The Benefits Of Solar Tiles & Solar Slates In The UK

Solar power is a crucial part of the UK's energy future and solar tiles/solar slates are an increasingly popular option.

Solar power is a crucial part of the UK’s energy future and solar tiles/solar slates are an increasingly popular option.

Let’s explore how this aesthetically pleasing alternative to solar panels delivers solar performance without reshaping your roof, as well as the regulations around solar roof tiles.

The Difference Between Solar Tiles And Solar Panels

Solar panels and solar tiles/solar slates both convert sunlight into electricity using solar cell technology. However, they differ in appearance:

  • Solar panels are larger, often rectangular units mounted on top of your roof. They are more visible due to their size and raised profile.
  • Solar tiles are designed to blend in with your roof. They are smaller, modular, and can be shaped like regular roof tiles or slates. Many homeowners consider these tiles more aesthetically pleasing than traditional solar panels.

How do tiles and panels compare in terms of efficiency and cost?

  • Efficiency: Tiles and PV slate roofs are not quite as efficient as panels at converting sun to electricity. This is due to their smaller surface area and the lack of airflow beneath them to aid efficient cooling.
  • Cost: Solar roof tiles are currently around 1.4 to 2 times more expensive than standard solar panels.

Solar tiles and solar slates are essentially the same thing. The main difference is that slates resemble traditional slate roofing while tiles boast various looks.

Replacing Roof Tiles With A Solar Slate System

Replacing roof tiles with solar roof slates is a sizable job. Installing solar tiles typically involves replacing the existing tile setup. This isn’t possible on all roofs so it’s important to consult a qualified roofing contractor before proceeding.

A professional assessment will ensure your roof structure can accommodate solar slates or tiles safely. It will determine if it’s possible to overlay or interlock solar slates with existing tiles. You also want to know that your roof is well-configured and suitably pitched to capture the sun’s energy.

Many existing UK roofs have been replaced with tiles to create attractive solar roofs. Tiles (sometimes called solar shingles) are considered a promising green option for new-build homes.

Benefits Of Solar Slates And Solar Tiles

Solar tiles reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills which are great eco wins. Other benefits include:

  • Attractive appearance: Tiles integrate naturally into your roof (compared to conventional solar panels). Stylish black, grey, Tuscan, or terracotta tiles ensure an attractive finish on almost any roof.
  • Durability: Solar roof tiles are tough and resilient. A good, well-fitted product will withstand hail, extreme weather conditions, and “vandalism” by birds.
  • Increased property value: Solar PV slates create a greener home which usually increases your property’s value.

Are solar roof tiles worth it? If you prefer a sleek, stylish terracotta look to the bolted-on appearance of solar panels, tiles might be ideal for you.

Government Grants For Solar Tiles

You may be able to access financial assistance for solar panel roof tiles through the following grant schemes:

  • Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4): This scheme runs until March 2026 and may offer eligible households in England, Scotland, or Wales financial support for solar roof tiles.
  • Home Upgrade Grant (HUG2): This grant is aimed at low-income households, particularly those off-grid. The scheme is available until March 2025 and could provide funding up to £10,000.
  • Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan Schemes: All households in Scotland could be eligible for up to £6,000 to assist with installing solar technologies.

Legal Requirements For Solar Tile And Slate

Laws governing listed buildings and properties in conservation areas often make it illegal to alter the appearance of such properties. Seamlessly integrating solar tiles onto your listed property’s roof does alter its appearance in the eyes of the law. So, it’s best to consult your local authority to establish the legal position.

You should also liaise with your home insurer about how tiles impact your insurance. Additionally, check how moving to solar electricity affects your electricity supply contract.

Do I Need Planning Permission For Solar Tiles?

In the UK, fitting solar roof tiles doesn’t usually require planning permission. The installation falls under “permitted development” rights, allowing you to proceed without applying for planning.

This “permitted development” exemption doesn’t apply to listed buildings and properties in conservation areas.


Solar roof tiles are one way of generating renewable energy and lowering your electricity bills. They are aesthetically pleasing and last for decades. While they are currently more expensive than panels, technological advances should reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of these tiles.