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Going Solar? First Consider Your Roofing Options. Roof with solar

Going Solar? First Consider Your Roofing Options. Roof with solar

    Going Solar? First Consider Your Roofing Options

    Being environmentally-conscious is a growing trend among homeowners and businesses alike. Finding ways to cut down on your carbon footprint, whether that’s by making your home more efficient, carpooling to work, or reducing waste, will add up to greener, healthier, and more sustainable communities.

    As environmental consciousness grows and energy continue to climb, more homeowners are looking into solar. Here in sunny Arizona, we have a unique opportunity to cash in on this abundant natural resource, making our state one of the fastest-growing places for solar deployment.

    Your roof is arguably the most critical link in the solar decision. From its general health to the considerations of different roofing materials and their suitability for solar, there’s a lot to consider.

    So whether you’re building a home from scratch, are in need of a new roof, or just want to see how compatible your current roof is with solar, read on. We’ll go over the pros and cons to different roof types and this form of renewable energy.

    Roof Health

    Before discussing solar and different roof types, it’s important to first discuss roof health. A large part of the costs associated with going solar is the installation labor. If your roof isn’t healthy before the panels go up and you find out five years later that a repair is needed, you could be on the hook for a sizable solar panel removal and reinstallation fee. A reputable solar team will be able to assess the health of your roof prior to sale. But for the most reliable assessment, a licensed roofer should be your first call before contacting a solar team. Roofing inspections are generally free.

    Foam Roofs

    Most flat roofs in Arizona utilize foam roofing for its durability, ease of installation, and overall efficiency. While most popular in commercial applications, this kind of roof is growing in the residential sector as well. The reflectivity of the white UV coating helps to keep heat from absorbing into the building, reducing electricity bills and the work load on HVAC systems.

    Solar panel installation is very simple on this kind of flat roof, but requires a tilted racking system to ensure maximum sun exposure. Because of this, the mounting hardware might cost more, but other than that the overall installation is still fairly simple.

    Flat Rolled Roofs (BUR)

    Flat rolled roofing, whether commercial or residential, is another type of roofing that is relatively simple to install solar on. This kind of roof does have a lower life expectancy, though: an average of 15 years due to sun exposure and heat. The main con to BUR roofs is the fact that it absorbs and holds heat, which usually translates to a high electric bill.

    going, solar, first, consider, your

    The good news is that there are options to help mitigate this heat absorption. Arguably the most popular option prior to installing solar is to foam over your existing one layer BUR roof or apply a coating. Coating options range from acrylic (recoat every 5 years) or silicone (recoat every 20-25 years). We recommend the silicone option since it requires less maintenance, which could help you save removal and reinstallation costs if part of your roof is covered in solar panels.

    As with flat foam roofs, the solar panels on a BUR roof will typically be installed with tilt racking to maximize sun exposure and energy production.

    Tile Roofs

    You see these roofs everywhere here in the Valley of the Sun for a variety of reasons. Tiles are resilient under the harsh Phoenix sun, their aesthetic aligns with local Southwestern preferences, and they are durable under stress from the elements. In addition, tile roofs generally absorb less heat, keeping your attic and home cooler, and they have a lifespan measured in decades, which helps to reduce the amount of worn roofing material from making its way into landfills.

    For properly trained solar installers, tiles are relatively easy to work with due to the fact that they can be easily isolated and removed to accommodate racking standoffs. But tiles offer a few challenges as well. They are significantly heavier than other materials, which can make for a slower and pricier solar installation.

    They also require special mounting hardware with special replacement tiles designed to work with the racking standoffs to ensure a secure fit while preserving the general aesthetic. Finally, the tiles can break easily if the installer isn’t carful where and how they step. For all of these reasons, make sure you do pick a reputable installer with plenty of experience on tile roofs, and a good penetration/workmanship warranty to boot. A good installer will even be able to install on clay or sandcast tiles. Asphalt Shingle Roofs

    Shingles are one of the most popular kinds of roofs due to their competitive price and numerous color options. Asphalt shingles are also one of the easiest for solar installation. If you’re looking to add an additional green element to your roof — even before you go solar —there are some roofing materials that are often manufactured from recycled or recyclable materials, which helps to reduce the environmental impact of replacing or repairing this kind of roof.

