Solar panels are among the best technologies you can get for your home. They are built to harness solar energy from the sun and convert it to electricity for various uses. Metal roofing is common in many homes and commercial buildings, and you might ask, “can solar panels go on a metal roof?”
This post will discuss why solar panels are compatible with metal roofs and the challenges you’ll face when installing them.
Let’s get started!
Can Solar Panels Go on Metal Roofs?
Can solar panels go on a metal roof? The short answer is yes, it can. But why do we say so? Here are different metal roofs and the best solar panel system for each.
1. Standing Seam Metal Roofs
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The type of metal roof you have will determine the best mounting system for solar panels. Standing seam metal roofs could use clamps to mount solar panels on the seams. This means you don’t have to drill any holes to set up the panels, which ensures the installation is faster and less laborious.
A standing seam metal roof has the least requirements for metal roof solar installation. So, if you are looking for a convenient installation process, this roof is the best option.
2. Corrugated Metal Roofs
Corrugated metal roofs require a different mounting system. The solar panels will need to sit on the peak of the grooves, so that curvy dips are left free for drainage. This type of roof will require special mounting brackets that require installation holes. The best racks feature rubber seals to eliminate the need for using waterproofing sealant on the roof.
3. Trapezoidal Roofs
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Unlike corrugated metal roofs, which have a curvy design, trapezoidal roofs are flat-ish. Nevertheless, they use a similar principle if you want to install a solar panel. The brackets sit on the crest of the roof while the troughs remain undrilled. Waterproofing the roof is critical to avoid leaks and other issues.
4. Metal Tile Roofs
Metal tile roofs have a unique surface that won’t make it easy to install solar panels. The only way you can mount solar panels on this type of metal roof is with the help of a tile replacement mount. These products add a flat design to the metal tile roof to make solar panel installation easier.
A tile replacement mount is a tile-shaped product that you can swap with your existing tiles. So, replacing some roof tiles is necessary to ease the process of installing solar panels.
Why Are Metal Roofs Compatible with Solar Panels?
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Metal roofs have certain qualities that make them ideal for holding solar panels. Let’s discuss them here.
Metal roofs are versatile, and you can install different solar panels depending on your roof type. Installing solar panels on metal roofing can be tricky because it sometimes involves drilling holes into it to mount the solar panels.
If done wrong, the solar panel installation process could leave you with house leaks. That’s why we recommend you only work with solar installers with a workmanship warranty to ensure you are covered in case something goes wrong.
Drilling holes into your metal roof isn’t the only mounting option. Some solar panels feature a non-invasive mounting system, like clamps. This helps preserve the integrity of metal roofing materials preventing deterioration as a result of the installation process.
While most people choose PV solar panels for metal roofs, thin-film solar panels are also ideal. Thin film panels have a sleek profile that makes them perfect for homeowners who value the roof’s aesthetic. Here are some of the best flexible solar panels on the market.
Metal roofs don’t degrade as quickly as other roofing materials. They can last up to 40 years without deteriorating, making them the best material for withstanding harsh weather and environmental conditions. For instance, metal roofs are resistant to wind, hail, rain, and snow, meaning they’ll probably outlast your solar panels.
Most solar panels last between 25 and 30 years. As such, installing solar panels on a metal roof is a sound choice since they will both last for decades. After all, other roofing materials might need replacement before your solar panels, leading to reinstallation costs.
If your roof is old and you might need to replace it soon, you should consider an all-in-one replacement with metal roofs. The overall cost of installing metal roofs and solar panels together is lower than other roofs.
3. Environmental Sustainability
Another reason a metal roof is an excellent option for solar panels is sustainability. Metal roofs are 100% recyclable, making them one of the popular materials in green building certification programs.
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Pairing a metal roof with solar panels is a great place to start if you want an environmentally sustainable home. You won’t have to worry about causing harm to your surroundings because you can recycle the roofing material when it needs replacement.
Since solar panels provide renewable energy, combining them with your metal roof can help you create an eco-friendly home. Plus, you can regulate the amount of solar current running in your home using a solar charge controller.
4. Energy Efficiency
Another advantage of using metal roofs and solar panels is energy efficiency. Dark-colored roofs tend to absorb solar energy and could easily contribute to heat build-up inside the home.
Fortunately, bright-colored metal roofs reflect heat away from the house, preventing indoor temperatures from rising too high. This reduces the need for cooling systems, reducing the amount of energy you use. Thus, combining a solar panel system with a cool metal roof will reduce energy consumption.
Challenges of Installing Solar Panels on Metal Roofs
Installing a solar panel on a metal roof isn’t always easy. If the solar installer doesn’t handle the task perfectly, some problems can arise. So, let’s discuss the challenges of installing solar panels on metal roofs.
1. Water Leaks
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The primary purpose of a roof is to protect a structure from the elements. If water enters your home, it could cause numerous problems to the integrity of the building. Additionally, water entering your home could damage appliances and electronics.
The process of installing solar panels on metal roofs can require drilling holes into the roof’s surface. These holes allow you to install the mounting system for the solar panels. You should get a professional to handle the installation because sealing the holes is critical to the functionality of your home.
If you don’t seal the holes properly, you’ll have leaks whenever the weather gets wet. Some mounting products come with rubber seals for covering up the holes you drill. Waterproofing your roof with a sealant after solar panel installation is necessary if you don’t have such products.
You can avoid the hassle of drilling holes and sealing them to mount solar panels by getting the ones that directly attach to the roof. This will ensure your roof remains in the best state as you get your solar panels.
The frame of your solar panels will probably feature some type of metal. When the metal frame touches the metal roof, a galvanizing reaction can eat into the panel frame. After all, when two different metals are in contact, a corrosive response can occur.
If you want your solar panels to last as long as possible, it’s important to ensure the frame material is compatible with your roof’s material. This will require some research, but it’s worth it because it’ll ensure your roof and panels stay in their best state for a long time.
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Something else to consider is the type of paint on your roof. You don’t want the paint to react negatively with the solar panels, so you should find out if it’s non-reactive with metals.
Some locations have environmental issues like acid rain, which can compromise your solar system. However, you can add a protective coating on the metal parts of your solar panel to protect it from chemical corrosion.
3. Roof Load
Some metal roofs are thicker than others. This thickness is called the roof gauge, which determines the roof’s durability and performance. In places where it snows heavily, thicker roofs are ideal because they can hold up the weight of accumulating snow.
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The amount of weight your roof can withstand isn’t unlimited. That’s why you must ensure your roof can hold all the panels you need without becoming weak. You might need to consult a structural engineer to ensure you can install solar panels without any issues.
Can solar panels go on a metal roof? Yes, they can. A metal roof is durable, recyclable, and resilient, making it an ideal surface for installing a solar panel. With metal roofing and solar panels, you can trust that your home will be environmentally sustainable.