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Can You Put Solar Panels on a Slate Roof?

You can definitely install solar panels on slate roofs. While it may take a bit longer and cost slightly more than other types of installations, the savings on your electricity bills each year make it well worth the investment. However, due to the delicate nature of slate tiles, this process requires specialized knowledge and careful planning. In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about houw can you put solar panels on a slate roof, including the installation process, time requirements, costs, and alternative options.

How Can You Put Solar Panels on a Slate Roof


Installing solar panels on a slate roof requires careful planning and precise execution to avoid damaging the delicate tiles. Here’s a detailed and user-friendly explanation of the process:


1. Removal of Tiles

Installing solar panels on a slate roof begins with the removal of the necessary tiles:

  • Tools Needed: Hammer, slate ripper, tin snips
  • Procedure:
    • Use of Slate Ripper: The installer will slide the slate ripper under each tile to loosen it from the roof, particularly around the nails.
    • Tile Removal: Once the tile is loose, they will carefully remove it by hitting the handle of the ripper with a hammer.
    • Nail Extraction: Using the claw of a hammer, the installer will extract any nails still in the batten to ensure a clean removal.

2. Affixing the Flashing

  • Purpose: Flashing is attached to the battens (the wooden framework of the roof) to prevent water from seeping into or through the roof.
  • Installation: The flashing is carefully attached around the brackets to create a water-tight seal.

3. Installing the Mounting Brackets

  • Mounting Process: The installer will attach the mounting brackets to the roof, ensuring they are secured with standoffs to elevate them from the roof surface.
  • Purpose: This step is crucial as it provides a stable foundation for the solar panels.

4. Reattaching the Tiles

  • Preparation: The tiles that were removed are sized and cut using a saw to fit around the brackets.
  • Replacement: Care is taken to reattach the tiles in their original positions to maintain the integrity of the roof and to avoid any gaps that could lead to leaks.

5. Adding the Solar Panels

  • Panel Installation: The solar panels are then mounted onto the brackets, secured in place, and connected to the inverter.
  • Electrical Connection: The inverter is connected to the consumer unit (fuse board or fuse box), completing the installation process.

Key Considerations

  • Professional Installation: Due to the delicate nature of slate tiles, it’s essential to hire experienced professionals who understand the intricacies of working with slate roofs.
  • Time and Cost: Installing solar panels on a slate roof may take longer and cost slightly more compared to other roofing materials due to the careful handling required

Does It Take Longer to Put Solar Panels on a Slate Roof?

Extended Timeframe

Yes, installing solar panels on a slate roof generally takes longer than on other types of roofs. The primary reasons for this extended timeframe include:

  • Fragile Nature of Slate:

Extra care is required to handle slate tiles without causing damage, which slows down the installation process.

  • Specialized Equipment:

Using specialized mounting systems and tools designed for slate roofs can be more time-consuming.

  • Detailed Planning:

Customized design and planning are essential to ensure a secure and effective installation, adding to the overall time required.

Despite the longer installation period, the benefits of solar energy and the preservation of your beautiful slate roof make it a worthwhile investment.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Solar Panels on a Slate Roof?

Higher Installation Costs

Installing solar panels on a slate roof is typically more expensive than on other roofing materials. The increased costs can be attributed to:

  • Specialized Labor:

Hiring professionals with experience in slate roof installations commands a higher price due to their specialized skills.

  • Custom Mounting Systems:

The use of non-penetrating mounting systems and specialized brackets designed for slate roofs adds to the overall cost.

  • Extended Installation Time:

The additional time required for careful handling and installation increases labor costs.

Cost Breakdown

  • Standard Installation: Installing solar panels on a regular roof can range from $15,000 to $25,000 for an average-sized residential system.
  • Slate Roof Installation: The cost can increase by 20% to 50%, making it range from $14,000 to $60,000, depending on the complexity and size of the system.

Financial Incentives

Despite the higher upfront cost, significant financial incentives can offset the investment. These include:

  • Federal Tax Credit:
  • State and Local Rebates:
    • Various states and local governments offer rebates and incentives for installing solar energy systems.

Are There Other Solar Panel Options for a Slate Roof?

Alternative Mounting Solutions

If traditional solar panel installation seems too invasive or costly, there are alternative options to consider:

  • Solar Shingles:
    • Solar shingles are designed to blend seamlessly with your existing slate tiles. They function like traditional solar panels but are installed as part of the roof itself, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the slate.
  • Ballasted Systems:
    • Ballasted mounting systems use weights to hold the solar panels in place without penetrating the roof. This method can be a viable option for flat or slightly sloped slate roofs.

Portable Solar Panels

For those seeking a less permanent solution, portable solar panels can provide a temporary and flexible option. These panels can be placed in optimal locations around the property to capture sunlight without altering the roof structure.


Installing solar panels on a slate roof is a feasible and beneficial option for those looking to harness renewable energy while maintaining the elegance of their slate tiles. Although the process requires specialized expertise and may come with higher costs and longer installation times, the long-term benefits and financial incentives make it a worthwhile investment.

By choosing professional installers, utilizing the right mounting systems, and considering alternative solar options, you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy without compromising the integrity and beauty of your slate roof.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Solar Earth Inc., visit our website or call us today. Let us help you make the switch to sustainable energy while preserving the charm of your slate roof.