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Will Solar Panels Work on Your Roof?


Solar panels are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and keep your roof in tip-top condition. If you’re thinking of investing in solar panels, the first step you should take is determining if your roof is eligible for the mounting of solar panels. It’s important to realize that many factors go into determining whether or not solar panels are an effective fit for your roof.


When it comes to installing PV panels on your roof, this process needs to be done in a way that doesn’t damage your existing roofing material. Any damage could potentially lead to water leakage and decay. Metal roofing is by far the easiest roof to install solar panels on, as its standing seam allows for quick, drill-less installation. Solar panels are also highly compatible with tile roofing and asphalt or composite shingles.

On the other hand, there are a few different roofing materials that aren’t very accommodating for solar panel installation. These include wood and slate. Both of these roofing materials are extremely brittle and difficult for solar panel installers to work with. Additionally, wooden shingles present a fire hazard when solar panels are present.


Sometimes informally referred to as the slope of a roof, its pitch will play a big role in determining whether or not your roof is ideal for solar panel installation. As a roof gets steeper, this can translate to decreased efficiency from your solar panels. Additionally, it will be more dangerous for solar panel installers to maneuver on the roof to do their job. Anything over 40% is typically not recommended for solar panel installation.

Flat roofs are also a great option for installing solar panels. These roofs will likely require angled brackets to better position the solar panels. This could be more expensive than installing panels on a roof with a slope of less than 40%.


Roofs come in many different sizes and configurations. Items like dormers, vent pipes, chimneys, and other similar features can interfere with the total amount of space you have to install solar panels. With the nation’s average residential solar system being approximately five kilowatts, you can expect to need around 300 square feet of space for your panels to supply power to this system size.

When it comes to panel sizes, most experts will recommend going with the largest size that your roof can support. This makes for a much easier installation process than trying to install a number of smaller panels. However, if your roof space doesn’t allow for large panels, you may need to have a number of smaller panels installed over various areas of your roof. It’s best to contact a solar installation professional to determine if your home has a solid 300 square feet of surface area for the installation of solar panels.


The direction in which your solar panels are installed will play a big role in whether they’re effective at harnessing the sun’s energy. For example, every home in the northern hemisphere will benefit from having solar panels that are oriented to face true south. How much space is available on the southern-facing side of your roof will determine if it’s ideal for solar panel installation.


Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration when determining if your roof is the ideal location for solar panels is its age. Most PV panels are rated to last between 25 and 30 years. Installing them on an existing roof that is already over 15 years old doesn’t necessarily make much sense. This would require you to have all of the panels removed to replace the existing roof when it reaches the end of its lifespan.

With the typical asphalt shingle roof lasting between 15 and 20 years, it makes sense to have your solar panels installed when you have your roof replaced. You want to ensure that you’re going to get the most out of your solar panels before having to remove them to replace your underlying roofing material.


The amount of shade that your roof receives will have a very large impact on its overall ability to effectively use solar panels. A roof that is shaded throughout the majority of the day isn’t one that makes a great location for the use of solar panels. In some cases, the source of the shade can be removed by cutting down a large tree. However, if your home is shaded by a building, there’s not going to be much that you can do to alter the amount of shade that’s present.


Your local climate will also play a role in determining what type of solar panels will be best for your roof. Some locations may need to have solar panels that convert both indirect and direct sunlight into energy. Others may need PV panels with a high durability rating due to the harsh weather conditions in their area. From extreme wind to large hail, your climate must be taken into consideration when deciding what solar panels are ideal for your roof’s construction.


Another factor that will need to be taken into consideration is the local code and permitting requirements in your area. Most local governments do require you or your contractor to obtain a building permit before you can legally have photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of your home. If you live in an HOA community, you may have to seek approval from the HOA board before you can have these solar panels installed.


If your roofing professional determines that your roof isn’t a good candidate for solar panel installation, you do have other options. One of the most common is ground-mounted solar panels. These are mounted to a sturdy structure that is adhered to the ground. They’re ideal for properties that have enough clear ground space for the panels to rest on.


As a homeowner, there are so many different ways that you can benefit from having solar panels installed on your roof. First and foremost, they will help drastically reduce your energy bills. This means more money in your pocket each month. If you have a local utility company that offers a net metering program, you can receive money for selling your excess solar energy directly to the utility company.

Solar energy is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Many homeowners who make the switch to rooftop solar find that they’re eligible for tax rebates and incentives from the federal, state, and sometimes local governments. Even better, having rooftop solar panels installed is a great way to increase the overall value of your home.


Axis Roofing offers reliable roofing services to the entire Mesa, AZ, region. We can also assist with all of your foam roofing, tile roofing, shingle roofing, roof coating, roof inspection, insurance claims, and storm damage needs. Simply contact us today for expert assistance.

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