Solar panels on Cambridge roof

Solar panels on shingle roof - how to install pv panels on shingle roof

These past years solar panels became a more common sight in the streets. This is a very logical evolution, considering the many advantages they bring. Shingles roofs are certainly an ideal roof to install solar panels on. Solar panels or photovoltaic (PV) panels are groups of electrically connected solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity (= renewable energy). Several PV panels on the roof of your house can contribute to cheap electricity generation, which leads to a lower electrical bill. Also your dependence on energy suppliers will reduce.

If you are considering installing PV panels on your roof, take a look at what you need to complete this installation. In this blog, you will learn how photovoltaic panels look on shingle roofs and how to install PV panels on shingle roofs.


<<< Photovoltaics on a Cambridge roof

Photovoltaic panels on the roof

PV panels need to be placed on a well enlightened part of the roof (preferably orientated to the south, south-west), so that electricity can be produced efficiently. The most efficient slope for PV panels is approximately 35°. The assembly of PV panels is carried out by specialized companies that design and calculate the correct amount of PV panels. All you need to do is enter a photovoltaic power plant on the roof.

It is advisable to install snow breakers and / or catchers under the PV panels as shown on the picture above. Snow fallen on the shingles will hold and melt gradually. But snow fallen on the solar panels can start to glide down due to the smooth surface. Gliding snow can create a small but sudden avalanche, which can surprise, hurt or injure someone. Installing snow stoppers will protect the space under the PV panels.

How to fix solar panels to the roof?

PV panels are mounted on aluminum profiles. The length of the aluminum profiles to be installed on the roof is determined by the number of PV panels.

Aluminum profiles are fastened to the roof with long screws. The screws pass through the shingles and the wooden deck and are firmly attached to the rafters or slats. The screw must have a high-quality rubber (EPDM) gasket washer on the exterior to ensure perfect water resistance and prevent any leaking into the drilled hole through which the screw passes through the roof covering. We can find many versions of these brackets on the market, but the most secure system is to use the screw with a metal plate or flashing combined with an EPDM gasket. The top part of this metal flashing is always slided under the shingle above. 

Aluminum profiles PV on shingles roof
Aluminum profiles PV panels on a shingle roof
Fixation photovoltaics on shingles roof
Fixation of solar panels on a shingle roof
Combi-screw with EPDM washer and metal plate
Combi-screw with EPDM washer and metal plate
Standard combi-screw with EPDM washer
Standard combi-crew with EPDM washer

The screw must be strong and long enough so they are firmly screwed in the wooden roof structure. This way they don’t get damaged or bent by large amounts of snow, and strong winds blowing under the PV panels won’t be able to blow them away.

The electrical cables connecting the solar panels and the electric boxes must be waterproof and must pass through the roof in such a place as to prevent leakage, such as a vented ridge, roof penetration, etc.

Connection between PV panel and electric box

Electric cables from PV panels pass through the roof through the roof outlet

Roof outlet for solar panels

Quick installation of PV panels, distribution boxes and other details

Don’t let the fear for a long installation restrain you from buying solar panels. The following example will prove this is a quick job. When consulting a specialized company, the installation of 10 photovoltaic panels will only take a few hours. On the first day, aluminum profiles were installed within an hour and PV panels were mounted in them. The cables were pulled into the technical room, where they were installed in switch cabinets the next day (see pictures below).

Electric cables from PV panels

Electric cabinet PV panels

Electric cabinet PV panels

This quickly installed system was used for local energy production, which in this case is used for heating and hot water without having to pay suppliers. Thanks to the PV panels on the roof this household can provide cheap electricity production which results in a lower bill and reduce their dependence on electricity prices.