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Can Solar Panels be Installed on a Slate Roof

By Benjamin Strusnik March 15, 2022

Can Solar Panels be Installed on a Slate Roof

The use of solar energy is rapidly increasing due to its positive impact on the environment and the long-term financial benefits of clean, renewable energy. 

Different types of solar panel kits are readily available from most large stores and can be installed on nearly any stable surface in your home. If you're looking to install a solar panel on your slate roof, this article tells you everything you need to know.

Slate Roofing: a General Overview

Slate roofs have always been a popular feature in home design. Slate is a well-established material in roofing as it’s long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing, and fireproof. 

Installing Solar Panels on Slate Roofs

Unfortunately, unlike other roofing materials, slate requires regular maintenance to keep its neat appearance. Similarly, extra care must be shown when installing any object on slate roofs to not damage or crack any of the tiles.

The Installation Process

With a few minor exceptions, the installation of solar panels onto slate and asphalt roofs is roughly the same. The main difference is that normally a mounting bracket would be drilled directly into the roof, when dealing with slate each tile would have to be removed carefully. 

After the relevant tiles are removed, a standoff is attached through the roof sheathing onto the rafter below. A mounting bracket must then be attached to the standoff. 

It should be noted that the installation process with slate roofs is highly technical and a professional solar panel installer should be considered instead of doing it yourself, unless you have the necessary experience and know-how.

Things You Should Never Do 

The golden rule when dealing with slate roofing is to never drill directly through the slate tiles. The main consequence is damage to the tiles’ structural integrity which could cause leaks and negatively impact the strength of the tiles.

Things to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels on Slate Roofs

Here are the most important things to consider and check before you install anything onto your slate roof. 

It’s extremely important that you get the services of a professional to ensure the structural integrity of the roof and its underlayment is good.

Install Solar Panels on Slate Roofs

You need to ensure the solar panel is properly anchored to the underlying roof rafter. This requires special planning and, once again, you should consult a professional for this.

You should bear in mind that the installation of solar panels shouldn’t cause any damage to the roof itself if it’s done properly and with caution.

Labor Considerations

Slate is a smooth stone material. When it’s combined with a steep pitch it can cause issues for solar panel installers.

Unlike installing solar panels on a metal roof, slate tiles are prone to breaking and cracking.

A few slate tiles will inevitably crack or break in the installation process. Good replacement material for these tiles is artificial slate. This is more cost-effective than purchasing single tiles of real slate.

When compared to the installation process with asphalt shingle roofs the cost of labor for slate roofs can sometimes be doubled. 

This is a major point to be considered before installing a solar panel on a slate roof.

It should also be noted that the installation process can take up to a week to complete as slate roofs require extra care when worked with so it tends to be a much slower process.

Because it’s more intricate and involved to drill and work on slate, the number of solar panels you can install on your roof will be lower than with other roofing materials.

The Benefits of Slate as a Material

There are many advantages to having slate as a roofing material. 

The main benefit is its durability, not only is it fireproof to an extent, but it is fairly moisture tolerant too.

should solar panels be installed on a slate roof

It’s ideal for places with heavy rainfall, snow, and wind and has proven to be durable for up to 100 years if maintained properly. 

Conclusion

Although slate roof tiles are fragile and require special consideration and care when worked with, it is indeed possible to install a solar panel kit on a slate roof.

Slate is one of the best roofs for solar panels because once the panels are installed, the mounting will hold fast against the tiles.

As long as the correct procedure is followed during installation the solar panel will function normally.

Lastly, the only other consideration is that the installation process could cost a little more as more equipment is required.

It is possible to install the panel to your slate roof DIY style however a professional should always be consulted for effective results.

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