Solar Panels On Tile Roof: Problems You Should Be Watching Out For

Feature image for the article about solar panels on tile roof problems. Image shows solar panels installed on a tiled roof.

As good as they are, the honest truth is that most installers hate installing solar panels on tile roof.

They’re heavy, fragile, and downright a pain to work with.

It doesn’t help that it’s one of, if not the most commonly used, roofing materials in Australia either.

But, with that being said, having a tiled roof shouldn’t discourage you from investing in solar panels.

The financial benefits are just too good to ignore, after all.

However, you do need to be aware of potential problems that you and your installer might come across.

No one wants to be blindsided, right? Right. So take a deep breath while we take a deep dive into why solar professionals hate tile roofs and why you, too, will be affected.

Solar installers encounter three major issues with tiled roofs.

Infographic showing the 3 major issues that solar installers have with working on tiled roofs

1. Tiles are fragile and heavy.

If you have a tiled roof and you have an upcoming solar panel installation, you better make sure you have at least a few tiles on hand.

Spares are going to be invaluable here because there’s a high likelihood of a tile breaking and crumbling during the solar installation process.

This brings to light the importance of hiring a knowledgeable and experienced solar installer. They know to also bring spares of their own in case a few (or many) break.

“So why is this a problem?” you ask.

Well, for one, solar panels are also heavy. Just carrying those around is hard work. Now they have to move heavy tiles, too. It’s quite literally back-breaking.

Not to mention, these professionals are also humans with humanly proportionate weights of their own. Your roof tiles can crack with even the skinniest and most petite technicians simply stepping on top of them.

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2. Working with tiled roofs is costly and time-consuming.

For your installers, time is money. The sooner they get jobs done, the sooner they can start on another, and the more money they can bring home to their families. Isn’t that true for all of us, though?

Anyhow, this goes back to the fragility of tiles. Installers have to be extra cautious not to break anything, and this, consequently, means work gets done slower.

Oh, and if you have terracotta tiles, man, oh man, oh man. It’s a good thing they’re on the roof and you’re on the ground because you don’t want to see them roll their eyes or hear them cuss.

3. Tiled roofs are inherently more complex.

Tiled roofs have hips and ridges that, admittedly, look nice, but they also make installing solar panels more complicated.

You see, the mounting brackets often need to be drilled into your roof’s rafters or trusses.

Otherwise, your solar panels won’t have the structural integrity to withstand the heavy rain, strong winds, and overall harsh weather conditions of Australia.

The hips and ridges that are inherent in a tiled roof structure make it harder to reach the rafters and trusses.

On top of that, solar installers will also have to carefully drill into your tiles to anchor wires and mounting brackets.

It doesn’t matter if you have concrete tiles, terracotta tiles, clay tiles, or any other type of material. They’re all more likely to crack than asphalt shingles or metal roofs, making your installer’s job harder.

Now, you might be thinking:

“Okay, it’s tough on the solar installer. But why does that concern me?”

Infographic showing concerns that homeowners should have if they're installing solar panels on their tiled roofs.

Well, because it affects you in a handful of ways, too. Here’s a list of things that might concern you:

You will likely have to pay more for your solar panel installation.

If your installation process is more complex, requires more careful skill, has higher material costs, and takes more time, your solar installer is very likely to charge you more.

How much more? Honestly, there’s no one answer to this, as every professional values their time and skills differently. To make sure you get the most of your money, though, ask for multiple quotes. Oh, by the way, we have a network of pre-vetted solar installers. We can get you 3 quotes from them for FREE.

Moreover, if your roof is in bad condition, you might have to hire a roofer to get it fixed before installing solar panels. That’s more money out of your pocket. But, on the bright side, many solar installers also have roofing contacts. Maybe you can ask them to cut you a deal, whether that be financed or in cash.

A shoddy installation can put your roof at risk of leaking.

Remember how I blabbered on about cracked tiles and roof penetrations? Yeah, those could be issues you’ll want to watch out for.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The solar industry is in a really good place today, with strict standards already set for both solar installers and their installations. However, there are still lazy, shady, and downright terrible people out there who just want to make some quick money.

So, when you hire a solar installer, be as anal as possible and only hire one that’s CEC-accredited and has a reputation for quality craftsmanship.

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A tiled roof could limit the size of your solar system.

As previously mentioned, your roof trusses and roof rafters will be where your solar mounting brackets will be anchored. It should be a straightforward process, except that tile roofs also have hips and ridges that make it hard, if not impossible, to drill holes without damaging your roof.

This, in turn, could put a cap on the size of your solar system because, instead of solar panels covering your entire roof, some parts will have to be left untouched.

Say, for example, that you wanted to install a 6 kW solar system. That’s probably going to require 24 solar panels. But, since there’s a part of your roof that can’t be drilled into, you can only install 20 solar panels, cutting your system size down to 5 kW.

Installing solar panels on tiled roofs can disrupt your home’s aesthetics.

Even though they’re a pain in the behind to work with, the unavoidable truth is that tiled roofs look so damn pretty. Heck, if I could afford to buy another house right now, I’d want one with a terracotta tile roof!

So, if you love the look of your roof so much, installing solar panels might not sit well with you. And, truly, that’s valid.

But you know what else is valid? Energy savings and independence from greedy power companies that keep raising the price of electricity.

I’m sick of it, and if you’re here, you’re likely sick of it, too. The good news is that modern solar panels look so much better and sleeker than they did a decade ago. We have a more in-depth discussion on the types of solar panels available to you, but there are black ones (monocrystalline), blue ones (polycrystalline), and even ones that are so thin and flexible, you’d think they weren’t the real deal.

Recommended: How much money can you save with solar panels?

Conclusion: Your solar installer will have solutions to your tiled roof problems.

Nothing in this world is perfect, but every problem will also have a solution. The same can be said about installing solar panels on a tiled roof.

Granted, some solutions aren’t the most optimal. For example, if trusses and rafters can’t be accessed, you might just have to settle for fewer solar panels, thus reducing your system size. On the other hand, you could also choose to install higher-quality solar panels so you can still produce more solar power even with fewer modules.

Whatever the case may be, though, make sure to communicate with your solar installer so both of you can work on a compromise that works for you. Wait, what’s that? You don’t have an installer yet? Cool. We can get you in contact with 3 of them. No payments necessary.