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In-Roof vs. On-Roof Solar Installations Explained

Harnessing the sun’s energy to power your home is a smart and sustainable choice. As you embark on the solar journey, it’s crucial to understand the nuances between in-roof solar, rail-mounted solar, integrated, and solar roofs. At Apex Doma, we’re here to shed light (no pun intended!) on these terms and help you make an informed decision for your solar needs.

In-Roof vs. On-Roof: Deciphering the Language

The world of solar panels is brimming with jargon and terminology that can be confusing to begin with. Let’s break down the differences between in-roof, on-roof, integrated, and solar roofs.

  • In-Roof Solar Panels / Integrated Solar Panels: These panels seamlessly integrate into the roof structure, replacing traditional roofing materials for a sleek and unified appearance. The solar panel aligns with the height of the tile, offering a streamlined aesthetic. Learn more about in-roof solar panels.
  • On-Roof Solar Panels: These panels are mounted on top of the existing roof and attached to a separate mounting system. They provide a more traditional look while harnessing solar energy effectively. Learn more about rail-mounted solar panels.
  • Solar Roofs: In this emerging market, the solar panel becomes the tile itself. We are most commonly asked about Tesla’s Solar Roof, which is designed to mimic traditional roofing materials, but this is currently only available in America.

Cost Considerations: In-Roof vs. On-Roof

One of the primary questions on the minds of prospective solar panel customers is the cost difference between in-roof and on-roof installations. Generally, in-roof installations come with a slightly higher price tag, approximately 10% more than on-roof installations. This cost disparity is attributed to increased installation complexity, aesthetic considerations, and the need for additional components.

However, a key point to note is that opting for an in-roof system during a re-roofing project can be cost-effective. The reduction in the cost of tiles and the associated labour expenses make in-roof installations an attractive option when timed with a roof replacement.

Efficiency Matters: Are In-Roof Panels as Efficient as On-Roof?

The efficiency of solar panels can be influenced by various factors, and the location of the panels—whether in-roof or on-roof—is one such consideration. For in-roof systems, potential performance drops are linked to the temperature and ventilation behind the panel.

If your roof has a cold attic (no insulation between rafters), ventilation is normal, and efficiency remains high. However, in warm attic roofs (converted lofts for example) with insulation between rafters, the temperature behind the panel may rise on really hot days, causing a drop in efficiency. While efficiency drops are noticeable around 75 degrees Celsius (rare in the UK), it’s essential to consider your specific roof conditions.

Design Limitations for In-Roof Solar

While in-roof solar panels offer a seamless and aesthetically pleasing solution, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Unlike on-roof solar installations, in-roof systems may have design limitations. Lead flashing requirements around the sides can restrict design options, and manufacturers prefer a portrait orientation, limiting landscape options. With an on-roof system, we can run closer to obstructions such as chimneys & vents. These are all things we take into consideration during the design & consultation, and why a detailed proposal is so important to making your final decision.

Navigating Regulations and Roof Suitability

Before diving into solar panel installation, it’s crucial to understand the regulatory landscape and assess your roof’s suitability.

  • Planning Permission: In most cases, solar panels can be installed under permitted development rights, negating the need for planning permission. However, exceptions exist for listed buildings and those in conservation areas. In these cases, in-roof solar panels are often preferred for their aesthetic appeal.
  • Roof Suitability: With the exception of solid stone and metal roofs, most roof types are suitable for in-roof solar panels. If in doubt, our design team at Apex Doma is ready to provide guidance on viability, design restrictions, and likely costs.
  • DNO Notifications: Your electricity supplier does need to be made aware of the installation so that they can manage the flow of electricity effectively. This is either done via a G99 or G98 application. We manage this application for you and require you to sign an authority form so we can contact your electricity provider on your behalf.

Retrofitting and New Roof Considerations

Wondering if you need a new roof for in-roof solar panels? The good news is that in-roof solar can be retrofitted. Working in collaboration with a roofer, the old tiles are removed, and the in-roof solar system is installed. Our team manages the installation process seamlessly, ensuring your solar journey is hassle-free. If you don’t have a roofer, don’t worry, we have several local roofers we work alongside regularly. The main thing to consider is the additional cost required to remove and re-lay the roof tiles in addition to the solar installation.

Choosing the right solar installer

As you navigate the exciting world of solar energy, Apex Doma is your trusted partner in making informed choices. Whether you lean towards the seamless integration of in-roof panels or the classic appeal of on-roof installations, our team is here to guide you.

When it comes to solar, the importance of using properly accredited installers cannot be overstated. At Apex Doma, we pride ourselves on our industry accreditations. Our installers have undergone rigorous training and certification, equipping them with the expertise to design and install solar systems in strict compliance with industry standards and regulations. Our accreditations provide you with the assurance that your solar investment is in safe and capable hands. By selecting accredited professionals, you not only ensure the safety and efficiency of your system but also gain access to valuable warranties and incentives. With us, you can look forward to years of worry-free solar energy production and savings.

Embark on the journey towards sustainable energy today. Contact us for an exploratory conversation, and let’s unlock the full potential of solar power for your home. Together, we can pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future.