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Identifying the Best Roof Characteristics for Solar Panel Installation

February 21, 2024 | Reading Time: 7 minutes

There are optimal conditions of a roof that make it better suited for solar installation.

This article delves into the various factors that contribute to what makes a roof ‘the best’ candidate for harnessing solar power. We will explore the ideal material makeup of a roof, the significance of the roof’s age and condition, how location plays a crucial role in your solar setup, and the optimal layout for maximum sun exposure.

Materials

There are various materials that can withstand solar panel installation. 

Asphalt Shingles

In New England, a lot of people use asphalt shingles for their roofs because they’re affordable and easy to put up. These shingles are tough enough to handle having solar panels installed on top of them and can last between 25 to 30 years—about the same amount of time solar panels last. So, when it’s time to replace your solar panels, your roof will probably need replacing too. Even though it’s expensive at the time, being able to replace both at the same time can make things more convenient and you’ll avoid redundant replacements in the future.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are the best choice if you’re thinking about getting solar panels. They’re much stronger than average asphalt shingles and can last a very long time—up to 75 years. This means you might end up replacing your solar panels several times before you ever need to think about a new roof. Specifically, metal roofs with standing seams are great for solar panels because the panels can easily attach to the seams of the roof without needing to drill holes into it.

Other Suitable Materials

Wood, clay, and concrete roofs are also fit for solar installation.

Age

Younger roofs are better suited for solar panels to optimize the system’s lifespan and avoid unnecessary replacement but the condition of the roof should also be taken into consideration.

AgeConditionAction
Less than 5 years oldGood shape, 20+ years life left in roofDo not need to replace
Between 5 and 15 years oldModerate shape, at least 10 years of life left in roofMight need to replace
More than 20 years oldBad shape, less than 10 years of life left in roofReplace

Learn More: Should I Replace My Roof Before Installing Solar?

Location

For homes in the Northern Hemisphere, the best direction to point solar panels is south. This position ensures they get the most direct sunlight and highest amount of light throughout the day.

Also, it’s important to install the panels in an area with minimal tree coverage. Trees can block sunlight from reaching the panels and impact energy generation. In extreme cases, branches can damage the system if they fall during a storm.

Layout

For a property getting solar installation, the perfect setup would include either a spacious roof or an adequate area on the ground to accommodate a sufficiently-sized solar system that meets your energy needs.

It’s important for roofs to have few obstructions like pipes, chimneys, or vents, allowing for the maximum number of solar panels to be installed. Ideally, the solar panels’ angle will be aligned with the property’s longitude.

Learn More: What Is the Best Angle and Placement for Solar Panels?

Conclusion

Every installation project is different. Therefore, some conditions may be preferred over others. It’s important to work with a certified and experienced solar installer who can maximize your roof’s potential and set you up with the best possible system for your property.

Isaksen Solar Insight

We’re Isaksen Solar, your local, Fall River-based solar installer hoping to get you on the path to free energy. We know not every property is fit for solar, but if you’re interested to find out if yours is a match, we encourage you to reach out to us by phone, (508) 717-3820, or get started on your free quote.