James Elston

James Elston

Published June 8, 2024

If you are looking to install a solar panel system and start saving on your energy bills, you’ll first need to determine if your roof is suitable for solar panel installation. This means that your roof should be in good condition, less than 20 years old, and free from damage, among a few other factors.

Solar panels have a long lifespan and can be a fantastic investment for your home or business. However, if your roof isn’t suitable for the installation, your investment may not be as rewarding.

To help you avoid unnecessary complications during your solar panel installation, we’ve put this handy guide together to help you determine whether your roof is suitable. And if it isn’t, we have some great solutions and alternatives to help you make a more informed decision.

Is Your Roof In Good Condition?

Assessing the condition of your roof is the first step to determining whether it’s suitable for solar panels. A roof that’s in good condition is essential for a successful solar panel installation and the long-term performance of the system.

Solar panels usually have a lifespan of around 25 to 30+ years. However, installing solar panels on a roof that is in poor condition could lead to premature removal of the system or damage when your roof needs replacement.

Additionally, a solar panel system adds weight to your roof, so it needs to be able to support the additional load. A weak or damaged roof usually won’t be able to withstand the weight of panels, which could risk structural damage to your home.

So, is your roof suitable for solar installation? Let’s take a closer look…

Signs of a good roof

There are two main indicators that your roof is in good enough condition for solar panel installation. These include your roof’s age and that it is free from damage.

  • The age of your roof: A roof that is less than 20 years old is usually considered suitable for solar panels. Older roofs may need to be repaired or replaced before you can install a solar panel system.
  • Free from damage: Examine your roof and check for any damage. Look out for things like broken or missing shingles, leaks, or any parts of the roof that are sagging. If there is any damage to your roof, you may need to organise repairs before you install your solar panels. But if your roof looks like it’s in good condition, you’ll be able to install solar panels with no problem!

What Size And Space Considerations Are There?

Typically, for a 2-bedroom home with a system that generates 4 kW of electricity, you’ll need a roof area of around 28 square metres. This amount of space will ensure that there’s enough room to install the correct number of solar panels to meet your specific energy needs.

If you have a small roof, fitting in enough solar panels can be tricky. But there are solutions! For example, some types of solar panels, like monocrystalline solar panels,are designed to produce more electricity from a smaller area, which means they’re great for small spaces. Additionally, you can angle your solar panels to soak up more sunlight – even when you have less roof space.

It’s essential to position your solar panels in a way that allows them to get the most sunlight possible. However, things like chimneys or vents can get in the way and cause shading, which can cause efficiency problems.

Figuring out how to work around these issues while still getting the maximum amount of sunlight on your panels is a key factor for a proper solar installation. Luckily, Eco Happy can help guide you through this process.

Is Your Roof At The Right Orientation And Angle?

The angle and orientation of your roof can also affect how much sunlight the panels on your roof are exposed to. Because of this, you’ll want to set your solar panels up in a way that allows them to catch the most rays possible.

Roof orientation

Assess the direction that your roof faces in relation to the sun’s path.

In the Northern Hemisphere and UK:

  • A south-facing roof receives the most sunlight during the day, which makes it ideal for solar panel installation.
  • East or west-facing roofs are also suitable for solar panels since they can capture enough sunlight throughout the day to power a solar system.
  • A north-facing roof usually receives the least amount of sunlight and may not be suitable for solar panels unless other factors can compensate for the lack of direct sunlight. For example, solar panels with built-in bypass diodes may work well to optimise your system if you have a north-facing roof.

Roof pitch

In the UK, a roof pitch of around 30 to 40 degrees is best for solar panels.

The angle (also known as the pitch) at which your roof slopes can affect how well solar panels absorb sunlight. Ideally, your solar panels should be titled at an angle that allows them to directly face the sun for the longest duration each day.

In the case of flat roofs, the panels may need to be mounted and manually angled during installation.

Is Your Roof Made Of The Right Material?

Another essential factor to consider before you get your solar panels installed is your roof material. Generally, some materials are better suited for a solar system, while others may pose certain challenges for you to work around.

