PHOTOVOLTAIC TILES: INTRODUCTION
The installation of photovoltaic tiles on one’s roof is increasingly popular. The reason lies both in seeking savings over time and in being sure of using energy from renewable sources.
The desire to self-produce electricity has led to an ever greater development of photovoltaic energy. In order to build your own photovoltaic system, you need to install the classic solar panels on the roof or in an area adjacent to your home.
However these, although very simple in structure, do not present an aesthetic that can be defined as winning. Those who pay attention to the aesthetic impact of the roof can therefore opt for photovoltaic tiles, which are equally efficient but less invasive from an aesthetic point of view.
From a technical point of view, the photovoltaic tiles have a high resistance to temperature changes and atmospheric agents thus ensuring a very long time duration. Thanks to continuous technological research in the sector, moreover, the photovoltaic tiles have reached a high degree of efficiency which allows a very simple installation.
In order to install a photovoltaic system that provides for the presence of tiles, it is also necessary to replace the old tiles. It should also be emphasized that, unlike the panels, the possibility of angle of the tiles is less. In fact, to take full advantage of the energy from the sun, therefore, it is necessary to install the tiles with maximum precision.
The photovoltaic tile is aesthetically similar to a common tile, generally also in material and color. The peculiarity lies in the fact of integrating a photovoltaic cell with the function of producing electricity to the usual ceramic base support.
The individual tiles are connected together in series, so as to form a photovoltaic system, with the peculiarity of being completely incorporated in the roof of the building. The solar tiles are suitable for any type of traditional roof with inclination from 5 to 60 degrees.
There are various types of photovoltaic tiles. In this regard, we take a look at all the types on the market.
Photovoltaic solar cell tiles: small photovoltaic panels are inserted inside the terracotta tile which are usually protected by glass to guarantee resistance to atmospheric agents, impacts and foot traffic. The solar cell photovoltaic tile has a low cost and is the most popular solution for those who choose to produce clean electricity. The support base of the photovoltaic is in fact almost always constituted by the classic Marseille or Portuguese tiles.
Photovoltaic tiles with solar tiles: terracotta tiles, have a curved or tile shape, while the upper part of the surface is covered with flexible sheets of amorphous silicon.
Transparent photovoltaic tiles: they are tiles made of polycarbonate, PVC or glass. These are all materials composed of organic salts that allow up to 90% of the light that affects them to pass through. The transparent photovoltaic tiles absorb radiation in the ultraviolet and infrared frequencies. Furthermore, through this, the captured light is transferred to the edge of the tile where there is a thin strip of photovoltaic material ready to convert it into electricity. This type of roof tiles make much less than the others, but on the other hand they can boast the excellent resistance of the materials to atmospheric agents.
Solar thermal roof tiles: a separate discussion must be made regarding this type of roof tiles. In fact, these are tiles normally made of brick and designed to produce domestic hot water. The panels contained in the tiles are equipped with a copper collector and vacuum tubes. The system must provide for the installation of thermal tanks for the conservation of hot water, which can be used for any heating system. The visual impact also remains practically zero in this case.
As was already the case with solar panels, even in the case of photovoltaic tiles, it is possible to select different models and types. At the moment, the photovoltaic market has two different types of solar roof tiles, the classic ones and the roof tiles. Both are certainly better than the panels as regards the aesthetic result.
But what happens from the point of view of costs and efficiency? If expenses are taken into consideration, classic tiles are more convenient also because their installation is faster and cheaper.
The photovoltaic tiles, in fact, must be inserted between one tile and another or must be applied on the flat part of the existing tile. This means that it is not always necessary to have a complete replacement of the roof tiles, except for broken elements.
Furthermore, the photovoltaic tiles can be of various types, shapes and colors, in order to integrate better with the roof on which they must be inserted. The pantiles can be considered the evolution of the tiles, as they guarantee a total mimicry of the small panels that are installed, fully integrating with the property.
The particular shape of the pantiles, in fact, conceals the presence of the panels making them completely invisible. This solution therefore becomes the perfect choice for those who live in areas subject to landscape constraints which denies the possibility of installing solar panels.
Furthermore, pantiles cost more than traditional roof tiles but, at the same time, they are easier to install. The only note that can be moved to this type of choice is that the particular rounded shape of the pantile itself does not ensure maximum efficiency.
When deciding to opt for a photovoltaic system, it is always important to remember that the choice of shape must be accompanied by that of the materials. The photovoltaic tiles, in fact, can be made of natural materials, such as clay or they can be made of plastic materials.
In both cases it is essential to evaluate the type of material because this is closely connected with the performance of the tile over time. In fact, medium-sized tiles may not ensure perfect resistance to atmospheric agents, creating damage even to the solar panel.
Furthermore, when choosing the installation of photovoltaic tiles or slates, it is essential to select models that allow the replacement of the panel. In this way, in the event of breakage or decrease in efficiency over time, the panel can be changed without installing new tiles.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
Installing photovoltaic tiles on your home certainly has positive aspects.
The advantages of installing solar tiles are:
- Adaptation and conformation to the surrounding environment;
- No negative aesthetic impact;
- Obtaining photovoltaic clearance in prestigious areas;
- Lower consumption of electricity from fossil carbon;
- Savings over time, thanks to the disconnection from the traditional electricity grid;
- A lower polluting impact on the environment;
- A photovoltaic yield of about 50 watts per tile.
Despite the different advantages of photovoltaic tiles, it is also necessary to know what the cons of this choice are.
Surely one of the best known disadvantages is the excessive cost compared to traditional photovoltaic panels, which are increasingly chosen in our country. Solar tiles have a prohibitive cost and very few can afford to install them on their roof.
The efficiency of photovoltaic roof tiles is another disadvantage to be taken into consideration. As it takes many solar tiles to be able to match the performance of a single photovoltaic panel. So in terms of convenience, if you do not have problems with the clearance for the installation of the panels, it is better to opt for the latter.
These are less resistant, and need more maintenance over time, especially if they suffer from bad weather and other problems due to weather conditions for long periods.
Finally, it must be considered that if the installation of these is simple enough, the cleaning operations are not! Another small disadvantage that must be taken into account before purchasing.
How much do solar roof tiles cost? To be able to have the same energy as a photovoltaic roof, you need to tile the entire terrace or pitched roof with solar tiles.
The raw materials that are used for the production of solar tiles are expensive, for this reason the final price of these is also prohibitive. At the moment a single tile has a cost between 50 and 100 euros, depending on the model you choose.
To be able to cover an entire roof or terrace, you need at least 500 solar tiles. This means that a system with photovoltaic tiles costs between 25 thousand euros up to 50 thousand euros. Without considering the costs necessary for their installation on the roof.
So at the moment, the costs of photovoltaic roof tiles are prohibitive and accessible only to those who have capital for the investment.
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