Hantile flexible solar tiles by Hanergy.

Chinese company Hanergy have released the latest generation of their flagship Hantile flexible solar roof tiles. They’re lighter, thinner, more flexible, and have increased performance from the previous generation. Let’s have a look at how they stack up against some of the other solar roof tiles on the market.

Hantile Flexible Solar Roof Tiles

Hanergy Hantile flexible solar tiles launch
Hanergy Hantile flexible solar tiles launch (source: hanergy.com)

The new Hantile uses a single instead of a double layer of glass. This has lowered the weight of each tile down to 5.2kg. The glass is ultra-white tempered so it is extremely durable and is able to deliver a transmittance level of 91.5%. According to the PR News wire, the single glass Hantile can generate power at temperatures ranging from -40 Celsius to -85 degrees. Their life cycle is 30 years and each tile uses copper indium gallium selenide solar cell (CIGS) with 17.52% efficiency. In terms of environmental friendliness, each 100 square metres of Hantile is equivalent to planting 340 trees. The tiles are backed by a lifetime warranty (30 years) and a lifetime charged maintenance guarantee.

“We’re delighted to introduce the next generation of our innovative Hantile building solution,” said Hanergy founder Mr. Li Hejun. “With its industry leading energy generation capabilities and suitability for any building, I am confident that Hantile will set a new benchmark for new energy applications in building construction.”

Hanergy

Hanergy is, according to their press release, the world’s largest clean energy company. They work with hydro-power, wind power, and solar power. Since 2009 they’ve been researching thin-film solar power and with their updated technology will be releasing solar roof tiles, foldable solar-paper power banks, solar backpacks for solar camping, BIPV, solar roads, and more. They have more than 16,000 staff members and have been in a bit of financial trouble recently with the SFC ordering them to pay outstanding debts to its subsidiaries, with the stock currently ceased trading on the Hong Kong market. Hopefully this new technology can help Hanergy get back on track. 

Hanergy Hantile vs Tesla Solar Roof

Hanergy Hantile Solar Tile
Hanergy Hantile Solar Tile (source: hanergy.com)

The Tesla Solar Roof has been talked about a lot over the past year, but there have been quite a few competitors sticking their hands up such as the Tractile solar roof tiles, which are a lot more price effective than Tesla’s offering. Hanergy’s new Hantile don’t currently have a price for Australian install, but it looks like the ‘c-type slot structure’ they used for manufacturing mean it will be quite easy to install them. The previous Hantiles, launched in 2017, had a conversion efficiency rate of 16.5% and it now boasts 17.52% conversion rate. 

The price of last year’s triple arch solar tile was 130 yuan ($~285 AUD)/ m2 so it’ll be interesting to see what the new tile costs. We’ve reached out to Hanergy for comment and will let you know as soon as we have more information. We’ll be looking for reviews, price, release dates, and more! 

Monier SolarTile – Solar Tiles Australia

There’s plenty going on in the world of solar roof tiles this year – today we’re going to take a look at the Monier SolarTile, which is a competing against the Tesla Solar Roof and the sonnen/Bristile Roofing Solartile.

Monier SOLARtile

Monier SolarTILE
Monier SolarTILE (source: monier.com.au)

The Monier SOLARTile is an integrated modular photovoltaic flat tile system. They integrate with a flat profiled roof so they won’t ruin the view of your house – and can be installed on all types of roofs (including traditional and period style homes). If you’d prefer, you can retrofit them for a re-roof, extension, or home renovation. Their modular design means that you can install them in any configuration – including smaller sections of your roof (generally north facing) to reach optimal energy production. Since they have an integrated design (as opposed to conventional ‘bolt-on’ solar panels, the SOLARtiles will blend into a roofline smoothly. 

Monier were a finalist in the Clean Energy Council’s ‘Solar Designs & Installations Awards’ in 2013 for this product – they were also a finalist in BPN’s Sustainability Awards in 2013. The company is backed by CSR, one of Australia and New Zealand’s biggest building product companies. 

They’re currently available and are being installed on homes in Australia – and in lieu of any case studies, let’s see how it stacks up against the Tesla solar tiles:

Monier SolarTile vs Tesla Solar Roof

Monier SolarTile:

  • Available? – Available in Australia right now! 
  • Grid? – Must be grid connected.
  • Upgradeable? – Yes – provided your inverter has the capacity.
  • Warranty? 25 Year Performance Guarantee – guaranteed to be working at 82.5% of original capacity in year 25.  
  • STCs? Monier can handle this for you or you’re welcome to sell them yourself. 
  • Installation? Licenced roofers and CEC accredited electricians. 

