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December 16, 2023

Having Solar Panels on Slate Roofs: Does It Work?

Solar panels on roof

With the price of energy a major issue, everybody is looking for cheaper alternatives. Solar panels are a great option for many people to save on electricity bills, not to mention the reduced carbon footprint that results from using them.

All you need to do is have the panels installed on the roof of your house, along with some electrical wiring, and you’re good to go. Sounds easy, right? You could even install the panels yourself if you have some experience with electrical systems.

But what happens when you have a slate roof? Can you still secure the panels in place?

That’s what we’ll tell you in this article, so keep on reading to learn everything about whether solar panels on slate roofs is a viable option.

Can You Install Solar Panels on a Slate Roof?

The short answer is yes. It is possible to install solar panels on a slate roof, but it is a little more difficult than installing panels on a standard asphalt roof.

What makes it difficult is that you can’t drill directly into the tiles. If you do so, you might compromise their structural integrity – not to mention the increased risk of leaks.

So, you’ll need to remove some tiles and be careful not to damage or crack them.

Pros and Cons of Installing Solar Panels on a Slate Roof

Wondering if installing solar panels on your slate roof is the right decision? Here are the pros and cons you need to consider.

Pros

Here’s why you should consider installing solar panels on your slate roof:

  • Reduces electric bills: With power prices on the rise, solar panels are usually the right option where they are appropriate for your site.
  • Increases home value: Planning to sell your house in the upcoming years? Solar panels can increase the house’s value.
  • Low-maintenance costs: Regular maintenance of solar panels is easy and cheap and ensures their performance long-term.
  • Energy independence: With a solar battery system and enough panels, you can potentially power your entire home!

Cons

Here are some things you need to consider before installing solar panels on slate roofs:

  • More expensive than traditional ones: Installing panels on slate roofs takes more time and effort, which can be more costly.
  • Requires a professional: To avoid structural damage, you need to hire a professional installer rather than taking the DIY approach.

Can You Install Solar Panels on a Slate Roof Yourself?

Installing solar panels on a standard roof can be a complicated project. It’s not the hardest DIY project, but you need some experience with electrical systems, not to mention how time-consuming the process will be.

In the case of slate roofs, it’s like playing on a harder difficulty. It gets highly technical, and it’s not really a do-able DIY project. We therefore highly recommend leaving this in the hands of professional PV installers. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and with a project as complicated as this one, the risks will be high.

Of course, if you have all the necessary experience, you can go for it. Still, we recommend consulting a professional before doing so.

How to Install Solar Panels on Slate Roofs

Here are the general steps the installer takes to set up your solar panels on a slate roof:

Step 1: Removing the Tiles

When installing PVs on a standard roof, the installer usually drills the mounting brackets directly into the top of the building. But in the case of slate roofs, the installer has to carefully remove the necessary number of tiles first.

To do so, they typically use a slate ripper, a hammer, and, sometimes, tin snips, depending on the tiles.At first, they get under each tile with the ripper and lodge around the nail that holds it in place. Then, they hit the ripper’s handle with a hammer or apply pressure by hand to lever out the tile.

Step 2: Affixing the Flashing and Installing the Brackets

To make sure rain won’t get through your roof, the installer will likely attach flashing to the wooden frame of your roof.

After that, they’ll attach a standoff through the roof sheathing that reaches the rafter underneath. This is to raise the brackets away from the tiles.

Step 3: Installing the Solar Panels

After installing the brackets, it’s time for a standard solar panel fitting. The installer attaches the panels to the brackets and secures them in place. Then, they connect panels to the inverter and into your house.

How Long Does It Take to Install Solar Panels on Slate Roofs?

The time it takes to install PVs on slate roofs depends on many factors, like the size of your property and the size of the solar array.

It also depends on the installer and their experience. Typically, it takes a professional installer around one to two days to install the panels on a standard roof.

Nonetheless, slate roofs tend to be trickier and more time-consuming, so the installation process might take up to four or five days.

