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The Best Roofs for Solar Panel Installation

The use of renewable energy sources is getting increasingly popular in recent years. This is because it reduces the reliance on fossil fuels and mitigates the impact of climate change.  Tesla was the first company to introduce a full solar roof for the first time. Rooftop solar panel systems are the most popular category in solar energy especially if you don’t have the space required for ground mounts.


However, the effectiveness of solar panels is impacted by the type of roof. Different types of roofs possess different structural features, angles, and materials. This can affect the amount of sunlight that reaches the panels which in return impacts the overall efficiency of the system. Therefore, it is important to consider different types of roofing materials while solar panel installations. So, what are the best roofs for solar panels?

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Important Points To Remember


  • Shingle roofs are the most common type of roofing material.
  • Metal roofs are the most compatible with solar panels.
  • The tiled roofs are the most water-resistant roofs.
  • Tar and concrete roofs are best to avoid cracks and water leakage.
  • Flat and sloped roofs both are equally efficient for solar panel installation.
  • If your roof is quite old, then you need to replace it before solar panel installation.
  • The optimal direction for rooftop solar PV modules is south.
  • The best angle for rooftop solar panels is thirty degrees.

What Type of Roofing Material is Best for Solar Panels?

A. Shingle Rooftops:

Shingle roofs are the most common type of roofing that exists in homes. It is among the best roofs for solar panels in terms of their flexibility and durability which makes them one of the best roofs for solar panels. Solar shingles are basically small solar panels integrated into each roof tile. Shingle roofs mainly consist of two types. The first one is composite shingles and the second one is asphalt shingles. Composite shingles composition involves wood, laminate, and slate. However, asphalt shingles composition consists of fiberglass material or cellulose mat. Both types of shingles are best for solar panel installation, but composite shingles are more durable as compared to asphalt shingles.

Installation Process on Shingle Roofs:

To install solar PV modules on shingle roofs typical penetrating mounts will require. For this purpose, studs will drill into your rooftop. The solar panels are then attached to the stud. Later on, the tar is added to secure the studs and solar panels in place. Afterward flashing will cover up any holes between the studs and panels. Flashing helps to stop water leakage from your roof. Flashing will not only increase the durability of solar panels but also your rooftop.

Advantages of Mounting Solar Panels on Shingle Roofs:

  1. It is inexpensive:

It is the inexpensive nature of shingle rooftops that has made them so popular and readily available. It is cost-effective because it allows you to add solar panels to your existing roof rather than demanding a new one.

  1. Durable:

Shingle roofing materials are quite durable and flexible in nature. Its integrative property allows them to blend in with your existing rooftops. Moreover, solar shingles also come with heat-resistant and wind-protective properties. Hence, increasing their versatility.

  1. Longevity:

Shingle roofs can last for about 12 to 25 years. So, make sure to calculate the age of your shingle rooftop before installing new solar panels on top of it.

B. Metal Rooftops:

The best roofs for solar panels are metal roofs. These rooftops are sustainable, low maintenance, and won’t burn in case of haphazard situations. Metal roofs come with standing seams.  To install solar panels on metal roofs, standing seams will suffice for attachment purposes. Therefore, requiring no additional attachment, like a penetrating mount or ballast system. Hence, reducing the extra labor cost of solar panel installation.

Advantages of Mounting Solar Panels on a Metal Roof:

  1. Helps to keep the home cool:

In the sunnier states like Texas, Florida, and Colorado where the sun shines more than often. These roofs are among the best roofs for solar panels. Because these roofs will reflect the extra sunlight that is not absorbed by the solar PV modules. Hence, keeping your home cool.

  1. Maximize the solar energy absorption:

Metal roofs help to divert solar radiation to solar panels. Thus, maximizing the solar radiation absorption by solar PV modules.

  1. Longevity:

The best reason to choose metal roofing is because of its spectacular durability and splendid longevity. Metal roofing can last you about 40 to 125 plus years.

  1. Sustainable:

Metal rooftops are sustainable in nature. This is due to the fact that these roofs use recycled aluminum metal in their manufacturing.

The Drawback of Metal Roofing:

  1. Expensive:
    Metal roofing material can cost you about two to three times more as compared to other roofing materials. Hence, jacking up the overall price for solar installation.
  2. Noisy:
    Metal roofing can be a bit noisy in storms, hurricanes, and bad weather conditions in general.

C. Tile Rooftops:

Roof tiles will require clay, slate, and concrete in their manufacturing. On tile roofs, solar panel installation takes place with the help of penetrating mounts. The penetrating mounts will lift the solar panel slightly above the roof. However, roof tiles usually vary in shape. This will bring unevenness to the rooftops. Hence, creating a problem in solar panel installation. Therefore, to solve this dilemma tiles are cut to bring uniformity to the rooftop. However, this leveling up of tiles will require extra labor. Hence, jacking up the price of installation cost.

Advantages of Mounting Solar Panels on Tile Roofs:

  1. Water-Resistant:

Roof tiles composition involves clay. And to say the least, clay is extremely porous. Therefore, the water absorption ability of roof tiles is quite high.  Tile roofs are thus by far the most water-resistant roof among all types of roofing material.