    But in our harsh Arizona heat, asphalt roofs come with a few drawbacks. When it comes to solar, they can trap heat beneath the panels, causing them to work less efficiently during our hottest seasons. A reputable solar installer will know how to set the appropriate airspace between the roof and the panel in order to provide ample ventilation for maximum generation. Heat absorption also impacts the overall temperature in your home, forcing your AC system to to work harder and driving up energy costs.

    Asphalt roofs tend to have a shorter lifespan than other roofing materials. Knowing what roofing material lasts the longest is extremely important when considering solar since you’ll likely have to pay a panel removal and reinstallation feel if a roof repair or replacement is needed down the road. And since modern solar panels are warranted for up to 30 years, with an operational lifespan well past that mark, picking a long-lasting roofing material is the best way to avoid unexpected costs down the road.

    Local Arizona Solar Installer

    If you’re looking for a reputable solar installation company, we’ve got you covered there as well. Our sister company, Sun Valley Solar Solutions, has been installing residential and commercial solar energy systems for over a decade.

    Ensuring your roof is ready for solar takes an experienced team of experts, like the ones here at Azul Roofing Solutions. If you need your roof looked at in preparation for solar, contact us today, and let’s start your roofing project.

    Roof Replacement With Solar Panels: How To Make the Most of It

    Many homeowners, when it’s time to replace their roof, wonder if solar panel roof replacement is a practical undertaking.

    Others who are looking for ways to lower their home emissions and disconnect from the energy grid, find that placing solar panels on their roof will require an upgrade.

    The reason is that some older roof structures can’t support the tracking and mounting requirements for the panel energy system.

    going, solar, first, consider, your

    So, if you’re considering solar panel roof replacement for either reason, knowing the costs involved, as well as the options you have for taking advantage of solar energy tax breaks can help you choose the type and size of the system you’ll need.

    This complete guide to solar panel roof replacement outlines how to conduct the construction so that the transition to green power will be the most cost efficient and simple as possible.

    You can calculate the number of solar panels you’ll need using this calculator:

    Do I Need To Replace My Roof for Solar Panels?

    Many homes have the structural support needed for installing solar panels on the roof.

    However, there are some situations where the need to replace your roof after installing solar panels arises. 1

    In such cases, you’ll be forced to eliminate the panels, replace the roof, and re-install them to meet their initial standard or even better.

    Among various costs incurred during the re-installation procedure include the removal charges, replacing worn-out materials with new ones, re-installation services, and storage services, especially if you don’t have personal storage spaces.

    New Roof Installation vs Repair Before Installing Solar Panels: Solar Panel Roof Replacement

    Because using solar panels can help reduce utility bills and carbon footprint, many homeowners want to install them, but the cost of replacing the roof deters them.

    Although replacing the roof can minimize the chances of solar panel roof damage and save you from constant repairs, many people think it’s not necessary for them. 4

    High-quality roofs made under stable conditions and with durable materials have a lifespan ranging between 25 and 30 years. That way, roofs around ten years of age and without a previous replacement can withstand the installation of solar panels to proceed with their lifespan.

    The move allows homeowners to enjoy more years with their original roofs and gives them time to prepare their s for a forthcoming replacement.

    For safety, allow a roofing or solar installation professional to inspect the roof before you can proceed to install the solar panels, to determine if the surfaces can withstand the procedure. 3

    Roofing experts also ascertain if the roof requires any repairs and offer crucial advice before moving on with the installation. It may be risky to install solar panels on a roof whose expiry date is approaching as it may not be strong enough for the process.

    What Is the Total Home Roofing Cost for Roof Replacement With Solar Panels?: Cost Solar Panel Roof Replacement

    As highlighted earlier, roofs with excess damage require to be repaired before solar panels can be installed on them. So, how much will the whole roof replacement cost?

    According to Forbes 2023, homeowners require a total of 6,700 to 80,000 or 11,500 to replace a roof from a standard-size house, while the average roof replacement time is 3 to 5 days. 7

    Of course, the lower amount is generally the estimate for only replacing the roofing materials (asphalt shingles, metal sheets, etc.), not the frame structure.

    A frame structure replacement will be considerably more expensive and will require much more time.

    Replacing a Roof Without Solar Panels

    The cost and number of days are not permanently fixed but vary from one home to another due to various factors, including:

    Labor refers to the manpower needed to finalize the entire solar panel’s roof replacement process, which significantly affects the cost and time taken for the process. Its cost primarily relies on the laborer and contractor’s level of skills and experience.

