What are the best types of roofs for solar panels?

You might be wondering if your roof is suitable for solar. Solar systems can be attached to various types of roofs, but some are easier for installers to work with than others.

Find out more about the best roofs for solar in the UK.

best type of roof for solar panels

What’s the best roof type for solar installations?

In terms of installation, metal roofs are the easiest to install solar on. This is because the material is easy to drill into and you can affix rails straight to the roof.

In the UK, metal roofs are fairly rare to find. With other roofs, made with materials such as asphalt shingles, terracotta, or concrete, the process may be slightly longer. However, the time it takes to install solar on tile roofs is usually only ever a few hours and should be complete within one day.

  • Please note that solar is unsuitable for thatched roofs.
  • Solar is also unable to be installed on glass roofs or windows.
  • Skylight windows may affect where you can put panels.

Angle of roof

Another aspect which affects the installation of panels is the angle of the roof.  Interestingly, most UK houses and apartments have roof pitches of 30-50°, which are ideal for solar panels. This is fantastic news for any UK homeowner interested in looking at going solar.

Planes can also be added to a flat roof. Panels can be added to flat roofs using mounted systems. They can also harness more sunlight by being added onto tilted brackets.

South, East, West, or North facing roofs

A roof that faces south is the most ideal type of roof for solar panels. This is because it will receive longer direct daylight hours than other orientations.

Don’t discount panels if your roof faces other directions. The technology behind solar panels has improved massively over the years and can generate a large amount of electricity which you can use to power your home.

East and west-facing rooftops are also suitable for a solar panel system and will still produce a significant amount of electricity during the day.

Shading on roofs

If there are objects casting shade, solar PV systems can still generate power; however, the amount of power generated is greatly reduced.

If your roof has a lot of shadows cast on it for long periods of time, you should look into other solar options. Trees, power lines, and other properties can all cause shade on your roof.

Solar panel installation may be affected by shading. Based on the area and scale of the potential shading, an optimised system that can limit the impact of shading on your roof may be recommended. This will ensure you still generate enough solar energy to reduce your energy bills.

Does your roof condition affect the solar installation?

Yes, your roof condition can affect the viability of getting solar installed. Solar companies will always talk to you about the condition of your roof.

Professional solar installers will assess your roof material and condition. At Smart Energy, we will let you know if your roof can safely hold the weight of a solar array. If you have planned to renovate your roof, do so before installing solar panels.

Size of the roof

If for any reason your roof is too small to add solar panels to, you could add panels to a nearby shed or get ground-mounted solar panels.

The minimum amount of solar panels required to make a dent in your electricity bills is around 4. Keep in mind that 4 would be a very small system. The average amount of panels on a home in the UK is around 10.

Our solar specialists will take a look at your roof and work out where would be best to place panels to maximise efficiency. They’ll then work with you to ensure you like the design of the panels on your roof.

Pigeon-proofing your solar panels

If you live in an area where birds frequently nest, your solar specialist may advise you to add pigeon-proofing to your roof. Pigeon proofing is wired netting placed around your system so that birds are unable to get underneath. 

Not everyone needs bird protection, but if you are concerned about birds where you live, it might be worth investing in extra guarding.

Ensure your home doesn’t need planning permission

The last thing to consider when looking into solar panels for your home is to check whether your home needs planning permission.

If your home is an area of natural beauty, also known as a conservation area, you may need to apply for planning permission to add a solar PV system to your roof.

Get in touch with Smart Energy

To get a clearer picture of what solar could look like on your property and see how much you could save on your bills, get in touch with one of our specialists for a free home energy assessment.

On our way to Net Zero SmartEnergy.Core.Models.Generated.FeaturedContent