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Rooftop Solar Evaluation

Jessica PirroOctober 11, 20192420

A key process of researching getting a solar panel installation is answering the question of the roof being suitable enough for solar panels. The good news for many homeowners and potential solar power customers, is more roof materials are compatible with solar-powered systems, but some of them are better for solar panels than others.

The Best Roof Kinds for Solar-Powered Systems

Listed below are the roofing materials that are best suited for solar panels;

- Metal Standing Seam: Most of the metal roofs make it fairly easy to install solar panels. In most cases, solar-powered systems can be installed without making any holes in your roof by using the mounting systems that will clamp onto the seams. Metal rooftops are good insulators and help increase the efficiency of solar energy, making homes with metal roofs some of the top candidates for solar energy.

- Clay and Spanish Tile: Solar installers can easily work on the Clay and Spanish tiles. The standard penetrating mounts can be used for solar panel installations on tile roofs, and some solar energy companies can also produce mounts for solar panels that are integrated into clay or Spanish tile to make the solar panel installation even easier than ever.

- Asphalt: As with clay and Spanish tiles, solar installers can easily work on asphalt roofs, without worrying about damages. The standard penetrating mounts can be used to install solar-powered systems in asphalt roofs,

- EPDM Rubber: Ethylene propylene dienterpolymer (EPDM) rubber is used on flat roofs and is most commonly seen on commercial buildings. The solar installers that are working on flat EPDM roofs use a weighted mounting system, which is called a ballast system, meaning, that they typically don’t have to make holes in the roof. For this very reason, EPDM solar panel installations are usually going to be less expensive than rooftop systems with mounts that penetrate the roof material.

There are however some roof materials that are less compatible with solar panels. Solar installers are going to have a harder time working on slate and rooftops because the roof materials are brittle and can break. They require specialized mounting components and equipment because the solar installer can’t walk on the roof without damaging it. Which means that solar panel installations on slate and wood roofs are going to be more expensive.

Roof Material

Property Type(s)

Good for Solar Panels?

More Details

Metal Standing Seam

Residential

Yes

“Standing seams: will make it easy to install solar panels without drilling holes in the roof.

Clay Tile

Residential

Yes

Standard penetrating mounts can be used for solar panel installations on clay tile roofs.

Spanish Tile

Residential

Yes

Standard penetrating mounts can be used for solar panel installations on Spanish tile roofs.

Asphalt

Residential

Yes

Standard penetrating mounts can be used for solar panel installations on asphalt roofs.

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) rubber

Commercial, Residential

Yes

Typically flat, and solar-powered systems can be installed using a ballast system without any roof penetration.

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Commercial, Residential

Yes

Typically flat, and solar-powered systems can be installed using a ballast system with no roof penetration.

Slate

Residential

No

Slate tiles are brittle and can easily break, complicating the solar panel installation process and equipment used.

Wood

Residential

No

Wood tiles are brittle and can break easily, complicating the solar panel installation process and equipment used.

More Ways to Evaluate Your Roof for a Solar Panel Installation

The rooftop’s materials play a big role in how suitable your home is for solar panel installation, but there are a few more ways that you can evaluate it.

Your Roof Direction

The direction your roof is facing is going to have an impact on how suitable your home is for solar panels, due to the roof’s direction, affecting the efficiency of solar energy. The efficiency of solar energy is the best when the solar panel installation is facing south in the United States. There’s an easy way to figure out the way your roof is facing by looking up your house on Google Maps.

If during your research finds that your rooftop doesn’t face true south, no worries! Though the efficiency of a solar panel is best when the solar panels are facing south, your solar panel installation will still yield solar power if the solar-powered system is facing southeast, southwest, or even east and west. But, if your solar panel installation has to face either east or west, you are going to want to make sure that there is the most minimal amount of shade is in your rooftop as possible.

Roof Style and Slope

Solar panels need a certain amount of space for the solar-powered system to be properly installed. A large rectangular roof, that lacks any vent or chimneys, is perfect for solar panel installation, but not many homes have that. Most solar installers are familiar with a variety of rooftop configurations and can work around those obstacles.

When it comes to the slope, you are going to want to discuss the optimal arrangement with your installer. If your solar panel installation is flat, the efficiency of a solar panel is not going to be lower, and the rain runoff isn’t going to be good. But if the solar panel installation is installed at too much of a slope the efficiency of a solar panel is going to be hindered as well, because it will limit the amount of the sun that the solar panels can take it.

After Evaluation

After you have evaluated if your rooftop is suitable for solar panel installation, you can design your solar system using the design DIY tool provided by HaHaSmart.

Solar system price checker

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