    The time taken to finish roof replacement with solar panels is essential. According to research, the average cost of replacing a roof with solar panels is between 2 and 7 per square foot.

    However, some contractors may promise to perform the task better and quicker than usual, and maybe at a lower price. You should always be cautious due to the rising cases of scamming and lies.

    While there are many types of roofs in the market, experts have highly recommended asphalt shingles as the best roof for solar panels due to their affordability and quality.

    Metal roofing can also serve the purpose excellently because it’s durable and resistant to hostile weather conditions. You can also find some ideal shingle roofs such as slate, tile, and cedar shake which are slightly priced higher than the above ones but offer greater services. Other roofing materials that also affect the time and cost of solar panel roof replacement include water and ice shields, ridge capping, and underlayment.

    Normally, roofs boasting a large surface usually cost more during solar panel replacement regarding the number of materials and labor required for the procedure. Additionally, those with complex designs have the same impact on the cost

    Another factor that significantly affects the cost and time consumed during solar panel roof replacement is the pitch of your roof. A sharper roof pitch will require more labor, time, and materials to construct compared to lower one

    Replacing a Roof With Solar Panels

    The above costs will cover replacing a roof without solar panels.

    (Image: Solar Energy Technologies Office 14 )

    But you will incur more costs if you already have solar panels on your roof.

    Solar Panels Removal Cost

    Don’t be surprised that you must get rid of the solar panels to replace a roof, meaning you will be solar energy-free during the entire roof replacement period. During such time, you will have to use utility grid power until the process ends.

    (Image: Energy South Carolina 15 )

    Additionally, a solar company is responsible for removing and re-installing solar panels thanks to their unmatchable skills and experience. You can also choose to go for professional roofers and solar installers alongside the main solar company to minimize the time consumed in the process. 7

    Remember to comprehensively engage the leasing company if you choose to lease the solar panels to stay in line with the contract’s regulations.

    So, how much does it cost to remove solar panels? The cost of removing solar panels from a roof usually lies between 300 and 1,000 per panel, which, however, depends on various factors, including:

    The Company You Hire

    Different companies charge different hourly rates for installing solar panels. Ensure to research comprehensively to evaluate the average charges of different companies within your town so as to prepare yourself adequately.

    While hiring cheaper companies seems like an opportunity to save yourself some pennies, remember to evaluate the quality of their skills.

    The Condition of the Panels: Is Solar Panel Repair Required?

    Normally, worn-out solar panels usually require repair before being re-installed; the cost of repair mainly depends on the degree of damage. For example, solar panels with broken glass will cost less to repair while those functioning slower than required cost more to repair as sometimes you might need to fully replace them partially or entirely.

    The Condition of the Solar System Hardware

    Damages can possibly occur to your solar panels’ hardware such as racking systems, inverters, and mounts during removal. Replacing such pieces usually adds cost to the process.

    The Weather

    The best time to re-roof or install solar panels is during the dry season or when the weather is clear. However, if damages happen during winter, there might be no other option but to repair or replace the roof or solar panels.

    (Image: Photo by Terry Thompson, U.S. Department of Energy 16 )

    In such cases, homeowners may be forced to pay more for the process than they would under favorable weather conditions.

    The Location of Your Home

    Your home’s location has a great influence on the cost of removing and re-installing solar panels. For instance, if your home is situated in risky places such as around the tropical rainforests, you may incur more than usual for the services due to the risks involved.

    Furthermore, you might be required to purchase or hire some special tools for the job, adding to the time and cost.

    The Process of Removing and Reinstalling Solar Panels

    The solar company is responsible for what follows after hiring them to remove and reinstalling solar panels. 3 However, the procedure usually involves:

    #1: Site Visit

    Removing and reinstalling solar panels starts with the solar company visiting the site to evaluate the panel and roof’s prevailing condition. During the visit, the company will estimate the time and finances required for removal and reinstallation of solar panels, possible drawbacks, and other essential information.

    You can also hire expert roofers so that they can work together with the solar company for great results. Professionals advise homeowners to liaise with their original solar company who are more familiar with the system instead of hiring new one.

    #2: Removal of the Solar System

    Removal of the solar panel commences by stopping the flow of current and disconnecting the panels from each other. After that, the laborers will progressively remove the panels from the mounted surface.