Tesla Solar Roof:

  • Available? No – the Tesla Solar Roof release date in Australia should be sometime in 2018.
  • Grid?  No official word as yet, but these should integrate with Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries to offer an off-grid solution.
  • Upgradeable? Yes, can replace Tesla ‘non solar’ tiles (a Tesla roof will generally have around 40% solar generating tiles) with solar tiles.
  • Warranty? “Infinite”, according to Elon Musk, but this only applies to the glass the tiles are made from, not their ability to produce electricity or actually function as a roof. 30 year warranty for those.
  • STCs? Unconfirmed, question has been Tweeted to Elon Musk by @awbow22

We’ve reached out to Monier for some more information about the Solartile and will update this article as soon as we have more. In the meantime, if you want solar tiles on your roof and don’t want to wait, it remains a great product backed by an Australian giant! If you have any experience with the Monier SOLARtile we’d love to hear about it – please leave your thoughts in the comments! 

Tractile solar roof tiles global rollout!

Australian company Trac Group have released their Tractile solar roof tiles locally and are now preparing for a global rollout of their Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) product.

About Tractile Solar Roof Tiles

The Tractile solar tiles use the Roof Integrated Photovoltaic and Thermal (RIPV-T) system, which, according to the Tractile site, is an “exciting new technology which merges photovoltaic (PV) and thermal systems, simultaneously providing both electric and thermal energy”. This means the system is able to greatly increase performance in hot conditions due to the thermal energy generation cooling the PV cells – leading to more energy generated per square metre when compared with conventional PV panels and solar thermal collectors.

The solar roof tiles come in 4 different types:

  • Eclipse Roof Tile – a ‘normal’ superstrong roof tile you use in parts of the roof that aren’t north facing/receiving strong daily sunlight.
  • Eclipse Solar Roof Tile – electricity and solar boosted hot water generating tiles. Cost effective, lightweight, aesthetically pleasing and increased PV output (compared to conventional PV systems)
  • Eclipse Thermo Roof Tile – interlock with Eclipse roof tiles and Eclipse Solar roof tiles to maximise solar heated hot water output.
  • Horizon Roof Tile – electricity and solar boosted hot water generating tiles to merge into new or existing concrete tiled roof.

The tiles integrate four key elements into one product:

  • Roof system
  • Photovoltaic (PV) cells
  • Solar thermal collector
  • Insulation

Tractile vs. Tesla Solar Roof

Trac Group managing director Jason Perkins has been quoted on the impending release of the Tesla Solar Roof saying it will increase Tractile sales, saying: “It’s fair to say that when you compare the Tractile Solar Roof tiles with the Tesla products, the Tesla products are simply left in the shade”. “Regardless of whether it’s the price of the roof, the weight of the roof, the amount of electricity and hot water it produces per square metre or the options for the roof lines, our products compare very favourably.”

The Tractile site has this comparison image which shows the Tractile very competitively priced for what you get:

Tractile Solar Roof vs. Tesla Solar Roof
Tractile Solar Roof vs. Tesla Solar Roof (source: tractile.com.au)

Tesla Solar Roof Alternatives

While we wait for the Australian release date for the Tesla Solar Roof, there are some alternatives.

German company Sonnen have partnered with Bristile Roofing to offer the Solartile, which is looking quite interesting.

Obviously we also have the Tractile Solar Roof Tile, which is available from their website by clicking here, or call their Australian support line on 1300 00TRAC. If you want to learn more about the Tractile they have a ‘downloads’ section on their website which as a Tractile Eclipse product specification, benefits, roof config options, introduction brochure, and much more.

View this video below to see how strong the Tactile roof tiles are in comparison to conventional roofs!

Solar Panel Fire Risk Analysis & Recommendations

The super fast advent of solar panels + storage has led to a number of ‘cowboys’ in the market – you need to ensure you’re using a trusted installer and quality parts to ensure your solar investment works in the long term and minimises any solar panel fire risk. The recent discussion over battery storage laws in Australia highlights the fact that we need to do our best to keep shoddy products and installers away from the market – but what can you do in the meantime if you want to get a solar system installed? Read on to learn more about solar panel fire risks and how to mitigate them!

Solar Panel Fire Risk – A recap

Recently in the UK solar panels caught fire at a new block of flats in east London and the blaze was contained by 80 firefighters. Another fire in Thornton Heath, south London, is also being blamed on solar panels.

