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Will installing solar panels lead to a leaking roof?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 December 2015 at 10:15 am

There are a number of ways to secure solar PV panels to a roof. Certified fixings, properly installed using approved tried and tested methods, will secure the panels to your roof without causing leaks. However, do ensure the installer you choose ticks all these boxes before proceeding. Installing solar on slate roofs requires experience, skill and attention to detail.

The type of tiles your roof has plays a big part in how your PV system is installed.

Concrete or Clay Tiles

Many of the thicker clay or concrete tiles allow for a single tile to be removed, a bracket secured to a rafter, before the tile is replaced over the top. This type of fitting required no drilling of the tiles.

Trinamount I is an example of this type of fitting and is show below:

Trinamount I PV mounting system.

 

Slate Tiles

Thinner slate tiles are a little more complicated. As slate tiles are much thinner and overlap each other it is often not possible to secure a bracket and replace the tiles over the top as simply as with concrete or clay tiles. There are at least a couple of ways around this problem.

A non-drilled method:

Multiple slate tiles can be removed and reshaped to fit around a bracket that is secured to the rafters. The slates are then resecured using wire bracket to hold them in place. Although no holes are drilled using this method the tiles do need to be reshaped to fit around the bracket.

SolarFlash, an example of this type of fitting, being installed by GeniusRoofSolutions is shown below:

GeniusRoofSolutions - SolarFlash™

 

A drilled method:

It is also possible to secure the PV panels by drilling through the slate tiles and securing the bracket to the rafter. The rafters are located using a toothless saw, chalk, a metal detector and some logic. The tiles are then drilled above the rafters and the brackets screwed to the rafters using a sealant to waterproof the fitting.

SolarLimpets are an example of a bracket drilled directly through the slates.

Solar Limpets PV Mounting System

 

Which method is right for you?

To find out how solar panels would be secured to your roof it would be best to speak to some potential installers. An installer should be able to provide a MCS certificate (like this one) to show that it complies with BBA (British Board of Agrément) standards.

 

Images: The GIFs were made from videos uploaded to YouTube using gifmaker and ezgif. The original videos can be found by clicking these three links; Trinamount I, Solar Flash, Solar Limpets.

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