as viable on a commercial level. Today, however, solar energy is being given the level of attention that it has always deserved and is being looked at as perhaps the savior this world needs in relation to energy demands. Of the last few years, no advancement in solar technology has caught the attention of the public quite like the solar roof tiles developed by famed entrepreneur Elon Musk. Combining form and function, these solar tiles are a solar option that the world has become enraptured by and, in today’s post, we here at RGS Energy are going to go over some of the pros and cons that we feel needs to be addressed. Continue reading below to learn more.
What do Solar Roof Tiles do?
Elon Musk’s vision, in a nutshell, is to cover every roof in the United States with his solar tiles in order to create a vast, nationwide network that will meet the energy needs of consumers. It should be noted, however, that Musk is not the only person interested in utilizing solar tiles to meet growing energy needs. Multiple companies are pursuing this form of technology and we predict that this number will only increase as the technology becomes more widely available. Built to resemble traditional roof tiles, solar tiles are thin, photovoltaic sheets that can either replace the traditional shingles of a roof or be laid on top of an existing roof structure. Smaller in size than traditional solar panels, solar roof tiles measure about 12 inches wide by 86 inches long and weigh 13 pounds per square foot. A standard installation calls for around 350 tiles to be used to cover the entire surface of a home’s roof. Most solar tiles make use of thin-film solar cell technology made from copper indium gallium selenide because it allows for the cells to be thin and flexible. Additionally, this material is said to have one of the highest conversion efficiency rates, an average of about 10 to 12 percent, enabling the solar tiles to produce anywhere from 13 and 63 watts. On average, a roof with the average 350 tiles installed will cut the average person’s utility bill by 40 to 70 percent.
What are the Pros and Cons of Solar Tiles?
While the idea of the solar tile is enough to inspire visions of a future that only seemed possible in science fiction novels, it is important that people look at these tiles with a critical eye. Below, we have listed some benefits and disadvantages that people should keep in mind when researching solar tiles as a viable alternative to solar panels.
- Appearance: Without a doubt, one of the most appealing aspects of solar tiles are the fact that they look like a normal roof, albeit a little more futuristic. One of the most common concerns we here at RGS Energy hear from our customers is whether or not solar panels are going to ruin the aesthetic appeal of their home. Solar tiles, for the most part, tend to eliminate this concern among average consumers.
- Saves Money: As with any solar array, solar tiles work to lower monthly energy bills by lessening a household’s dependence on the electrical grid of their city. It is estimated that solar tiles could eventually reduce a home’s electricity bill by as much as 50 percent, however, more cases will need to be studied before the validity of this statement can be confirmed.
- Easy to Install: Another excellent benefit to solar tiles is the fact that they are typically easier to install than traditional solar panels. In fact, solar tiles are so simple to install that the average roofing company typically has the knowhow to handle the bulk of the installation. While the tiles themselves are easy to install, it should be noted that a person trained in solar array electrical systems will have to be hired in order to make sure that the tiles are linked correctly and able to provide a household with energy.
- Lower Efficiency: In their current state, solar tiles are less efficient than solar panels. This is due largely to the fact that solar tiles rely on thin-film solar cells, a technology that has a lot of promise but, up to this point, has not been developed as much as traditional PV cells. What this means is that more shingles may be needed to provide the same amount of energy as a lesser amount of solar panels.
- Metallic Appearance: While the appearance of solar tiles is a major appeal to certain homeowners, others are less enthralled with the metallic contrast that solar tiles have in relation to the rest of a home. Steps are being taken to reduce the artificial appearance of solar tiles but, as of this blog post, advancements in aesthetic appeal are still being pursued.
- Cost: Compared to traditional solar arrays, solar tiles cost much more to install. This is one of the biggest drawbacks to the adoption of solar tiles, however, with rebates and other cash incentives, installation companies are working toward a solution to reduce the upfront cost of this new form of solar technology.
We hope that this blog post has provided you with valuable information relating to solar tiles and that you feel more confident in your knowledge of this burgeoning form of solar technology. Only time will tell whether or not solar tiles become a viable way to harness the energy of the sun and turn it into electricity that can be used by the average person but, in our opinion, the excitement surrounding this technology is already doing wonders for the solar energy market as a whole. If you would like to learn more about solar energy and the services that we provide at RGS Energy, please visit our website today. For over three decades, we have been providing solar solutions for homeowners across the nation and we are certain that we can handle any needs that you may have. When it comes to solar installations, don’t settle for second best. Contact us today and let us show you why we are a trusted solar installation provider.