How to Install Solar Panels over Tile Roof

solar panels mounted to a tile roof
What You'll Need
Chalk line
Electronic stud finder
Solar panel mounts
Solar panels
3/16 drill bit
3/8 drill bit (carbide)
Stainless steel lag bolts
9/16 wrenches (2)
Installation rails
Tape measure
Matching tiles (for replacement)

Installing solar panels over your tile roof is a challenging job. Your tile is weatherproof but not weight-proof. Too much pressure from walking on your roof can cause your tiles to crack. If you should use the wrong drill bit, you will cause too much vibration as you are drilling through the tile which will also result in breakage.

As challenging as it is to install solar panels on your roof, the time and effort you spend installing them will pay off in the amount of money you save in energy costs. You will have to determine how much power you consume to be able to determine how many panels you will need with the space you have on your roof. With the right equipment and time, you can install your own solar panels and start enjoying savings.

Step 1 - Locate Rafters

Use your electronic stud finder to find your rafters. Use your chalk line to mark where your rafters are located.

Step 2 - Remove Tile

After marking, remove the tile directly over the stud. You will have to firmly push and pull the tile as it is probably held in place by a small nail.

Step 3 - Fill and Drill

solar panels on a tile roof

Ensure that your sealant is room temperature and use it to fill in the former hole that held the tile in place. With your drill and the 3/16 drill bit, drill a pilot hole into the stud.

Step 4 - Install Mount

Turn one of the mounting brackets bottom side up. Place sealant on the surface and place it over the hole you drilled in Step 3. Use the screws that came with the bracket and secure it to the stud. The sealant should flow from the edges of the mounting bracket once properly seated.

Step 5 - Replace Tile

Return the tile you removed in Step 2 back into its position. Once it is secure, use your drill and 3/8 carbide drill bit to drill directly through the center of the tile. Slide a lag bolt through the hole in the tile. Ensure the bolt is seated securely in the mounting bracket beneath the tile and use the 9/16 wrenches in opposite directions to secure the lag bolt.

Step 6 - Seal the Tile

The structure of your tile has been compromised. The hole that was drilled through the tile has to be sealed. Use your sealant around the base of the hole where the bolt enters the tile. This will ensure that the tile remains waterproof.

Step 7 - Attach Rails

Now that the mounting system is in place, attach the rails to the mounting brackets. Secure the rails to the brackets with the 3/8 bolts provided.

Step 8 - Install Solar Panels

Carefully place your panels on the rails and secure them. It is important that your panels are secure so that they don't shuffle around in high winds. After the panels are secure, run the conduit from the panels to your converter location in your home.

Step 9 - Replace Broken Tile

If necessary, use the spare pieces of tile to replace any that you may have broken while walking the roof or while drilling.