Do you want to install solar panels or change the type of your home roof?
And you have got a plan to install solar panels, and you are wondering whether choosing metal roofs is the best option.
Well, this article will answer whether you can install solar panels on metal roofs.
Age and roof type are significant concerns for people wanting to install solar panels.
OR, it was a big concern for me, AND I opted for Standing Seam Metal Roofs. A move my wife protested vehemently. She wanted a metal shingle roof. I have no issue with installing solar panels on metal shingle roof — or my wife–, but you will agree with me that standing metal seam roofs are the best.
Let’s address this concern once and for all. Shall we?
Can you put solar panels on a metal roof?
Yes, you can install solar panels on metal roofs. Metal roofing panels are compatible with solar panels and are an excellent option for those looking to install them on their roof.
Metal roofs are a great option for solar panel installation because they are durable, long-lasting, and reflect heat, which can help the panels generate more electricity.
Now that your mind is at ease let’s discuss different types of metal roofs.
So, solar solar on metal roof can be the best investiment if you want to go green.
Types of metal roof panels
There are several types of metal roofs available for residential and commercial buildings.
Here are some of the most common types of metal roofs:
Standing Seam Metal Roofs
This type of metal roof has large, protruding seams that make it easy to install solar panels without drilling holes into the roofing material.
Standing seam roofs are known for their durability and longevity, and they can last for up to 50 years, way about the lifespan of your solar panels.
The best way for mounting solar panels to standing seam metal roof is is to use a rail-mounted system.
I chose this method because I attached the solar panels on metal roof without penetrating the metal, which helps to maintain the roof’s watertightness. The rails are attached to the standing seams of the roof using special clamps.
Corrugated Metal Roofs
This type of metal roof has a wavy pattern and is commonly used in agricultural and industrial settings.
Corrugated roofs are less expensive than standing seam roofs but are less durable.
The average lifespan of corrugated metal roofing is about 30-45 years.
Here are some of the benefits of installing solar panels on corrugated metal roofs:
- Durability: Corrugated metal roofs are very durable and can last for many years. This makes them a good choice for solar panel installations, as the solar panels will likely outlast the roof.
- Weight: Corrugated metal roofs are relatively lightweight, which makes them ideal for solar panel installations.
- Low maintenance: Corrugated metal roofs require very little maintenance, which can save you money in the long run.
Metal Shingle Roofs
This type of metal roof is designed to look like traditional asphalt shingles but with the added benefits of metal roofing.
Metal shingles are a good option for homeowners who want the look of traditional shingles with the durability of metal roofing.
Benefits of installing solar panels on a metal shingle roof:
- Strong and durable: Metal roofs are one of the strongest and most durable roofing materials available. They can withstand high winds, heavy snow, and even hail. This makes them ideal for supporting the weight of solar panels.
- Long-lasting: Metal roofs have a lifespan of 50 years or more. This means that you can expect your solar panels to last for the entire life of your roof.
- Reflective: Metal roofs are reflective, which can help to reduce cooling costs in the summer and improve the efficiency of your solar panels.
- Low-maintenance: Metal roofs require very little maintenance. This means that you won’t have to worry about your solar panels being damaged by roof leaks or other problems.
Metal Tile Roofs
This type of metal roof is designed to look like traditional clay or concrete tiles but with the added benefits of metal roofing.
Metal tiles are a good option for homeowners who want the look of clay tile roofing without the weight and cost of real clay tiles.
Here are some of the main benefits of installing solar panels on metal tile roofs:
- Aesthetics: Solar panels can be installed to blend in and match the sleek, modern look of metal tile roofs. This maintains nice curb appeal.
- Durability: Both solar panels and metal roofs are very durable and can last 25-50+ years. Long-term power production.
- Energy efficiency: Metal roofs reflect heat and can lower attic temperatures. This improves solar panel efficiency and output.
- Lightweight: Metal roofing is lighter than tile, slate or asphalt shingles. This reduces load requirements for solar mounts.
- Fast installation: The simple panels and attachment points of standing seam metal roofs make solar installs easier. Less time and cost.
Metal Shake Roofs
This type of metal roof is designed to look like traditional wood shakes but with the added benefits of metal roofing.
Metal shakes are a good option for homeowners who want the look of wood shake roofing without the maintenance and fire risk of real wood shakes.
Here are 4 benefits of installing solar panels on metal shake roofs:
- Aesthetics: Metal shake roofs have a stylish, contemporary look that can aesthetically match solar panels quite well. The panels blend in seamlessly without detracting from the roof’s appearance.
- Durability: Both solar panels and metal shake roofing are very durable and long-lasting. Metal shake roofs can last 50+ years, which matches the 25-30+ year lifespan of solar panels.
- Lightweight: Metal shake roofing is lighter weight than tile, slate or asphalt shingles. This reduces the load requirements and makes installation of solar mounts easier.
- Snow Shedding: The smooth surface of metal shake roofing allows snow to slide off easily. This prevents heavy snow accumulation from covering the solar array during winter months.
For information of solar shingles vs solar panel, read this.
Best metal roofing for solar panels
So, which type of metal roof is best for solar panel installations? A simple answer to this question is STANDING METAL ROOFS.
Standing seam metal roofs are made up of panels that are joined together at the seams to create a continuous, watertight seal.
This makes them ideal for solar panel installations because it eliminates the need to drill holes in the roof, which can void the warranty on the roof and the solar panels.
What is the best way to attach solar panels to a metal roof?
You can attach your solar panels to your metal roof in two main ways:
This method uses clamps or brackets attached directly to the metal roof panels.
This is the most common way to attach solar panels to metal roofs and the least invasive method.
