Best Roof for Solar Panels

If you have solar panels, or are about to get them, and it’s time to replace your roof, you might be wondering which roofing material is the most solar panel-friendly. If it’s time to replace your roof, now’s a great time to think about this. Although we do not install solar panels, we do install the roofing materials they attach to. This includes asphalt shingles, metal shingles, tile, and standing seam. So, which roofs are the most compatible with solar?

solar panels on corrugated metal house roof
solar panels on corrugated metal house roof

Quick Answer: the most solar panel-friendly roof is traditional asphalt shingles and standing seam metal.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, more homeowners are considering solar panels. And with good reasons. For starters, production costs have declined in recent years. This means there’s never been a better time to get into solar. Secondly, they require little or no maintenance once installed. Solar panels are also a source of renewable and clean energy. In addition, they help lower your energy bill. Couple this with the cooling effects of a standing seam metal roof, and you have the most efficient roof.

Lastly, homes that already have solar panels installed have a higher resale value than those without. In other words, home buyers are willing to pay more for a house with solar panels. According to Zillow, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power. Two homes being equal, a homeowner will choose the one with solar panels instead of the one without.

Solar panels are also very durable. Most withstand winds of at least 140mph. This does, of course, depend upon how well the racking system is and how well it was installed. FYI: Most architectural roofing shingles carry a wind warranty of 130mph. Metal roofing panels offer better wind resistance, yet. Solar panels are also hail resistant. Most manufacturers test and certify their panels to withstand hail up to one inch in diameter, falling at a speed of 50 mph. By the way, metal roofing is the most hail resistant roofing option.

Overall, most solar panels last 30 years or more, from a durability standpoint. From an efficiency standpoint, their output slowly degrades over time. According to Consumer Affairs, most manufacturers guarantee at least 90% of the panel’s original efficiency after 10 years and at least 80% efficiency after 25 years.

So, Which Roof is Best For Solar Panels?

Most installers prefer standing seam and asphalt shingles. Stone-coated metal shingles are next in line. Clay and concrete tiles are favored least.

Standing Seam and Asphalt Shingles

According to Namasta Solar, the best roofs for solar panels are traditional asphalt shingles and standing seam metal panels since their rack systems easily and securely attach to them. Worried about having holes drilled into your new roof? Don’t. Some solar racks use the standing seams of metal roofs to attach to. In this case, no holes are drilled at all. Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, do require additional holes. However, this, too, is nothing to worry about. Depending upon the installer, panel systems mount beneath the shingles, so the holes are covered. Others installers mount their racks directly on top of your asphalt shingles. These holes are well sealed to prevent leaks.

Which roofing material compliments solar panels, though? That’s standing seam. Although solar panel racks might mount securely to an asphalt shingle roof, asphalt shingles aren’t exactly environmentally-friendly. In fact, we have found no asphalt shingle recycling centers in the Northern Colorado area. On the other hand, standing seam and other metal roofing products, are more inline with the core values of someone that might have solar, because they are recyclable.

Another good reason to have a standing seam metal roof is they help lower your summer cooling bill. They reflect significantly more solar radition than asphalt shingles and they release about as much absorbed heat as asphalt shingles. Need another reason to love metal roofing panels? They cost less in the long run. Although they cost more initially, because they last so much longer than asphalt shingles, they often end-up costing less over time. Traditional asphalt shingles last around 25 years. Standing seam and other metal roofing products often last 70 years or more.

Stone-Coated Metal Shingles and Tiles

Next in line is stone-coated metal shingles. Metal shingles are not the best roofing material for solar panels since the installers must remove shingles in order to fasten their racks securely to the roof. After-all, a securely fastened, solid solar panel rack makes for a long-lasting roof and solar panel system. Stone-coated metal shingles are not a solar panel installers preferred roofing material. They are, however, more environmentally-friendly than asphalt shingles, since they are recyclable in our area.

Clay and Concrete Tiles

Lastly, clay and concrete tiles are the least solar panel-friendly roofing material. This is primarily because of how easily the tiles break.

The Bottom Line

If you know your roof is coming of age, and you’re considering getting solar panels, do youself a favor and get standing seam metal roofing panels. Standing seam is overall the most durable, cost-effective, longest-lasting, environmentally-friendly roofing material, and it’s the best roofing material for solar panels 🙂