Does Installing Solar Panels on Pitched Roofs Cost More
Than the Standard Process?

Generally, the process of installing solar panels on slate roofs might cost around 30% more than the standard one.This added cost is mainly due to the extra time it takes to carefully remove tiles and install the panels without damaging the roof.

Yet, even with the pricier costs, solar panels are still worth it! You’ll save a lot of money in the long term and reduce your carbon footprint.

Pro tip: Cheaper isn’t necessarily better! Make sure to pick a reputable installer to carry out the process.

We also recommend checking online reviews and testimonials to avoid property damage and other problems that may happen due to poor installation.

Sounds like a hassle? At Effective Home, we have over 15 years of experience in installing solar systems on all kinds of roofs, including slate ones!

Click on this link and fill out the form to get a free quote for installing solar panels on your slate roofs.

What Are the Best Alternatives for Installing Solar Panels on Pitched Roofs?

Do you want to consider other options for solar panels on your slate roof? Here are some of the best alternatives you can go for:

  1. Integrated Solar Panels

Do you want to keep your pitched roof looking good without giving up on solar panels? Well, installing integrated solar panels is the perfect solution for you!

These PVs are designed to sit flush with your roof. So, we’ll be removing more tiles, depending on the size of the panels, but the final result will look way more appealing.

The best part is that you don’t need to worry about leaks or water damage! These panels are 100% waterproof and won’t affect the structural integrity of your roof.

The problem with normal panels on slate roofs is the space underneath them. Some birds find this place perfect for building a tiny home, and you can’t blame them. It’s a shaded, safe area, after all.

But that’s not the case with integrated panels, as they run flush. On top of that, less visible areas mean you won’t have to deal with built-up dust and debris often.

The only downside to integrated panels is that they’re around 5 to 10% less efficient than traditional, raised ones.That’s because they sit snugly on your roof, which affects the air ventilation that cools down the panels.

  1. Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

If you have a vast, sunny garden space, you might want to consider ground-mounted panels. These panels are just what they sound like; we install them at ground level rather than the roof.

So, you’ll completely bypass all roof issues, including tile removal. Additionally, with pole mounts or tracking panels, you can adjust the direction and angle of the cells to maximise the system’s efficiency.

On top of that, maintenance will be a piece of cake with the panels being on ground level. In other words, you won’t have to climb a slated roof to clean the cells.

But the process isn’t as perfect as it may sound. Let us explain:

For starters, this is only suitable if you have an unshaded area on your property. Moreover, these panels might take up a lot of valuable space and affect the overall aesthetic.

  1. Solar Tiles

Yes. You read that right! You can replace your standard tiles with solar ones.

Solar roof tiles, or solar shingles, are made of thin PV sheets, and they work pretty similar to traditional panels. If the aesthetic of your house is your number one priority, you should consider solar tiles. They look similar to standard tiles, but they power your house with electricity.

The problem with solar tiles is that they’re slightly less efficient than standard ones. That’s mainly due to decreased ventilation. Further, the choices are limited and a little expensive, since it’s a new technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best type of roof material for solar panels?

Solar panels can fit well on most types of roofs, including asphalt, metal, tar, tiles, and even gravel.

Are slate roofs strong enough to withstand carrying solar panels?

In general, the answer is yes. However, an engineer or architect needs to evaluate the overall structural integrity of the building and the roof to give the green light for the installation.

Some roofs might not be strong enough to carry the extra weight of the panels. But this has nothing to do with the installed tiles.

Slate roof solar panel conclusions

So, can you install solar panels on slate roofs? The answer is a resounding yes! If your roof is generally strong enough to carry the panels, the tiles won’t be a problem.

That said, keep in mind that the installation process can be a little more expensive compared to installing PVs on an asphalt roof. Still, it’s worth it, as you’ll be saving a fortune on energy bills in the long-term.

Let's calculate how much you can save

Justine Effective
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