What is the best roof type for solar panels?

The type of roof you have could be crucial in ensuring optimal solar panel performance.

Do solar panels work on every roof?

Yes, solar panels do work on every roof type, however, the effectiveness of the panels will vary significantly depending on the type. Here is a quick rundown of the three most common roof types in Australian.

Which roof type is best for solar?

All of the roof types listed above have strengths and weaknesses for solar panels, none is perfect, but all are very good. A hip roof will give you two options for panel placement, but may also result in some shading during the day, a Skillion roof will give you maximum exposure, but could result in complete shading at certain times during the day. A flat roof will work ideally, but solar panels will need to be placed on tilted frames to increase effectiveness. As is often the case, a specialist solar installer or energy consultant will be able to advise you specifically on your roof type, your location and your panel requirements, so it is always advised to check with a professional in your area.

Name Description Diagram
Hip roof The classic roof type has two slopes that meet at a high point in the centre of the roof to form a kind of triangle shape. Very common in Australia. hip-end
Skillion roof A Skillion roof has a single flat surface that slopes down from one side of the house to the other. skillion-roof
Flat roof Should be self explanatory really, flat roofs are roofs that are flat. flat-roof

I’ve heard that flat roofs are less effective, is this true?

Solar panels are far less effective when they are placed on a flat roof. In fact, it’s been estimated that they may be as much as 50% less effective than correctly tilted panels. This is because of the changing position of the sun throughout the day and the angle at which the sunlight hits your panels. However, a flat roof has also an incredibly simple solution. A mount or tilt frame will be used beneath your solar panels, which will give them the tilt needed to optimise performance. The frame is discrete and lightweight, and even though it will add more expense to your installation it will be worth it for its performance enhancement.

Back to top

What if my roof is old?

Ideally, solar panels should be installed on a sturdy roof, with minimal damage or wear. If your roof has broken tiles, structural wear, or any other damage your installation could be complicated and more expensive. Your solar installer will be able to inspect your roof and tell your more about its suitability or whatever problems you may face.

One of the great strengths of solar panels is how it is possible to customise your system to suit your needs.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

More energy guides

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site