When considering attaching your solar panels to your tile roof just remember how fragile and brittle tile can be. Tile is great for protecting against the elements but up against weight? Not so much. That being said you probably want to hire a professional to avoid costly damages, at least if the roofers break your tile they have to replace it.
Once you’ve hired your professional they are going to do an inspection of your roof and the underlayment to check for any damages or deterioration. This may require access to your attic to further assess the condition of the roof. Once the assessment is complete it is time to begin work.
The thing about tile that complicates the job is that the roof must be drilled into to attach each mounting bracket for the solar panels. However, you don’t want to drill into tile for fear of breaking it. Even if you are successful in drilling through it you still run a high risk of leaks. Now if you insist you could risk it at your own expense. This may increase your overall cost of installation as well due to the additional labor required.
There are alternatives for you though. One of which is to use what is called tile replacement flashing. They are aluminum makeshift tiles made to replicate whichever kind of tile you have on your roof so they worked with all standard flat and curved tile roofs including S-shaped and W-shaped tiles. They are precut so that eliminates the time and risk of tile grinding and cutting. Your installer will drill into your roof to attach mounting brackets to the studs and then seal the area just as they normally would on any other job. The benefit of tile replacements is that they provide more protection against leaks and you will still be able to maintain the look of your roof. The tiles removed by the roofer can also be used to repair any tiles that may be damaged on your roof, or stored for later use.
You may be cringing at the thought of removing your expensive, beautiful tiles, but this is honestly your best overall option. These replacement aluminum tiles actually blend right into the pattern with the rest of your tiles. More importantly, this method protects the condition of your tile roof, preserves the beautiful appearance and provides for a job that will last the years.
Another option you could also consider would be a ground-mounted solar panel system. However, this would consume a lot of space and may cost more to install because require underground wiring and digging to stabilize panels. You would also have to check with your homeowner’s association to ensure they don’t have any restrictions in place for ground-mounted systems. Just something else to consider if you are deterred from installing the system on your tile roof.