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Why get solar panels?

  • Generate free, green electricity
  • Reduce your electricity bill by up to 64%
  • Get paid for what you don't use

Can solar panels be installed on a slate roof?

Solar panels can definitely be installed on a slate roof

It typically costs 30% more than a solar installation on a standard roof

The electricity bill savings more than make up for this higher price

The cost of solar panels is falling, which is excellent news for anyone looking to save money on electricity bills for years to come.

But when you’re looking into getting solar panels, one of the first steps is to ensure your roof is suitable for them.

In this guide, we’ll run through the steps an installer will take to put solar panels on your slate roof, the cost of doing so, and the different solar options to consider before you move ahead.

If you want to get solar panels for your home, you can compare solar panel prices with our help. Just provide a few quick details, and our expert installers will be in touch with free quotes for you to compare.

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Solar panels on a slate roof under a blue sky

Can solar panels be installed on a slate roof?

Solar panels can definitely be installed on a slate roof.

You can find the proof of this on countless slate roofs all over the UK, alongside solar panel systems on various other types of roofs.

Installing solar panels on a slate roof just takes a little more time, care, and attention than most solar projects.

How are solar panels installed on a slate roof?

Here are the steps an installer typically takes to put solar panels on a slate roof.

If you’re worried, run through this list with each company that gives you a quote, to see if they’re planning on taking the necessary care to get this type of project right.

Whatever you do, don’t carry out the installation yourself – it’s dangerous, much more expensive, and likely to void your warranties and any Smart Export Guarantee payments for your excess energy.

1. Remove the tiles

Usually, flashing and mounting brackets are hammered directly into a roof – but on a slate roof, this would damage or break the tiles.

Instead, your installer will carefully remove the necessary number of tiles, using a hammer, a slate ripper, and possibly tin snips.

They’ll use the slate ripper to get under each tile and lodge around a nail that connects the tile to the roof, then lever it out by hitting the ripper’s handle with a hammer.

They may also use this technique to remove the tile, before then taking out the nails with the claw of a hammer.

2. Affix the flashing

Your installer will attach flashing to your battens – that is, the wooden frame of your roof – which will make sure water can’t get into or through your roof.

3. Install the mounting brackets

They’ll then connect the mounting brackets to your roof, using standoffs to raise the brackets away from the surface.

4. Reattach the tiles

The installer will use a saw to cut the slate tiles they removed to size, so they can fit around the brackets and ensure there are no gaps in your roof.

5. Add the solar panels

They’ll then complete the usual process of fitting solar panels onto mounting brackets, securing them in place, and connecting the inverter to the panels and your consumer unit (also known as a fuse board or fuse box).

These steps are straightforward for all trained solar panel installers.

Does it take longer to put solar panels on a slate roof?

Yes, it usually takes longer to put solar panels on a slate roof.

Your installer will typically spend around five days to set up the solar panel system, compared to a standard installation time of one or two days for most roofs.

A longer installation raises your costs, as we’ll explain in more detail in the next section.

solar panels on a slate roof in Wales, under a blue sky

How much does it cost to install solar panels on a slate roof?

The average cost of installing solar panels on a three-bedroom house is £9,134.

This is 30% more expensive than the typical cost of a solar panel installation in the UK, which is £7,026.

All the extra cost comes from the added labour and tools it takes installers to carefully remove, reshape, and replace the slate tiles, all without damaging them.

However, it’s still worth installing solar panels on a slate roof. The average household will save £537 per year on its electricity bills, and break even in 17 years – leaving you plenty of time to enjoy the free energy your panels produce.

Are there other solar panel options for a slate roof?

If you want to consider other ways of putting solar panels on your slate roof, we’ve got you covered with all the best alternative options.

Let’s run through all three of them, one by one.

1. Integrated solar panels

Integrated solar panels are secured directly to a tileless section of your roof, so they lie flush with your other tiles.

They’re weatherproof, waterproof, and as strong as regular roof tiles – plus they’re typically more aesthetically attractive than solar panels on mounting brackets.

The installation process is usually straightforward, and if you choose standard panels instead of a bespoke system, it shouldn’t cost you any more than mounted panels would.

However, they’re 3% less efficient than regular solar panels, so everything else being equal, they’ll generate less solar energy for the same upfront cost.

2. Solar roof tiles

Solar roof tiles generate electricity in the same way solar panels do, while looking just like regular roof tiles.

However, if you choose to get solar tiles, you’ll have to replace your entire roof.

Solar tiles are also typically 85% more expensive than solar panels, as well as being significantly less efficient than the average solar panel, let alone the most efficient solar panels on the market.

3. Replace all your slate tiles

Alternatively, you could choose a different style of tile, and cover your roof accordingly.

Installers typically find it easier to put solar panels on roofs made of asphalt shingles or metal.

Metal roofs with standing seams are particularly convenient, as installers can attach solar panels without drilling or hammering in any holes.

Replacing all your roof tiles is likely the most expensive option, but it’s worth considering.

Next steps

You now have all the information you need to move ahead with your solar installation.

If you decide to get solar panels installed on your slate roof, you should get multiple quotes, to ensure you get the best deal for your home.

You can start this process by using our free comparison tool. Simply fill in a few details and our trusted suppliers will get in touch with free quotes.

Solar panels on a slate roof: FAQs

You can absolutely put solar panels on slate roofs.

It takes more time than most other solar panel installations, and therefore also costs a bit more.

But overall, it’s still worth it for the hundreds of pounds you can save each year with the solar electricity your panels will generate.

You won’t usually need planning permission for solar panels you get installed on your roof.

The only exceptions are homes that are listed buildings or in a conservation area.

If you live in a listed building, you’ll need to find a way for the solar panels to either celebrate your home’s historical architecture or to blend in so well that they’re practically invisible.

If you’re in a conservation area, get in touch with your local authority to discuss your solar project and how it will maintain the aesthetics of your area.

The following roofs are not suitable for solar: roofs made entirely of wood, unavoidably north-facing roofs, and roofs that don’t receive enough sunlight.

Wooden roofs are fire hazards when paired with solar panel installations, but fortunately this type of roof isn’t common.

Solar panels on north-facing roofs usually don’t produce enough electricity, though there are ways to combat this trick of fate, such as solar panel trackers.

And thankfully, all households in the UK receive enough sunlight to generate a profitable amount of solar electricity. The only issue is if your roof is largely in the shade, though this problem is normally solvable.

Written by:
josh jackman
Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.
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