  1. Long-Lasting:

Concrete tiles rooftops have a longer life cycle. They last you about 50-plus years. Tiled roofs are more cold-resistant than any other roofing material. In California and Arizona, ninety percent of homes have tiled roofs. And this roofing material is gaining popularity in Central Texas nowadays.

Drawbacks of Mounting Solar Panels on Tile Roofs:

  1. Expensive:

Tiled roofs are more expensive than shingle and tar roofs but less expensive than metal roofs. Plus, installing solar panels on a tiled roof would cost you extra due to that additional labor requirement.

  1. Heavier:

Tiled roofs might look good aesthetically but roofing material can be a bit heavier as compared to other roofing materials. And installing solar panels on top of this heavier roof might add salt to the injury.

  1. Breakage:

The tiled roof suffers breakage under the pressure of the footsteps of solar panel installation workers. Therefore, to install the solar panel on the tiled roof an experienced and cautious crew will be preferable.

D. Gravel and Tar Rooftops:

Gravel and tar rooftops are mostly flat. So, in order to maximize the solar energy production out of solar PV modules. The solar panel will require an angle of thirty degrees with tilt brackets.

Advantages to Mount Solar Panels on Gravel and Tar Rooftops:

  1. Budget-friendly:
    Gravel and tar rooftops are the best roofs for solar panels when it comes to budget. They are the most cost-efficient roofs in terms of mounting solar panels and can last for about 20 to 25 years.
  1. Cracks and leaks prevention:
    To prevent cracks and leaks gravel and tar rooftops are best. These particular rooftops also provide tremendous, flat support surfaces for solar PV modules.

Disadvantages to Mount Solar Panels on Gravel and Tar Rooftops:

  1. Orientation of solar panels:

Solar panels will require a certain angle for optimal power production. This angle determination is difficult sometimes.

What are the Best Roofs for Solar Panels?

sloped roofs

Flat as well as sloped rooftops are both fine for solar panel installation. However, the requirements for flat rooftops are quite different from sloped rooftops. Solar panel installation on flat roofs is quite easy compared to slop rooftops. Because in sloped rooftops the movement is restricted up to a certain extent. Flat roofs require ballast systems or weighted mounting systems to mount solar panels. This system doesn’t demand drilling holes into your rooftop. Hence, on flat rooftops, the problem of water leakage will not happen.

Alternatively, sloped rooftops need penetrating mounts for solar panels installation. However, penetrating mounts require studs to secure solar panels on rooftops. Therefore, to put studs into the rooftop, drilling of holes is required. Once the solar panel is secured. The holes can be filled with tar to prevent water leakage through the roof. Later on, studs and solar panels are secured with flashing to waterproof the roof.

Do You Need a New Roof For Solar Panels?

Most rooftops have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years but the life span of the solar panel is 25 to 30 years. However, the longevity of solar panels can be increased through their proper maintenance. So, it is advised to replace your rooftops before solar panel installation. But if your rooftop is new you don’t need to replace the roof, this procedure is done to make sure that solar panels and the longevity of your roof match together.

Can You Put Solar Panels on Metal Rooftops?

Of course, the solar panels can be mounted on metal rooftops. In fact, metal roofing is the most compatible roof for solar panel installation. These metal rooftops are the best roofs for solar panel installation among all types. Metal rooftops usually have metal standing seams. These metal seams have vertical rib panels which are used to attach solar panels on metal rooftops. Hence, the installation of solar panels on metal roofs will not require hole drilling and penetrating mounts. Thus, avoiding the problem of water leakage altogether.

What is the Optimal Angle For Solar Panels on a Rooftop?

The optimal angle is the angle at which solar energy production is maximum. The best angle for solar panels on a rooftop is thirty degrees. However, the optimal angle changes with the changing season. So, in order to maximize solar power production this angle will require to be set according to the latitudes. For example, in winter, add fifteen degrees to your latitude in order to attain an optimal angle. And in summer, substrate fifteen degrees from your latitude.

What is The Best Possible Direction For Solar Panels?

solar panel optimum

The best direction to install solar panels is south. But if your home is not in the south direction then, southeast or southwest directions will suffice. The directions of solar panels depend upon the hemisphere you currently are inhabiting. For example, if you are living in the Northern hemisphere then solar panels will face south in order to efficiently utilize solar radiation. While if you are living in the Southern hemisphere then solar panels will face north.

How Much Roof Space is Required For Solar Panel Installation?

The roof space required for solar panels installation depends upon:

  1. Type of solar panels.
  2. Size of your home.
  3. Daily electricity usage by the household.

To find out how much space will suffice the following statistics will suffice. One square foot of roof space generates fifteen watts of solar energy. However, a small suburb home requires two-hundred square feet while large homes require one thousand square feet of roof space. Therefore, the average home typically uses 19 to 23 solar panels with the size of each panel set to eighteen square feet. Your rooftop usually contains 400-600 square feet.

To sum this all up, no matter what type of roofing material you use for solar panel installation, it is a step in the right direction. Solar panels are not just an economical way to light your home, it is also the only possible solution to create a sustainable future for younger generations. And Solar SME specializes in solar panel installation. For further guidance feel free to contact Solar SME. We will be happy to make your journey toward renewable and sustainable energy as easy as possible.