Is it possible to have solar panels installed onto a flat roof?

September 20, 2016
"Can you have Solar Panels put on a Flat Roof. Many homeowners will automatically assume that solar panels cannot be installed on their property if they have a flat roof. Older solar PV panels needed to be tilted in order to capture optimum sunlight; however, technology has moved on considerably and there are now specialist solar energy systems that are suitable for flat roofs."

Solar panels on a flat roof?

We are increasingly aware of rising energy costs, coupled with the impact our carbon footprint has on the world around us. And as such, many households are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly and benefit from lower bills at the same time.

Solar panels are a prime example of this. Most new builds are automatically fitted with solar PV panels and because of their increased popularity, they are much cheaper to install. A 2015 survey carried out by Which? found that in 2011, the average cost of an installed 3.6-4kWp solar PV system was more than £11,000. Compare that to 2015’s average cost of £6,750 and it’s easy to see the savings.

Once installed, you will not only benefit from being able to generate your own electricity, but you’ll also get paid under the government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme – a scheme that was introduced in 2010, which pays the consumer for every unit your solar system generates. Sadly, this was cut from 12.92p to 4.39p for each unit from January 1st 2016 but it will still provide your household with a small additional income.

What about flat roofs?

Many homeowners will automatically assume that solar panels cannot be installed on their property if they have a flat roof. Older solar PV panels needed to be tilted in order to capture optimum sunlight; however, technology has moved on considerably and there are now specialist solar energy systems that are suitable for flat roofs.

Contrary to popular belief, a flat roof is the perfect location for a solar energy system to be installed. A flat roof delivers an unobstructed space, which means maximum sunlight absorption and optimum solar power generation. Plus installation may be cheaper than a pitched roof because access is usually easier for the installer.

Solar panel manufacturers have designed a range of products that can be installed on any type of surface – these include panels that can be mounted horizontally or with a slight tilt. They can be mounted on membrane surfaces without requiring any drilling.

So if you are concerned that installing solar panels on your flat roof will damage the waterproof membrane, you don’t need to worry. There are non-penetrating flat roof mounts available that eliminate any risk of damage to your flat roof.

Does my flat roof have to be in good condition in order for solar panels to be installed?

If your flat roof is traditional felt and in need of repair, we strongly suggest that you consider replacing it before investing in solar PV panels. It will be considerably more expensive to have to remove the panels soon after installation to then deal with a failing flat roof, before then re-installing them again.

Similarly, if you are in the middle of building an extension and want to install a solar power system to the proposed flat roof, make sure that this is thoroughly discussed with your chosen roofing installer. They will be able to help you make the most suitable decision in terms of quality and material to ensure you maximise your return on investment.

If you are considering adding solar energy to your home and want to know if your existing flat roof is up to the task, we are more than happy to carry out a maintenance check to ascertain whether any repairs are required. Simply call High-Tech Membrane Roofing today.

Steve Thornton – Author

If you have a question about this or any of our blogs, or about any of our services, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

We will always try and answer your question quickly and professionally.

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