Man working on solar panels

How Do I Know If My Roof Is Suitable for Solar Panels?

Photovoltaic systems are rising in popularity as the prices of solar panels come down. Who doesn't want to generate free, renewable energy that often comes with tax breaks and other incentives? While installing a photovoltaic system is an excellent idea for most homeowners, some homes are less suitable for solar panel installations than others. Here are three things to consider before installing a photovoltaic system on your roof.

#1 Type of Roof

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your roof's size, shape, and slope make it more or less suitable for solar panels. A roof's material and style may impact its suitability for solar panels.

Which Type of Roof Is Best for Solar Panels?

Asphalt shingles and standing-seam metal roofs are the best for solar panels. Additionally, photovoltaic systems that are installed on 15-degree slopes on south-facing roofs collect the most solar energy.

Which Type of Roof Is Not Best for Solar Panels?

Installing solar panels on clay tile and cedar shake roofs require special modifications and fittings. While experienced solar installers can outfit these roofs with photovoltaic systems, the process is more difficult. More complex photovoltaic system installations cost homeowners more money. Additionally, some homes are custom built with great architectural roofing details, which include many small roof facets. Unfortunately, large, rectangular solar panels don't fit well on these roofs.

#2 Age of Roof

The life expectancy of roofs varies by materials.

How Long Do Different Roofing Materials Last?

  • Roofing contractors say that the average asphalt shingle roof lasts between 15 and 20 years.
  • Wood shingle roofs last an average of 40 years.
  • Clay tile and metal roofs can be expected to give up to 50 years of service.

If your roof is at the end of its useful life, you have some options.

Should You Get a New Roof before Installing Solar Panels?

No roofing contractor will advise you to install a photovoltaic system on a roof that's nearing the end of its useful life. You'll need to replace the roof before getting a roof-mounted photovoltaic system. Instead of spending money on a roof replacement and a photovoltaic system, you can also have a qualified solar contractor install a new roof that's composed of integrated solar-cell shingles.

#3 Condition of Roof

Many solar contractors aren't roofing experts. They simply sell and install photovoltaic systems on roofs. When it comes to a quality installation, the condition of your roof is a concern. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that homeowners consult with roofing contractors prior to getting photovoltaic systems installed on their roofs.

A roofing contractor can do a thorough inspection of your roof to identify any weak areas that can hinder a solar installation project. The problems that they find will need to be repaired sooner or later. If you choose to move forward with a solar installation without addressing those issues, you may have to pay more later to remove the solar panels, do the roof repairs, and reinstall the solar panels.

Contact August Roofing and Solar

Even with the falling prices of solar panels, installing a photovoltaic system on your roof is a significant investment. The great news is that these systems are known to last a long time when they are properly installed and maintained. August Roofing and Solar is a licensed and insured roofing company that specializes in repairing and maintaining solar panel roofs. Call us today for all of your solar panel roofing needs.