    Lastly, they’ll remove the hardware and all electric cables. At this point, the roofers can begin their work.

    #3: Making Solar Repair

    As the roofers are working on roof repairs, the solar technician should also repair the solar if necessary. How long this process usually takes depends on the extent of repairs required.

    Minor damages, such as broken glass, are easy to repair, while severe damages may require you to replace the solar panels.

    #4: Re-Installation and Review

    When the roofing is done and the solar panels have been repaired, 1 the solar company re-installs the panels on the roof. The panels can be returned in their initial position or a different one for more effective results but only if the installer recommends changes.

    After the re-installation, the solar company reviews the setup to ascertain that it’s operating properly without possible breakdowns.

    Solar Panel Maintenance Cost After Reinstallation

    Once the solar panels are back on the roof, they are easy to maintain. They only need an annual checkup by a professional to evaluate their functionality and determine underlying problems possibly triggered by factors such as solar panel damage from hail. 10

    Additionally, remember to clean occasionally to eliminate debris from dust particles and dry leaves that can otherwise deter sun rays from reaching the panels, hence minimizing the power output. When it’s rainy, the rain usually cleans the debris; therefore, you should FOCUS on the panels more during dry seasons.

    Professionally recommend an annual cleaning of solar panels for great functionality. However, if you have large trees around that shed their leaves heavily, especially on windy days, you may have to clean the panes regularly.

    In addition, solar PV power systems usually subject their owners to more regular maintenance.

    But how do you know when the system needs maintenance? You can find out by checking if the energy output matches the required power as indicated in the manufacturer’s guide.

    While you can do light maintenance like cleaning, abnormalities in the power output require a solar service expert.

    How much does solar system maintenance cost? The cost of solar system maintenance depends on various factors, including location, house height, panel condition, and system design; you might pay between 250 and 750.

    When you require the solar company to clean the panels, it will cost you an average of 15 and 35 per panel while a yearly inspection goes between 150 and 350. However, you might pay more when an inspection has an underlying issue that requires a repair or replacement to boost the system’s performance. 5

    Solar and Roofing Companies: Can You Hire One Company To Repair Roof and Remove Solar System?

    Solar panel roof replacement can be costly but very important for every home. However, sometimes financial constraints can have you wondering if professional installers are necessary for the removal and reinstallation of solar panels.

    You should unquestionably hire professional installers for solar panel removal and reinstallation. This is because they understand the complexity of the installation process and must handle the electrical connections and interconnections between panels to maximize the solar output.

    While some expert roofers can remove solar panels, and mounting systems, and disconnect the cables, they aren’t experienced with repairing or determining an underlying issue with the system. 2

    You should evaluate the roofers’ skills regarding solar panel removal and reinstallation before hiring them for the sake of your finances. You can be assured of the value of your money back through great services with professional roofers as opposed to less-skilled and cheaper ones. The professionals know how to install solar panels on roof.

    The good thing is that there are several companies in nearly every town primarily focused on roofing and solar installation. Hiring them can assure you effective results and a reduction in the solar panel replacement cost.

    Check for any company within your area and inquire about roof replacement solar panels tax credit.

    Can You Mount Solar Panels on the Ground Instead of Roof Solar Panels?

    Many homeowners choose to mount solar panels on the ground rather than above the ground as it’s cheaper when the laborers use the roofs as the foundation.

    However, this isn’t always possible, for example, some roof pitches are not ideal for solar panels.

    The idea also saves homeowners plenty of space on their property for other essentials, especially in tiny homes. 10

    (Image: Photo submitted by Chris Wingard, U.S. Department of Energy 13 )

    Even so, mounting solar panels can be a great idea if you don’t have enough space on the roof or have a large compound.

    going, solar, first, consider, your

    In fact, ground mounted panels often are able to utilize tracking systems to maximize the amount of direct sunlight. 3

    How To Replace Roof Shingles

    It’s essential to examine your roof regularly to replace damaged shingles as they can significantly impact the longevity of the roof. 5 Here is how you replace roof shingles:

    Check the corners around the shingle. Are they curled or pulled up from the roof? Check the area around them for signs of seepage. When you discover areas that have been infested by moisture, you should replace the shingles entirely.

    Intense damages call for nothing less than replacing all the shingles and re-roofing the house, although cracked or split shingles can be repaired without being eliminated. 8

    Removing shingles from a roof requires a rake-sized scraper or a huge hayfork. However, if you’re working on a tiny area, you can use smaller tools such as a pry bar by simply sliding it under the broken shingle to loosen the nails and free the shingle.

    Replacing shingles needs shingle cement or other adhesive elements (when the shingles don’t have pre-installed adhesive strips), roofing nails, and new shingles. Position a new shingle in the exact location as the previous one to replace.

    If they have adhesive strips, remove the covering, put them into place, and secure them with a nail. During the installation, lift each tab gently on the shingle to apply the cement under the surface before pressing them down to attach them.

    Solar Panels vs. Solar Shingles: Which Is Best for Roof Replacement Solar Panels?

    With all the above details regarding roof replacement before solar panel installation, you might be questioning if solar shingles are a great option for your precious home. Below is a broad discussion regarding the distinction between solar shingles and panels to enable you to evaluate which one is the best. 9


    Since solar shingles are one of the most-recent roofing technologies, installing them can be quite demanding, making them slightly more priced than their predecessors. Even so, the variation is insignificant when you’re replacing a roof and installing new solar panels.


    Experts have it that both solar shingles are less efficient compared to panels even though both work under the photovoltaic effect principle.


    You can install solar panels on any roof. You can also remove and relocate them.

    Conversely, solar shingles are made to suit sloped or tilted roofs and can hardly be eliminated to be situated elsewhere. 6


    Solar panels are bulky and not very attractive. On the other hand, solar shingles are seamless and give a roof a beautiful look which is why most people love them.

    Learning the differences between solar shingles vs. solar panels will enable you to discover which one is the most ideal for your home. It would be essential to note that both systems can last for 25 to 30 years.

    Solar Panel Roof Replacement: Solar Panels Removal and Reinstall Near Me

    Many companies are offering solar removal and reinstalling services.

    (Image: Photo by Dennis Schroeder, U.S. Department of Energy 18 )

    If you want to find one around your home, you can indicate your region when searching for the companies; for instance, solar panels removal and reinstallation companies in California.

    Can Solar Panels Replace Roof? (New Roof Installation Considerations)

    Solar panel roof requirements are about 18 square feet for each solar panel, and therefore the average size of a roof for solar panels should be 400-600 square feet. A flat-roof solar panel may be less practical compared to those installed on slanted roofs. 2

    But can solar panels replace a roof? 11 No! Solar panels cannot be used as a roof replacement, but solar shingles can because they resemble the traditional roofing system. However, they produce electricity like standard solar panels.

    Roof replacement before solar panel installation guarantees homeowners great value for their money with an extended lifespan of the roof. 12 While the re-roofing and solar panel installation costs may be substantial, you can be assured of huge savings from constant repairs in the long run.

    Understanding solar panel roof replacement options can help you make the best decision for your green energy system.

    Understanding Solar Roofs vs Solar Panels

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    • A solar panel–also called solar cell panels, solar electric panels, or photo-voltaic (PV) modules–is a group of cells that make energy from sunlight–all mounted together in a framework, called a panel. Homeowners then install these panels on top of their roof.
    • A solar roof goes a step further by using materials in the roof’s construction that can absorb sunlight directly rather than installing panels on top of an existing roof. The term “solar roof” may refer to an entire roof or just a section.

    Most people today have some familiarity with solar panels, whether on camping equipment or on rooftops. Believe it or not, the first rooftop solar panels, connected directly to a building’s roof, were installed in the late 1800s.

    The first solar roof appeared almost a century later, in 1973. Innovators at the University of Delaware integrated solar cells into the roof instead of putting them on top.

    Since then, the solar energy industry has evolved considerably. Now that we understand it as a viable, sustainable energy source, today’s consumers seek the best ways to leverage solar and other renewable sources to meet ever-increasing energy demands.

    The comparison below explains some features of solar roofs vs solar panels that can help you harness a virtually endless energy supply from the Southern California sun. It also offers some tips to help you decide which option best suits your needs.

    What is a Solar Roof?

    Simply put, the difference between a solar roof and solar panels is the relationship of whole (roof) to part (panel). Solar roofs are constructed with integrated materials that convert sunlight into electrical power, rather than placing panels on top. The integrated solar energy cells may be part of a building’s initial construction, or function as a later, post-construction upgrade.

    Homeowners may upgrade to a solar roof if they discover the original structure needs replacing, or simply because they want to save money on utility bills while simultaneously increasing their home’s value.

    While solar panel installations can look like obvious additions, solar roofs appear as seamless elements of architectural design. Homeowners concerned with improving solar energy’s aesthetics proved to be a factor in driving the industry’s growth.

    Although typically thin, solar roofs are quite durable and resilient against harsh weather. In and around San Diego, they also tend to shine, as they’re commonly made of materials like gallium, indium, selenide, and copper. Several different types of solar roofs are listed below.

    Types of Solar Roofs

    A solar metal roof looks just like those on metal buildings. They contain several layers with a solar cell layer–including tempered glass–on top. With invisible wiring or connection hardware and a variety of available colors, you can select a metal roof that complements your home’s appearance.

    This roof type features sections of solar panels that replace traditional roofs of asphalt shingles or clay tiles. Without roofing materials beneath, the solar panels interlock to keep out air, water, and debris.

    Solar shingles, which look similar to other roofing shingles, are a popular choice. Their hidden wiring and connections give them a sleek appearance. Monocrystalline shingles–made from silicon–offer the highest efficiency.

    The initial cost of installing a solar roof will likely be much more expensive than installing solar panels to cover a comparable size.

    The advantages of a solar roof include significant added home value, lower electricity bills, and rebates and/or credits. Added together, these benefits can easily outweigh your installation investment.

    Solar Panel Advantages

    Solar panels, which are more well known, have more practical advantages and lower costs than solar roofs.

    • AdjustabilityPanels can be angled to maximize insolation and energy efficiency.
    • PortabilitySolar panels can be removed and reinstalled, although this option is not usually advisable, especially if the installation company lacks sufficient experience.
    • AffordabilitySolar panel installations are typically less expensive than solar roofs, if no roof work is required. However, if you know your roof will require repairs in the near future, plan on scheduling them before installing solar panels.

    How to Choose Between a Solar Roof vs Solar Panels

    One of the main reasons homeowners choose a solar roof instead of solar panels–once they have confirmed that solar panels will work on their roof–is their aesthetic appeal.

    While choosing between solar roofs vs solar panels can be difficult, answering the questions using the table below can help you make the best selection.

    Will you need roof repair soon (i.e. less than 1-3 years)?
    Is portability of your solar system a consideration?
    Is it important that your solar system does not look like an add-on?
    Is energy efficiency (maximum energy for the least roof coverage) your primary concern?
    Is durability the most important consideration?
    Is minimizing the overall cost of your installation most important?
    Do you have metal siding on your home?

    These suggestions weigh the strengths and weaknesses of both options to help you decide when to consider installing a solar roof, solar panels, or both.

    Before committing to any kind of solar installation, make sure to consult with an experienced company that can give you specific, detailed answers about using solar energy sources. You need a company that can obviously perform the installation to the highest standards, but will also be there to support you in the future.

    Baker Electric Home Energy has served the Southern California area for over 15 years and provided clean energy solutions to more than 17,000 of your neighbors. Our way of doing business, The Baker Way®, which includes delivering extraordinary service and building customer confidence, is exemplified by being awarded the Torch Award for 2021. For more information on whether to go with solar roofs vs solar panels, contact us.

    What Is the Best Roof for Solar Panels?

    If you’re looking to acquire solar panels, your first step is to determine whether your roof is suitable for a solar panel system. And if you plan to use solar panels on a home you’re building, roof design should be on your mind as well.

    Either way, roofing styles and materials come in many different types. Understanding how these factors influence solar panel installations can be challenging.

    At Freedom Solar, we’ll give you insights about which roofs work best for solar panels. When you know the best roof for solar panels at your home, you’ll make sure your system stays stable and secure for optimal performance.

    What Type of Roof Is Best for Solar Panels?

    Many types of roofs work great for solar panels, but here are the top types to choose from.

    Mounting Solar Panels on Shingle Roofs

    Shingle roofs are the most common type of roofing on homes and comprise either composite or asphalt shingles. Composite shingles are made of a combination of materials, such as laminate, wood and slate. Asphalt shingles are made of either a cellulose mat or fiberglass, with asphalt added at the end of the manufacturing process.

    While both options are flexible, composite shingles are a bit more durable than their asphalt counterpart.

    Overall, installing solar panels on shingle roofs is quite simple, requiring standard penetrating mounts that easily attach.

    For installation, technicians drill studs into the roof for the solar panels to attach to. Then, they close off the spaces between the panels and studs. Finally, they seal the system with flashings to prevent water from leaking between the roof and panels — and potentially into your home.

    Many homeowners (or homebuilders) use shingle roofing because it’s inexpensive and durable. In fact, shingle roofing lasts between 12 and 20 years, which makes it great for attaching solar panels that you’ll likely keep on your roof for decades.

    Mounting Solar Panels on Metal Roofs

    Metal roofs work great for solar panel installations. If your home has a metal roof with standing seams, technicians can easily attach solar panels because they don’t require any drilling for attachment. And because there’s no need for drilling, there’s no need to hire contractors or crews, which saves you labor costs during the home solar panel installation process.

    Additionally, metal roofs are beneficial on homes and businesses in sunny, warm areas — such as Texas, Colorado and Florida. That’s because metal roofs reflect any light that doesn’t hit solar panels, which keeps houses and buildings cooler.

    One of the main reasons that people choose metal roofing for their homes is because of its impressive life cycle. A metal roof can last anywhere from 40 to 125-plus years.

    On the downside, metal roofs are about two to three times more expensive than other roofing materials and can be noisy during inclement weather. Luckily, if you have solar panels on your home, the panel system blocks some of the noise.

    Mounting Solar Panels on Tile Roofs

    If you have a tile roof, technicians can install solar panels using a standard penetrating mount that raises them slightly above the roof. Because tiles don’t always have uniform shapes, cutting or removing some tiles might be necessary to make way for mounts. In turn, this effort can result in extra labor costs.

    Tile shingles can be made of slate, concrete and clay. Installing solar panels on clay tile presents some hurdles that aren’t present with standard shingle roofs.

    For one, how you move across the roof itself is radically different. Clay tile is highly resilient to the elements, but it’s not so resilient to installation teams’ footsteps. However, Freedom Solar is meticulous when servicing this market — we’re well trained on moving across clay roofs without breaking tiles.

    Although tiled roofs are visually pleasing because they have more range in appearance, they’re typically heavier and more expensive than other roofing materials. (Granted, they’re not as expensive as metal roofs.) Nonetheless, they’re long-lasting and generally more waterproof than other roofing types.

    Tile roofing is widespread in California and Arizona, and it’s growing in popularity nationwide. For example, in areas like Central Texas, preferences are changing alongside spiking population rates.

    Mounting Solar Panels on Tar and Gravel Roofs

    Although most tar and gravel rooftops are flat (some sloped roofs use tar and gravel), you can still install solar panels on them. However, you’ll need to ensure technicians mount and angle your solar panel system at 30 degrees with tilt brackets. This guarantees your panels receive optimal sunlight for energy generation.

    And even though working on flat roofs is easy, you should still consider hiring a labor crew or contractor to mount and orient your solar panel system. This is doubly true if you’re inexperienced with the installation process.

    Many homeowners like tar and gravel rooftops because they’re budget-friendly and have about a 20- to 25-year life span. Plus, they have tight seals to prevent cracks and leaks and provide a strong, flat support surface for your solar panel system.

    What Is the Best Roof Angle for Solar Panels?

    Ultimately, the best roof angle for solar panels is about 30 degrees to maximize energy output. However, that doesn’t mean solar panels won’t work for roofs with steeper or flatter slopes.

    For optimal solar panel performance, you’ll want to add 15 degrees to your latitude in the winter, then tilt the solar panel system to whatever that number is. For the summer, subtract 15 degrees from your latitude and angle the solar panel system accordingly.

    Can a Roof Be Too Steep for Solar Panels?

    Most roofs aren’t extremely steep. Even if yours is, your solar panels will likely still function well enough to produce enough energy for your home. Although the ideal roof angle is about 30 degrees, if your roof tilt is at 40 degrees, this decreases energy generation by only about 1%.

    Any roof that’s over 40 degrees is probably too steep. If full energy independence is your goal, then a solar panel system might not be a feasible addition to your home.

    Solar Panels on Flat Roofs

    You can find solar panels just as easily on flat rooftops as on sloped rooftops.

