Roofs and solar installation – it’s tricky territory!

Let’s start with some stats:

  1. Did you know that the orientation of the roof affects the efficiency of a solar panel system? In Australia, a north-facing roof is typically the most suitable for solar panel installation, as it receives the most sunlight throughout the day. However, panels facing east or west can also be effective, depending on the building.

  2. Did you know that the pitch of your roof can also affect the efficiency of a solar panel system. In Australia, a roof pitch of 15-30 degrees is considered optimal for solar panel installation.

  3. Did you know that the age of your roof can also affect the installation of solar panels? Older roofs may require repairs or replacement before solar panel installation can take place.

If you’re considering installing solar panels on a tiled roof, there are several factors to consider to ensure a successful installation, including:

  • Assessing the properties of your roof

  • Understanding your current tile type and condition

  • Considering your mounting options

In this article, we’re going to take a look at these three top tips in more depth.

Ready? Let’s go.

Tip 1: Assess the properties of your roof

Before installing solar panels on a tiled roof, it’s important to conduct a thorough roof assessment. As a licensed, award-winning and thoroughly reputable solar retailer and installed, G Store can do this for you.

Beware solar dealers offering a seemingly “too-good-to-be-true” solar deal without a thorough assessment of your needs first. You’ll either be paying too much, or paying for a lower-quality product that will cost you much more in the long run!

From an overarching perspective, a quality roof assessment should consider the following factors:

  • The age and condition of your roof

  • The type and quality of the tiles on your roof

  • The orientation and angle of the roof

  • The general, seasonal amount of shade and sunlight the roof receives

  • The structural integrity of the roof

By assessing these factors, we’ll help you determine if your roof is suitable for solar panel installation, plus identify any potential issues that need to be addressed before the install takes place.

Tip 2: Understand your current tile type and condition

The type and condition of the current tiles on your roof can also affect the installation of solar panels. 

Concrete and terracotta tiles are the most common types of tiles used in Australia, with concrete tiles being more common in newer homes. 

When assessing the tiles, you should consider the following:

  • The age and condition of the tiles

  • The weight and size of the tiles

  • The spacing between the tiles

  • The roof pitch and shape

In some cases, older or damaged tiles may need to be replaced before solar panel installation to ensure a secure and stable mounting surface.

In past assessments, we’ve seen tiled roofs of all conditions: from perfectly fine and no replacement or care needed, to tiles that fall away like chalk at the slightest touch.

If one thing’s for certain, it’s that a thorough assessment of your roof’s condition needs to be undertaken by someone with expertise. Without the correct assessment, you can risk faulty or poorly-considered installation, damage or even injury. 

Don’t risk it.

Tip 3: Consider your solar panel mounting options

When installing solar panels on a tiled roof, there are two main mounting options:

1. Tile hooks 

Here “tile hooks” are attached to the rafters under the tiles, providing a secure mounting point for the solar panels.

Tile hooks are a popular option for mounting solar panels on tiled roofs in Australia, as they provide a secure and durable installation for harsh weather conditions without damaging the tiles themselves. 

However, there are some situations where tile hooks may not be suitable for solar mounting:

A. Brittle tiles:

Some types of tiles, such as clay and terracotta tiles, can become brittle over time. If the tiles are brittle, they may break when the tile hook is installed or when the solar panel system is being serviced. In such cases, an alternative mounting method may be necessary.

B. Uneven or irregular roof shapes:

If the roof is uneven or has an irregular shape, tile hooks may not be able to provide a secure mounting point for the solar panels. In such cases, alternative mounting methods such as rail mounting may be necessary.

C. Particularly extreme weather conditions:

If the area where the solar panel system is being installed experiences extreme weather conditions such as strong winds or heavy snowfall, tile hooks may not be suitable. In such cases, a more robust mounting system such as rail mounting may be necessary to ensure the panels remain secure and in place.

D. Incompatible roof materials:

Tile hooks are designed specifically for use on tiled roofs. If the roof is made of a different material, such as metal or slate, an alternative mounting method may be necessary.

The other option you have regarding preparation for installing solar panels on your roof is to replace the affected tiled with mounting brackets.

2. Tile replacement

Tile replacement involves removing the tiles from the roof and replacing them with mounting brackets. This method provides a more secure mounting point than tile hooks but can be more expensive and time-consuming, depending on your specific needs and circumstances (remember – we can help you assess this!).

If you’re considering replacing your roof at any point and installing a solar PV panel system in the future, we always suggest keeping spare tiles aside – this also helps if any are unintentionally damaged in the process of installation – such as can be the case with older, brittle, terracotta-tiled roofs.

What else can I do to best prepare my roof for solar panel installation?

Overall, properly preparing your roof for the installation of solar panels involves several critical steps to ensure a successful and efficient installation that you’ll be enjoying for years to come.

Keen to make the absolute most of your solar panels? Here are some additional things you can do to prepare your roof:

  1. Clean it:

    Before installing solar panels, it’s important to ensure that the roof is clean and free of debris. Dirt, leaves, and other debris can interfere with the efficiency of the solar panels and reduce their lifespan. Cleaning the roof before installation can also help the solar installer identify any existing damage or areas that may require repairs.

  2. Safely check for roof damage

    : Before installing solar panels, it’s important to check the roof for any existing damage, such as cracks or leaks, but make sure you do this safely, If unsure, do not attempt this yourself – just contact a licensed installer to help you.

  3. Consider roof shading:

    The efficiency of solar panels can be affected by shading from trees, buildings, or other structures. Before installing solar panels, it’s important to consider any potential shading issues and whether they can be mitigated. 

  4. Check the capacity of your roof:

    The weight of solar panels and mounting equipment can place additional stress on the roof. Before installing solar panels, it’s important to ensure that the roof can support the weight of the panels and mounting equipment. An engineer or qualified installer can perform a structural analysis to determine whether the roof is suitable for solar panel installation.

  5. Install roof access:

    Solar panel systems require periodic maintenance and cleaning, so it’s important to ensure that the roof is accessible. Installing roof access, such as a ladder or hatch, can make it easier for installers and maintenance workers to access the roof safely.

By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your roof is prepared for solar panel installation and that your solar panel system operates efficiently for years to come.

Wrapping up

Going solar? We’re here to help you on your journey!

As with any significant investment, the choice to install solar panels requires a range of decisions and meticulous planning in order to ensure you’re getting the best-possible solution.

You can make sure you’re getting the very best information by reading through the other articles on our Learning Centre – or, alternatively, give our award-winning solar team a call today on 1300 137 567 for your obligation-free consultation, and to get started.

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