Slate Roof – A Unique Solar Energy Environment

A slate roof is chosen by designers and home buyers as the premium choice for longevity and appearance. Most structures built to support a slate roof are well suited for a solar energy system.

Benefits

As a naturally occurring stone material, slate has some unique properties and benefits :

  • Its toughness and inert qualities means it can last 100 years or more, with great resistance to effects of moisture, such as fungus or mold.
  • Ideal for areas prone to heavy rain, snow, or wind. It is resistant to such temperature fluctuations and inclement weather conditions.
  • Limited but different shades and colors may be available.
  • Never needing replacement, it adds value to a home and to some it is the eco-friendly solution. No replacement means no waste from disposing of old materials.

Adding Solar

Slate is one the most premium roofing materials, and therefore less common. However, there is a large supply of suitable racking and solar panel mounting designs. Adding solar to a slate roof requires some additional caution.

  • It is best to ensure the integrity of the underlayment and roofing support structure, especially for older homes.
  • Special planning is required. The installation of each mounting foot requires the removal of a slate tile. Mounting on top of slate is not recommended.
  • Anchoring the solar energy system to the underlying roof support structure is mandatory.
  • The necessary anchoring penetrations are easily sealed using time-tested flashing methods or UV-resistant sealants.
  • Southern Light Solar uses extra caution to make sure the installation activities are gentle and avoid any potential damage to the slate tiles themselves and especially to the typical underlayment. This maintains the integrity of every roof’s water barrier over time.

Mounting Solar Panels on Slate Roofs

Homes and structures covered with slate are typically pitched and not flat. The degree and style of roof pitch depends on the architectural effect targeted. Solar panel racking and mounting systems are designed with this in mind.

Southern Light Solar follows best practices both in selecting and installing solar panel mounting and racking hardware on slate roofs. By designing with components from reputable and proven manufacturers such as IronRidge, among others, we are assuring our customers that years of experience is working for them.

More than choosing the best mounting hardware, a good installer must establish a dependable practice to install and fasten everything for years of reliable service.

A few special conditions apply for slate materials:

  • Use effective techniques to locate rafters below the asphalt shingles and underlayment.
  • Use extreme caution when removing a slate tile for anchoring hardware.
  • Follow roofing council guidelines that ensure anchor bolts are properly placed including drilling and creating pilot holes when needed.
  • Size and install flashing following unique protocol. Each piece of flashing will be replacing a slate tile and needs to have equally dependable longevity.
  • Use the highest integrity sealing materials and methods.
  • NEVER drill through slate.