Choosing Between Solar Panels and Solar Tiles – Which One is Better?

Posted in Gadgets & Reviews, Technology11 years ago • Written by MAKNo Comments

Solar Panels

It’s amazing how technology can come up with the most marvelous inventions. Who would have though fifty years ago that you can generate electricity with the help of a couple of panels and your rooftop? And while we have been so used to the mental image of bulky, modular panels, the technology is actually evolving at a very fast pace, and now buyers have so many types to choose from. In fact, one of the most heated debates in the world of solar energy is choosing between solar tiles and solar panels.

Solar Tiles


Solar panels are often made of silicon although the thin-film arrays make use of cadmium telluride. We commonly see solar panels bordered using a flat metal plate that is where conductive wires run through. On the other hand, thin-film cells have a very thin semi-conductor metal that laid over them. This overlay is barely visible since it is only a couple of microns thick. This means that while you’d need to make sure that your trusses can really support the weight of the modular solar panels, thin-film cells weigh just as much as asbestos shingles and are perfect form houses with not-too-sturdy trusses.


While solar tiles has been in the market for just roughly ten years, they are used extensively by builders who are commissioned to create green houses since they can serve as roof shingles. On the other hand, solar panels are still the more popular choice especially for individuals who do now want to rip up their roofs just to install the shingle-like solar tiles.


Generally, solar energy has gotten bad rap because of its lower conversion efficiency. In fact, only ten percent of the sunlight that thin-film panels are exposed to is successfully converted into energy. And for solar panels, the figure peaks at just twenty percent. However, with the introduction of copper iridium gallium diselenide thin-film solar panels, the conversion efficiency for these solar tiles was able to peak at 19.9 percent. With more money being invested into research and improvement of this technology, it’s possible that solar tiles can be as, if not more, efficient than the modular solar panels.


One of the biggest things standing in the way of someone who wants to go green is the initial expense of installing solar panels.  But while solar tiles are still more expensive than panels, prices are slowly but steadily going down. Installation of newer solar tiles is also made simpler which will help to drive down installation costs.

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