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Can You Put Solar Panels on a Metal Roof? [Is it a Good Idea?]

Tim Carter
Written by Tim Carter Last Updated: June 19, 2022

Many people wonder if solar panels can be installed on their roofs without hurting the roof itself. Can you put solar panels on a metal roof? Is it a good idea? Can metal roofs hold all the solar equipment with no problems?

The best kind of roof for solar panels is a standing-seam metal roof. The standing seam metal roof solar panel installation is cheaper and easier because the solar system doesn’t need to be drilled into the roof.

There are different ways to put solar panels on roofs.

The material and pitch of your roof will determine how the shingles are attached.

Solar panels are usually attached to the roof with a system that drills into the rafters.

Standing seam metal roofs are the exception to this rule.

Table of Contents

How To Attach Solar Panels To Roofs?

There are different ways to install solar panels on roofs depending on the material the roof is made of. Let’s check them out.

Asphalt Shingle Roof

Solar panels are easily attached to asphalt shingle roofs with a standard penetrating mount.

Tile Roof

Solar panels can be put on tile roofs with a standard mount that goes through the roof and lifts the panels up. If you want to put solar panels on a tile roof, you may have to cut or remove some tiles to make room for the mounts.

Standing Seam Metal Roof

The raised metal seam makes it possible to attach solar panels with a clamp instead of drilling holes in the roof.

Flat Roof

Solar panels can be put up on flat roofs with either a ballasted rack or a standard penetrating mount. Solar panels are installed at a 30-degree angle with the help of tilt-up brackets.

Some people might worry about drilling holes in their roofs.

But the stanchions used to attach panels to rafters are flashed, which keeps water from getting into your home.

What Type of Roofs Are Not Good For Solar Panels?

Wood and slate are two types of roofs that are not good for solar.

These roofing materials are fragile, so solar panel installers cannot just walk around on the roof like they normally can and should.

This makes the installation process harder for them and, because of that, more expensive.

Putting solar panels on a roof with wooden shingles is also risky because it could start a fire.

Is Putting Solar Panels on A Metal Roof A Good Idea?

Metal roofs are good places to put solar panels for several reasons, such as durability of the roof and the mount, sustainability, solar panel type flexibility, and resilience to winds. Besides, metal roofs are one of the most energy-efficient roofing materials.

Durability

The life of an average solar panel is between 25 and 40 years so the life expectancy of your roof needs to be longer than the life expectancy of solar panels.

Metal roofs are long-lasting (can last for up to 60 years), which makes the investment cost-effective. Just make sure that your metal roof can last as long as the solar panels you want to install.

Energy Efficiency

Metal roofs painted to reflect light keep your house cool in the summer.

What makes solar panels great on such roofs is that you will use even less energy to control the temperature inside.

Sustainability

Metal roofs are made of recycled materials, which helps the environment in the long run. By installing metal roofs, we use recycled materials and help eliminate pollution.

Can Accommodate Different Solar Panel Types

You can use any type of a solar panel on a metal roof, including solar roof tiles and solar laminates.

Resilience To High Winds

When attached the right way, the metal roof keeps solar panels securely in place, which makes the solar array resilient to strong winds.

What to Look Out for When Installing Solar Panels?

The Tilt Of A Roof

Many people claim that a 30-degree angle is the best for a solar panel, but a 40-degree tilt may cut energy production by 1% when compared to a tilt of 30 degrees.

But a slope of over 40 degrees is likely too steep.

A big worry with steep roofs is that contractors might not install the panels safely.

Solar panels can be put up even if your roof is flat, but a solar installer will have to use brackets to tilt the panels to a certain degree, which can cost a little more.

How installers put solar panels on a flat roof depends on what is on top of the roof, such as tar and gravel, PVC, etc.

Roof Size and Shape

Your roof may or may not be good for solar panels, depending on its shape and size.

In the US, the average home solar system is 5 kilowatts, which needs at least 300 square feet of roof space.

The best shape roof to install solar panels is a large, square roof because it makes installation easy.

Since roofs can be almost any shape and size, you can cover talk to a contractor who can look at your roof and tell you if solar panels would work and how much of the roof surface should be covered with panels.

The Position of the Roof

Solar panels work best in the northern hemisphere when they are facing south.

You can find out which way your house faces by looking up your address on a site like Google Maps. This will tell you which way is south and how your house’s orientation compares.

Even if your house is not built so that it can face south, you can still have a lot of success with panels that face southwest or southeast, especially if you get a lot of sunlight.

Solar panels can also work less well if there is a lot of shade around your roof.

In some cases, you cannot remove the shade. For example, you cannot do much if other buildings block the sun from your house. If your roof does not get much sun, solar panels might not be a good choice for you.

However, you can eliminate some sources of shade such as big trees on your property, that block the sun from reaching your roof. You can cut them down or trim them.

Talk to your roofer if you are not sure if the shade will be a problem for your roof.

Ask if any trees or other things around your house might make it hard for solar panels to work well on your roof.

What Effect Do Solar Panels Have on a Roof?

You do not have to worry about solar panels hurting your roof, and you can even expect them to protect your roof.

Solar panels are like armor for your roof because they protect it from the weather.

Since your roof is protected from UV light, rain, hail, and other things that cause wear, it should last longer than it would if it wasn’t.

The panels will also keep your attic from getting hot because they will cover your roof.

According to a study, the ceiling of a building with solar panels installed on the roof is five degrees cooler on average when compared to the ceiling of a building without solar panels.

If you shade the inside of your home, your air conditioner will not have to work as hard to cool it down. This can save you even more money on your energy bills.

As with any kind of contracting work, do everything you can to make sure your solar panels are installed correctly.

Most of the time, problems like leaking only happen when the job is not done right.

Use a licensed contractor.

How To Improve the Energy Efficiency of My Home?

If you do not want to install solar panels but still want to improve the energy efficiency of your home, ask us about installing new doors and windows.

This could help you save money on your energy bills and reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

And if you want solar panels, you should still think about getting new windows and doors to make your home as energy-efficient as possible.

Final Thoughts

The best kind of roof for a solar panel installation is a standing-seam metal roof.

Putting solar panels on a metal roof is a great idea.┬áThe whole installation is cheaper and easier because solar installers don’t need to drill into the roof.

Even if your roofer helps you get ready for solar panels, the people who install them must have the experience and skills to do a good job and not damage your roof.

Even a small dent in your roof could void your warranty because it could affect how well your roof works in the long run.

Ask your contractor if they can guarantee that your roof will not get damaged while installing solar panels, which will keep your warranty valid.

Author

Tim Carter
Tim Carter

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