Closer to home, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in Victoria have, according to The Australian, had quite a few solar panel related fires to put out – “In the past five years, MFB has responded to more than 40 fires involving solar panels,” a spokeswoman said.

In Queensland, between September 2010 and June 2015, 201 fires related to solar PV installations were tracked. Of these, 78 were related to devices that have already been recalled, mostly DC isolators. The recalled DC isolators were created at an ‘affordable’ price point and had faulty designs, where the internal switch contacts were able to overheat. For example, the Avenco isolator was recalled after 26,000 were sold and the supplier of the brand was then placed in liquidation. As such, it’s important to take a look at who you’re buying from, the quality of their product, and remember that you can’t necessarily compare ‘oranges with oranges’ – just because products appear similar, there can be vast differences in quality, not to mention installer reliability. Ensure you choose a firm who are in it for the ‘long haul’ – and remember cheapest is very rarely the best choice when it comes to solar power systems.

Why do solar panels catch on fire?

Solar Panel Fire Risk
Solar Panel Fire Risk (source: transwest.com.au)

It’s important to note that the vast majority of these cases are due to poor install jobs or ultra-cheap components – as the old adage goes, ‘you get what you pay for’. In a market saturated with choice, it can appear that you’re comparing apples with apples if they’re both 5kW systems with 270W panels – but there’s a lot more to a solar system than just basic figures.

The biggest issues are due to faulty inverters, wiring connectors or DC isolators.

With that said, according to Neil Fraser, the director of Energy Safe Victoria, “at least” eight models of solar panel have been removed from the market over the past five years due to concerns about their safety. Choose a trusted installer and do your research before you invest in solar – check reviews, give the company a call, and research the individual components of your proposed system on the internet.

How do I choose a safe solar panel?

This comes down to a) using a safe solar installer and b) using quality parts. If you go for the cheapest option you are compromising on build quality, installation quality, and subsequent end result. As said above, we strongly recommend you research every component of any system you may be thinking about purchasing, and ask installers if you can talk to any prior customers, or have a look at some work they’ve done previously. Saving a few dollars can cost you a lot in the long run.

Sonnen / Bristile Roofing to offer Solartile in Australia.

Some big news on the solar roof front this week – German battery storage company Sonnen have partnered with Australian roofing company Bristile Roofing to offer their Tesla Solar Roof competitor, the Solartile, to Australian markets this September.

Sonnen and Bristile Roofing Launch Solartile in Australia

Sonnen and Bristile Roofing’s concept of an integrated solar tile is in direct competition to Tesla’s Solar Roof, which has just begun taking orders for a 2018 launch. Bristle, part of the building materials group Brickworks, is mainly going to target the 102,000 new homes to be constructed in Australia in 17/18; it seems that they’ll be targeting developers and builders who are looking to offer integrated solar systems as part of their product range.

In an industry (solar + storage) which grew over 1000% in 2016, there’s plenty of room for competition and we’re excited to see what Sonnen’s reliable and proven solar battery solutions can bring to this partnership.

“We are delighted to partner with Bristile because of their prominent involvement in supplying quality products to the building industry,” said Sonnen Australia managing director, Chris Parratt, last Thursday.

You can read more about the SonnenBatterie Eco 8.2 battery system (this, or a variation of, will be offered as part of the solar roof system) on our solar battery comparison page.

Solartile Release Date, Preorder and Cost

No word yet on the cost of the Solartile – it’s set to be released this September and we assume that preorder will become available over the coming months. Please watch this space as we’ll update it as soon as we have any information about the Solartile preorder available!

SonnenBatterie Australia Solartile Battery
SonnenBatterie Australia Bristile

Solartile VS Tesla Solar Roof

Tesla, which has previously claimed the tiles would be no more expensive that a regular roof, released statistics showing that a ‘typical homeowner’ can expect to shell out approximately $US21.85 per square foot for the Tesla Solar Roof (assuming 35% ‘active’ tiles).

Prices and specifics are yet to be revealed for the Bristile Solartile but we will update as soon as they become available.

If you want to calculate how much your home would cost to fit out with the Tesla Solar Roof based on current figures, please use the widget below.

Solartile / Tesla Solar Roof Price Estimate

Enter your roof size below in square metres and get a price estimate for the Tesla Solar Roof. We’ll update this for the Solartile as soon as figures are available.


Estimated Cost: