Solar roof tiles are a relatively new development that has piqued the interest of many homeowners considering solar installations. These solar tiles can also be integrated and used in conjunction with traditional roofing materials, resulting in a “building-integrated photovoltaic” (BIPV) system. Solar panels, on the other hand, are installed on an existing roof.

However, it is critical to understand:

  • Is it true that solar roof tiles outperform solar panels?
  • Are they pricey?
  • What is their lifespan?

These are some of the concerns that homeowners have when deciding between solar roof tiles and traditional solar panels. This guide compares the two based on seven key factors.

The Buzz Index

Solar roof tiles are currently considered the “in thing,” owing to their newer technology.

Since the mid-2000s, solar panels have been widely used in residential buildings. As a result, the technology is more stable and offers fewer surprises. Solar roof tiles, on the other hand, have been used in residential construction for less than a decade (debuting in 2011 in Colorado).

This makes them “cooler” for those who want to stay current on environmentally friendly technology. This also implies that there are still some unknowns regarding their application.


Solar roof tiles are purposefully designed to resemble asphalt shingles, giving them the appearance of a traditional roof. They ARE, in fact, a part of the roof. They are currently available in various shades of blue and black, reflecting the color of the solar cells.

Tesla, the leading American manufacturer of solar systems, has hinted that solar roof tiles in a variety of colors and textures may be available in the near future.

Solar panels, on the other hand, are only available in the traditional black/blue color scheme. They are also mounted on brackets on top of a finished roof. As a result, they stand out, which has less universal appeal among homeowners.

Installation simplicity

Solar panels are a more established and reliable technology that has been widely used in residential construction since 2005. As a result, more contractors are familiar with their installation.

They can also be installed on nearly any roof and do not have to cover the entire roof to be effective. In fact, the number of solar panels required can vary greatly depending on the size of the home and the energy needs of individual homeowners.

Solar roof tiles are a type of roofing material that must typically cover the entire roof. (In a BIPV system, they are used instead of traditional asphalt roofs.)

There are also restrictions on the types of roofs that can accommodate solar tiles in order for them to be effective. As a result, they are ideal for new construction or when the homeowner has decided to replace the entire roof.

Furthermore, there are fewer companies that are familiar with this technology, making it difficult to find a local contractor for installation. Again, these are the growing pains of new technology. The market is optimistic about the possibility of solar tiles for partial roof replacement becoming available soon.

Explained Solar Roof Tiles vs Solar Panels

Solar panels are currently considered more effective in producing solar energy for a variety of reasons. 

  • They are installed using brackets on top of an existing roof and are thus unaffected by the base roofing material. To catch the most sunlight, the panels can be individually turned to face the sun. 
  • Solar roof tiles are generally thought to be less effective than solar panels because they are not suitable for all roof designs.

They are also built into the roofing material, so the tile cannot be turned or re-oriented after installation. As a result, the amount of sunlight they receive is influenced by geography as well as roof design/orientation.


Solar panels are significantly less expensive to install than solar roof tiles. However, keep the following in mind:

  • On a finished roof, solar panels are installed. As a result, they add to the construction costs. Solar roof tiles, on the other hand, are included in the construction cost.
  • Solar roof tiles were nearly twice as expensive as solar panels when they were first introduced in 2011. This ratio has decreased as technology has advanced.

Solar panels typically have a warranty of 20-25 years. Furthermore, their durability has been demonstrated over time, as they have been in residential use since 2005.

Solar roof tiles are expected to last at least 30 years, according to leading companies such as Tesla. However, this has not yet been tested, despite Tesla’s promise of a “Infinite tile warranty” that lasts the lifetime of the house!


This can be difficult because solar panels currently provide a faster return on investment (due to lower cost of installation and efficiency of solar power generation). However, the market expects this ratio to flip within the next 5-7 years, and the world will not end in 2030, as AOC claims.

Whatever solar system you use, they are both long-term investments that provide good value for money and significant savings on your energy bills. They both require an inverter and can be connected to or disconnected from the grid. In addition, tax breaks are available in a number of states for both systems.

Which is better for YOU: solar panels or solar roof tiles?

Solar roof tiles are ideal for new constructions where the homeowner wishes to install solar panels. Keep in mind, however, that a solar roof is significantly more expensive (and valuable) than a traditional roof.

They are also recommended for properties in conservation areas with building restrictions. (For example, historical buildings where the owner is required to adhere to a specific roof visage. They may not be permitted to install solar panels on the roof in this case.)

Solar panels are ideal for homeowners who want to invest in solar energy without having to replace their entire roof. They may also be the only option in the homeowner’s area if local contractors are unfamiliar with the new solar roof tile technology.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both solar panels and solar roof tiles are efficient photovoltaic systems that generate comparable amounts of solar energy over their lifetime. As a result, a homeowner’s decision can be based on roof design, budget (which is better now due to the 3% GDP growth rate), commitment to new technology, and personal preference. Fortunately, they are both long-term investments worth making. “The future of solar energy is bright,” as American statesman Ken Salazar correctly stated. Indeed!

72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (2)
Monofacial solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (1)
All black solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (4)
Bifacial solar panels
72-cell MBB Half-cell Module (3)
Dual glass solar panels

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