Roof material compatibility

If you know what kind of material your roof is made of, that’s great news! But if you’re unsure, you can always get a professional solar installer to examine the material during their initial assessment.

Most homes use materials such as:

  • Asphalt shingles
  • Concrete tiles
  • Metal

These materials are all perfect for solar panels since they are durable, able to support the weight of the panel system and make installation much easier. They also provide a more stable foundation for mounting your solar system without compromising its integrity.

Challenges with certain roof materials

In some cases, your roof may be made from materials that are more challenging to work with. This could be due to their fragility, brittleness, or their unique properties.

These materials may pose more difficulty during installation:

  • Slate
  • Wood shake
  • Clay tiles

However, there are ways to work around this with the right team of installers.

After assessing your roof, your installers may be able to advise you on how best to go about your installation. For instance, they may use specialised mounting equipment or installation techniques to accommodate the solar panel system.

It’s still important to remember, though, that these materials may be more prone to damage during the installation process. This could lead to higher installation costs since the complexity of the job increases significantly.

What Are Some Alternatives To Roof-Mounted Panels?

If your roof isn’t suitable for solar panels, you can consider some of these common alternatives to roof-mounted solar panels for your home or business:

  • Ground-mounted solar panels: These systems are installed on the ground rather than roof. Typically, the panels are mounted on a metal or concrete frame, which is securely anchored to the ground. However, you will need sufficient outdoor space to install this type of system since it will need to be placed strategically for direct sun exposure.
  • Solar carports: Solar carports are carports that have solar panels installed on top. These systems can be built in driveways, parking lots, or any other open outdoor area that can accommodate multiple cars. If you have limited roof space, this may be a great option for you.
  • Solar canopies: Solar canopies are similar to solar carports. But instead of providing shade for cars, this system can be installed on outdoor structures like patios or decks. Since these structures are freestanding, they can be extremely versatile and make a great alternative to roof-mounted panels.
  • Solar roof tiles or shingles: Unlike standard solar systems mounted on your roof, solar tiles and shingles can be integrated into your roof’s structure. These tiles use the same technology as solar panels to absorb sunlight and convert it into usable energy but may be more expensive than a traditional solar system.


How long does it take to install solar panels once my roof is declared suitable?

The time it takes to install solar panels depends on several important factors. This includes the size of the installation, any roof repairs or replacements, and the current weather conditions.

Typically, an installation at a private home can take between one and three days. However, it may take longer for a business – especially large businesses with bigger premises.

To shorten the installation time, perform any roof repairs or preparation beforehand. This can streamline the process and allow installers to fit your panels quickly and efficiently.

What maintenance do solar panels require after installation?

Once your solar panels are installed, they require very little maintenance. Still, it’s a good idea to clean your panels regularly (around three to four times a year) to get rid of any dust, debris, or dirt. Without regular cleanings, your panels may not perform as efficiently and will have a lower power output.

You may also want to book an annual inspection of your system to ensure that it’s in optimum shape. This will also help address any potential issues with your system as quickly as possible.

What if I am still unsure if my roof is suitable?

If you’re still not sure whether your roof is suitable for a solar panel system, it’s time to call in the professionals! At Eco Happy, our expert team of installers is always ready to help. All you need to do is request a free quote! We’ll do a full inspection and assessment of your home or business and can answer any questions you have.

Once we’ve determined if your roof is in good condition for installation, we will guide you through the installation process from start to finish. With our team, you’re guaranteed a hassle-free and expert installation that suits your needs.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have the perfect roof for a solar panel installation or you’re considering one of our helpful alternatives, it’s time to call up a team of professional installers to get the job done!

At Eco Happy, we’re serious about helping you save on your electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint – one small step at a time. And with the help of our expert installers, you’ll be on your way to a cleaner, greener home or business in no time!

James Elston

James Elston

Boiler Expert

James Elston is the top boiler replacement and heating expert at Eco Happy. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, focusing on Gas Safe boiler installations and offering home-heating and energy-saving solutions to homeowners across the UK. From sourcing the most energy-efficient combi boiler to providing specialist heating advice, James ensures that Eco Happy maintains the highest standards and best customer service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *