Solar power roofs have become instrumental in eco-friendly initiatives. They’re emerging on residential and commercial properties alike, and for a good reason. Read on to learn if a solar power roof is suitable for your building.
What Is a Photovoltaic Roof?
Photovoltaic roofs, also known as PV panels, are clean, renewable energy sources. PV panels are placed on rooftops and angled toward the sun. Photovoltaic panels use sunlight to convert photons into electricity. Photons are particles that represent a quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation from the sun, and they convert sunlight into electricity—substantial enough to provide continuous power to the entire building.
What Are the Benefits of a Photovoltaic Roof?
Photovoltaic roofs have become the most practical and beneficial means of naturally sourced energy instead of fossil fuels like coal and oil.
A PV roof installation boosts environmental efforts and looks modern and attractive. PV roofing systems are versatile and available in smaller shingles and larger panels or fixtures. Buyers can decide what kind they prefer based on their style and building requirements.
As mentioned earlier, PV roofing systems help our environment tremendously since the building relies more on UV rays. Because the building gets most of its energy from sunlight, it helps preserve the earth’s resources. A PV roof installation eliminates pollution significantly. PV roofing systems can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 85,000 pounds annually.
Since PV roofing systems rely less on traditional electricity, they save you money on utility bills. They’re money-savers in the long run since they offer a great return on investment. Federal, state, and local governments provide tax incentives and rebates since solar power roofs are much better for the environment. Utility companies offer net energy metering programs that help people save money on their monthly bills.
Whether you choose solar panel tiles or install large reflective fixtures on your existing roof, it lets current and potential customers know you care about the environment. They’re backed by the roofing industry and known for their eco-friendly capabilities. Additionally, your sustainability efforts look great for your organization, increasing its support system.
Energy-saving initiatives help everyone in the world in one way or another. Solar and traditional roofing has their pros and cons; however, photovoltaic shingles provide several advantages that outnumber their drawbacks.
Don’t Stress About Roofing Options
If you’re unsure whether to install solar shingles or leave your roof as is, we’ll guide you to the best decision.
ROOFCORP’s Photovoltaic Roof Installation Saves Money and the Environment
ROOFCORP realizes property owners must take on many responsibilities. Every building-related decision must consider the comfort and safety of its occupants, as well as what’s best for your budget. We urge you to partner with us, especially if you’re moving toward sustainable roofing. Our team specializes in photovoltaic roof installation and adding solar panels to existing structures.
Don’t let expenses keep you from switching to solar. We assure you we can assist with lowering the costs by leading you to the incentives available to California and Washington property owners. ROOFCORP believes energy efficiency and building a cleaner, healthier world for generations to come is more important now than ever before. Becoming a greener company with plenty of additional money is possible with ROOFCORP.
We begin with a comprehensive roof inspection. After your project is complete, we offer ongoing roof maintenance to make sure your investment lasts for decades—rest assured, with ROOFCORP, you’re covered from every direction. Give us a call today, and move forward with your new roofing journey.
A Guarantee of Quality
Founded in 1985, ROOFCORP has always adhered to the highest standards of workmanship, materials, and professionalism. We are dedicated to safety and training, we never rely on subcontractors, and we stand by every project and every repair.
License Information: WA: ROOFCWI007Q1 OR: 204249 CA: 803718
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Roof Mounts for Solar Panels
A solar panel roof mount (also called a solar racking mount or solar system mount) will hold your solar panels and system in place. The mounting system is a crucial component because it is responsible for securing and stabilizing the solar panels on your roof without compromising the roof’s stability or water tightness.
You want to be completely confident that you have selected a mounting system that can stand up to harsh weather and other factors. Your roof mount is one of the most important ways to protect your investment in solar energy.
The Rundown on Solar Racking: Everything You Need to Know
Solar racking is an essential part of any solar energy system. It is the system that holds the solar panels in place on your roof and ensures they are secure and stable. If you’re considering installing a solar energy system for your home, it’s important to understand the basics of solar racking and how it works. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with an overview of what solar racking is and the different types of solar racking systems available. We’ll also discuss how to choose the best system for your needs.
Solar racking, also known as PV racking. is the process of mounting solar panels to a structure. This can be a roof, a ground-mounted system or even a pole mount. Solar racking involves choosing and installing the components and systems needed to support and secure your solar array. The type of racking system you need will vary depending on the size and design of your solar array and the installation location. Solar racking systems are designed to withstand different environmental conditions, including wind, rain and snow. They must also provide an adequate amount of support and stability to ensure your solar array remains in place.
- Roof Mounting
- Ground Mounting
- Side of Pole Mounting
- Top of Pole Mounting
Roof mounts are the most common type of PV racking and can be mounted directly onto your roof or onto an independent racking structure. Depending on the roof type and size, different mounting systems may need to be used, such as clamping, ballasting, and rail systems. In addition, roof mount systems can also be adjusted to accommodate different roof pitches and tilt angles. which helps maximize the performance of your solar system.
Which Solar Panel Roof Mount Solutions are Best?
altE offers the following high quality solar panel mounting and racking solutions from top brands:
IronRidge Roof Mounting System
IronRidge is well known for its XR Rails, which are used for their roof mounting systems and ground mounting systems as well. IronRidge offers an easy-to-use Design Assistant tool to help you list out which parts you need for your racking system.
For their roof mounting system, you will need to:
1) Choose your XR Rail:
XR10 Rail Select Clear: 14′, 17′
- Low-profile rail- no snow areas
- Up to 6′ spanning capability
- Light/Moderate load capability
XR100 Rail Select Clear: 11′, 14′, 17’Select Black: 11′, 14′,17′
- Std. residential mounting rail
- Up to 8′ spanning capability
- Heavy load capability
XR1000 Rail Select Clear: 11′, 14′, 17′
- Heavyweight mounting rail
- Up to 12′ spanning capability
- Extreme load capability
Need Splices? Select: XR10, XR100, XR1000
- Use internal splices for a seamless, bonded connection that extends rail length
And Endcaps? Select: XR10, XR100, XR1000
- Endcaps provide a finished look to rails, while protecting the collection of water and debris inside the rail
2) Choose the appropriate Clamps Grounding:
Midclamps Select: Clear, Black
- Universal Fastening Object UFO
- Bonds the modules to the rails
Endclamps Shop: Stopper Sleeves or CAMO
- Stoppers snap onto a UFO
- Turns into a bonded endclamp
- Sized to module frame width
- NEW- CAMO Universal Endclamp fits all modules
Grounding Shop: Lugs and Straps
- Only one grounding lug per row
- Microinverter bonding kit
- Grounding strap for rows over 50ft
3) Lastly, don’t forget your Attachments:
Flashing Select: Mill, Black
- FlashVue. superior waterproofing
- Conduit Mount for flashing conduit, strut, or junction boxes
- Bonding hardware sold separately
Slotted L-Feet Select: Mill, Black
- Drop-in design for Rapid and secure rail attachment
- Bonding hardware sold separately
Tilt Mounts Shop: Tilt Leg Kits
- Tilt Mounts for flat roofs
Tamarack Flush Roof Mount System Kits
Tamarack Solar offers economical and robust mounting kits that are UPS-able. They also produce ground mounts, top-of-pole mounts, and side-of-pole mounts. Their roof mount kits consist of:
- All the parts needed for a 4- or 8-panel roof mount installation. all in one UPS-able kit
- Easy wire management where all system wiring fits inside the rails
- Universal clamps that fit a variety of solar panel frame thicknesses, from 30mm to 40mm
- Different kit versions for light to heavy snow/wind loads
Solar Stack Adhesive Roof Mount System
Check out the rail-less and roof penetration-free flush and tilt mount option from Solar Stack that uses a polyurethane foam that adheres to both a huge variety of roof types and the strictest building codes in North America. This mounting system is ideal in wet climates and is rated to withstand conditions even in High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZs) such as South Florida and Puerto Rico.
- No roof penetrations
- No rails needed. panels attach directly to mounts
- No mechanical attachments or ballast systems needed
- Simply prime, spray foam, and place mounts
- Use 12 mounts in coastal areas and other wind zones
Flashing and L-Feet
IronRidge Roof Mount Rails
Solar Stack Adhesive Roof Mounts
Tamarack Solar Roof Mounts
Info on Roof Mounts for Solar Panels
A roof mounting system may require the following items:
- Rails. to provide a platform for mounting the modules
- Splices. to connect rails as needed
- Mid clamps. to be located between each module
- End clamps. to secure the end of last module
- L-feet or standoff. to secure the rail to the roof
- Flashing. to prevent water leakage
- Grounding lugs. to run the grounding wire
What Are Solar Panel Mounting Rails?
Solar Panel Mounting Rails are a metal rail that protect solar panels against buckling while safely and efficiently transferring loads from the ground up into the structure. Solar panels experience countless extreme weather conditions throughout their lifetimes. High winds capable of tearing off roofs and snow falls heavy enough to bend metal frames are two weather examples your solar panels may have to deal with.
Their superior spanning capability means they require fewer roof attachments, which reduces the number of roof penetrations and the amount of installation time.
Why You Need Clamps Grounding
Clamps. The module clamps connect the roof attachments to the mounting rail. There are several different types of clamps for each angle and corner on the solar panels.
- For mid clamps. the number of mid clamps required is equal to one fewer than the number of modules on each row.
- For end clamps. four are required for each row as end clamps are going to be attached to both ends of each of the two rails.
Grounding. It’s extremely important to ground your solar panels and your equipment when you’re installing a solar power system. If you experience a lot of lightning storms in your area, grounding your solar system could help prevent damage to your system. Furthermore, the NEC requires that all equipment be electrically bonded and connected to the grounding system to ensure the safety of anyone that might come in contact with a dangerous fault current.
Finding The Right Mounts for Your Solar Panel Installation
Still unsure about which mounting option is right for your project? At altE, our team is always happy to help – and with our extensive expertise, we can recommend options for even the most complex or unusual of setups. Call us today for a free quote for roof mounts for your solar system at 877-878-4060.
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altE 330 Codman Hill Road Boxborough, MA 01719
The Best Roof Materials for Solar Panels – 5 Common Materials
Solar can be installed on just about any roof type. However, there are certain materials on which solar panels can’t — or shouldn’t — be installed. So that begs the question, what’s the best roof material for solar panels?
In this article, we’ll review five different materials to see which one makes the best roof for solar panels.
Best roof materials for solar
This is the most common, and perhaps best, roof material on which to install solar panels. Because composite shingles are so common, this roof type offers the widest range of options for equipment and installers. This reduces the need for specialized solar equipment and labor, and reduce your overall project costs.
Pictured on the far left in the feature image above, composite shingles — aka asphalt shingles — are made from a fiberglass or cellulose mat. Asphalt and other minerals are then added to the shingle to produce the final product.
Composite shingles are often the most affordable roofing type and come in many colors. Most come with a standard 30-year warranty, although they should only be expected to last 15-25, depending on conditions and care.
If your composite roof is older than 15 years or starting to show major signs of wear, solar installers will likely recommend re-shingling before installing solar panels. Even so, composite shingles are often considered the best material on which to install solar panels.
Tile roofing is another very common roof type in the Western US that can be found in almost any neighborhood. Tiles, themselves, can be made of different materials, and that is why it is important to accurately determine what materials your tiles are made out of before proceeding.
Roof tile materials include:
- Synthetic cedar
The material type can impact the cost of your solar project. For example, installing solar panels on clay tiles may be more expensive than installing on concrete tiles.
When a solar panel array is installed on a tile roof, they will need to be attached to brackets that will lift the panels above the roof. The distance that the panels must be raised will be dependent on the material itself, and the cost is also affected based on what material the tiles are.
Most installers, especially in warmer climates, are familiar with and comfortable working on tile roofs. However, it may be harder to find an installer to work on a tile roof in the northern parts of the US where they are less common.
Here’s how a solar system looks on a tile roof:
Metal Standing Seam
Metal roofing with standing seams is one of the best roof material for the installation of solar panels. The standing seams on these roofs make the attachment of the panel array incredibly easy, and with easier installation comes a cheaper cost.
You also do not have to drill any holes into your roof with this roof type. Some of the other benefits of metal roofing are that, by itself, it is already more eco-friendly. They are often made out of recycled materials and are durable enough to last for over 30 years.
Metal roofs with standing seams can allow you to install both thin film and standard PV panels. These roof types also reflect a significant amount of sunlight where it is not being absorbed by the solar panel, which leads to a cooling effect that can increase the efficiency of your system.
Tar and Gravel
For homes that have a flat roof, it is very likely that they will be of the tar and gravel roof type (second from the right in the feature image). Tar and gravel roofs are made out of layers of sheets that are attached with hot tar and roofing felt. There are some other mineral coatings added, as well. Because these are flat rooftops, they may require additional brackets that can be tilted at the 30-degree angle.
This is very simple to do, but it will be more expensive than installing on a tilted roof or with a different material. Nevertheless, tar and gravel is still a very viable roof material for the installation of solar panels.
The last roof type that you will see commonly throughout neighborhoods are wooden roofs. Wooden roof types can include shingles at an angle or may be completely flat, so the specifics will be dependent on the way the roof is structured.
In any case, a wooden roof is not viable for solar panels because of fire safety concerns. Therefore, wood is not the best material for solar panels.
The best materials for solar panels
Rooftop solar equipment and installers have come a long way in recent years and most roof materials are suitable for solar panels.
With that said, the best roof material is anything that will keep your solar panels secure for their 25-warrantied life or longer. While there may be minor advantages for one material over another, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. The important thing is to get a system installed so you can start saving money and generating clean energy.
All Things Roof FAQ’s
What is an ideal roof for solar panels?
In most cases a composite asphalt shingle roof, facing south with enough space for placement of your entire system would be the best. Although, in most parts of the country as long as you have space on your roof and you get ample sunlight, solar is viable on most roof types except wood shake.
What is the best roof design for solar?
The answer is pretty straightforward, a large square roof is ideal for a simple solar system install. Roofs with lots of tiers, chimneys, skylights, pipes, and very little extended spaces, create lots of challenges for system design and installation.
What type of roof is not good for solar panels?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you have a wood roof your options are limited. These roofs will disqualify you from installers, although you still have the option to reroof or look into ground mount solar installations.
What if my roof is old?
If your roof is too old or worn down, it’s best to replace it before installing solar panels. Some installers offer both services, which can bring down the cost by combining the projects.
If your roof is older, but not at the stage of replacement, you can still install the system. However, you’ll likely end up paying for the labor to un-install and re-install the system when you do end up replacing the roof. This cost isn’t typically welcome when you’re already paying for a new roof.
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