    The solar panel installation process for flat roofs is usually much simpler than it is for sloped roofs because it’s easier to move around. And that means the installation process is quicker.

    Solar installations on flat roofs don’t need the penetration mounts that sloped roofs need for the system to stay secure. Alternatively, technicians use weighted mounting systems (aka ballast systems) for flat roofs, which don’t require drilling into the roof. This type of system eliminates the need for holes and uses gravity to ensure your solar panel system is stable.

    However, because flat roofs clearly don’t have an angle, technicians use tilt-up brackets to keep your system angled at 30 degrees.

    What Is the Best Direction for Solar Panels on Roofs?

    The best direction for solar panels is south. But if your roof doesn’t face south, you can angle solar panels southeast or southwest.

    Depending on which hemisphere you live in, this answer could be the opposite. For people in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun travels along the southern part of the sky as the Earth orbits throughout the year, so your solar panels need to face south. Similarly, people in the Southern Hemisphere need to angle solar panels north (or northeast or northwest).

    How Much Roof Space Is Needed for Solar Panels?

    The roof space you need for solar panels fully depends on your solar panel type and manufacturer, your home’s size and how much electricity you generally use daily.

    For example, 1 square foot of roof space can generate around 15 watts of solar energy with an average-sized solar panel. A smaller home might need only 200 square feet of roof space for panels. However, larger homes would need more solar panels — and thus more roof space (about 1,000 square feet) — to keep the lights on.

    If you use a lot of electricity, you’ll likely need more roof space to accommodate more solar panels to meet your power requirements.

    Generally speaking, average homes use from 19 to 23 solar panels, with each panel needing up to 18 square feet of space. Your roof should have about 400 to 600 square feet of available space. Plus, consider any skylights, dormers or chimneys that might decrease your total usable roof space.

    Roof Strength Requirements for Solar Panels

    Solar panels and their required mounting equipment, whether penetration or weight mounts, typically weigh 3 to 4 pounds per square foot. Usually, this weight is acceptable for any roof type.

    However, solar panels with weighted ballasts on flat roofs generally weigh a bit more because concrete blocks hold the system in place.

    As long as your home has a fairly new roof that’s in decent condition, weighted ballasts are a fine solution. That’s especially true if you have SunPower solar panels. SunPower offers the lightest solar panels in the industry, at about 33 pounds per panel.

    Are Solar Panels Bad for Your Roof?

    Solar panels aren’t bad for your roof, but you should consider some factors, especially during the installation process. Because drilling is necessary to secure panels to the roof, the process leaves holes that could lead to water leaks over time.

    Solar professionals can ensure installation avoids long-term damage to your roof — and ultimately to your home. Because solar panel systems have a 30- to 35-year life cycle, it’s important that technicians install your panels correctly the first time around!

    And while drilled holes in your roof never seem appealing, numerous safety measures help ensure drilling won’t result in any damage. We’ll tell you a bit about the process.

    First, technicians use drilled holes for lag bolts, which secure the solar panel system’s mounting rack. To avoid water leakage, technicians fill the holes with a sealant. Then, they surround the lag bolts with metal or plastic flashings — a sort of shield that fits under whatever roof tile type you have. Finally, they seal the flashings air-tight with either tar or another durable material to ensure your roof doesn’t suffer damage or seepage.

    Solar Panel Design Considerations: How To Get the Best-Looking Solar Panels

    If you’re worried that solar panels might make your home look … not as appealing as you’d like, remember that you have options!

    For example, black shingles typically look best with solar panels. Although black absorbs sunlight, which can make your home feel a bit warmer, darker roofs help blend the appearance of solar panels so that they don’t drastically stand out.

    At Freedom Solar, we offer SunPower solar panels in varying options. That said, their signature black aesthetic features all-black solar cells and antireflective glass, which look chic and sleek on any roof type.

    And the benefits go beyond aesthetics. Whatever type of roof or solar panels you have, they’re a good look because they represent your character, values and commitment to sustainability.

    Contact Freedom Solar for Your Solar Panel Needs

    To learn more about solar panels or the installation process for your home or business, contact Freedom Solar today! Call us at (877) 795-0577, or submit an online inquiry. We’re ready to help you go solar anytime.

    Freedom Solar also has it’s own solar panel repair and maintenance service department if needed. Our experienced team can maintain, repair and upgrade any system for maximum energy production and efficiency

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