This method uses rails attached to the metal roof, and solar panels are attached to the rails.
This method is more invasive than direct-attach, but it can be used with metal roofs that have a complex shape.
Solar Mounting Systems For Metal Roofs
Choosing the right solar mounting system for your metal roof is key to securely attaching those photovoltaic panels without damaging your roof’s integrity.
Since the mounting equipment costs about 10-25% of your total solar system price tag, you’ll want to select wisely.
The good news is there are mounting systems specifically designed to pair flawlessly with metal roofs.
These smart systems allow easy attachment of solar arrays without puncturing or altering your durable metal roofing.
It’s a totally non-invasive installation process.
One popular option is the S-5 PVKIT, an innovative mounting disk with twelve nodes to ensure proper connectivity between your PV modules.
This equipment is built to withstand harsh weather conditions, from heavy snow to hurricane-force winds.
S-5 PVKIT makes installation a breeze.
One popular option is the S-5 PVKITTM, an innovative mounting disk with twelve nodes to ensure proper connectivity between your PV modules.
This equipment is built to withstand harsh weather conditions, from heavy snow to hurricane-force winds.
S-5 PVKITTM makes installation a breeze.
S-5 PVKIT 2.0
An even easier option is the S-5 PVKIT 2.0, which comes pre-assembled so your installer saves time and steps during the process.
Less labor means less cost getting your panels mounted.
Don’t forget SolarFootTM brackets if your metal roof is of the exposed fastener variety.
These pedestals allow secure attachment of rail-mounted solar mounting systems without messing with your roof’s exposed fasteners.
No matter your specific metal roof type, specialized solar mounting systems have you covered.
They quickly and securely fasten those solar modules to your roof without penetrating or tampering with the roof itself.
Choosing installer-friendly equipment cuts labor time and costs while protecting your roof’s warranty and waterproofing integrity.
Factors To Consider
The best way to attach solar panels to your metal roof depends on your budget, roof shape, and the type of metal roof you have.
- Your Budget: Direct-attach is generally less expensive than rail-mount. However, rail-mount may be better if you have a complex roof or want a more secure attachment.
- The shape of the roof: If your roof is complex, you may need to use a rail mount instead of a direct attachment. This is because direct-attach can be difficult to use on complex roofs.
- Type of metal roof: Some metal roofs are more compatible with direct-attach than others. For example, standing seam metal roofs are a good option for direct-attach, while corrugated metal roofs are not.
Potential concerns about solar panels on metal roofs.
There are various concerns about installing solar panels on metal roofs.
Some of these are easy to solve, while others can be challenging.
Here are some of the potential concerns about solar panels on metal roofs:
- Penetrations: If the metal roof is not a standing seam roof, the roof will need to be penetrated with screws and sealant to cover the holes when securing the solar panels. It’s extremely important that you use proper sealant; otherwise, this will result in leaks as water will be able to seep through the penetration.
- Fasteners: Metal roofs are designed to contract and expand to relieve pressure from weather conditions, which can cause the fasteners to loosen over time. This can result in the solar panels becoming loose and potentially causing damage to the roof.
- Maintenance: While solar panels are low maintenance, they do require occasional cleaning to ensure they are working at maximum efficiency. This can be a concern for those unable to access their roof easily.
- Heat: Metal roofs can get very hot, potentially damaging solar panels. However, there are ways to mitigate this risk, such as using a mounting system that keeps the solar panels slightly elevated so they don’t get as hot.
- Warping: The weight of solar panels can potentially warp a metal roof. However, this is usually only a concern with older or poorly-maintained roofs.
- Lightening: Metal roofs are more conductive than asphalt shingles, which means they are more likely to be struck by lightning. However, solar panels can help to protect your roof from lightning strikes.
- Warranty: Some metal roof manufacturers void their warranties if solar panels are installed on their roofs. It’s essential to check your metal roof’s warranty before installing solar panels. Depending on the manufacturer, creating penetrations in the roof can void a corrugated metal roof warranty.
Solar panels on metal roof: Final Thoughts
Installing solar panels on metal roofs has become an increasingly popular option for both homes and businesses looking to go green.
Metal roofing materials, including steel and aluminum, provide an ideal mounting surface for solar arrays.
With proper planning and installation, solar panels can be securely attached to standing seam metal buildings as well as corrugated, shingle, tile and shake metal roofing.
The sleek and modern look of metal roofing complements solar panels, while the reflective properties help boost solar efficiency.
Metal’s durability and weather resistance also matches the 30+ year lifespan of a typical solar system.
While care should be taken to follow manufacturer guidelines, solar panels on steel roofs, metal roofs, and metal buildings offer an environmentally-friendly way to reduce energy costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it easy to install solar panels on a metal roof?
Yes, it is technically easy to install solar panels on a metal roof, especially if you have a standing seam metal roof, because you will not have to drill, installation is fast, and they are low maintenance.
Also, direct attachment of solar panels on a metal roof is easier than rail mounts. Installing solar panels on shingle roofs is challenging.
3. On what type of roof can we not install solar panels?
Types of roofs unsuitable for installing solar panels include clay tiles, wood, and slate roofs because they cannot adequately handle the weight of the solar panels and the mounting system.
Also, roofs with too many curves and pitches are not ideal for solar panel installation. However, you can be creative a bit and look for ways around the problem.
4. Are solar panels better on metal roofs than shingles?
Yes, solar panels are better on metal roofs than shingles. However, solar panels can be installed on metal and shingle roofs.
However, there are some advantages to installing solar panels on metal roofs.
Metal roofs are more durable than shingle roofs, reflect heat, and are less likely to be damaged by hail.