Every Roof Deserves Solar
Quick Read - 2 Minute Read
There are many factors that determine if your roof is a good fit for solar.
Be ready to trim nearby trees if your home has shade on the roof.
The shape and size of your roof can be determining factors in how expensive a solar system is for your home.
We recommend replacing your roof before adding solar if 15 years or older and not metal.
Material Of The Roof
Whether your roof is covered by asphalt shingles or metal standing seams, if conditions are right, it can hold solar panels. Almost any type of roof can hold solar panels, but the composition of your roof can determine how much work and how much it costs to put those panels on your home. Below, we will detail the most common types of roofs we see in New York State.
Shingles are one of the most common types of roofing in the United States of America. These shingles, whether they be wood, composite, fiberglass, or any other material, are layered over mats to create the individual shingle.
Installing solar on shingles is very simple process. It begins by drilling studs into the roof to attach the bracket systems that hold the physical panels. These studs are quickly covered with sealant to make sure no water can enter through. Once the brackets are secured, the panels are then attached to the brackets, completing the installation.
Metal roofs are one of the best roofs to install solar onto. This is because the additional standing seams make the perfect host to attach the brackets and the panels onto.
Metal, in general, last longer than shingle roofs. The only trade off is how loud they are during adverse weather. Fortunately, putting solar panels over them can cancel that out.
Rubber & TPO
Rubber & TPO are most commonly seen across flat rooms and commercial buildings. Solar installed on these roofs are typically ballasted onto the roof, meaning the bracket is laid onto the roof and then weighed down usually with cinderblocks.
Shade Around The Roof
Solar panels do have one requirement, THE SUN! As silly as it sounds, before going solar, you should consider if your home roof has clear access to the sun. While partial shading during portions of the day isn’t a make-or-break situation for solar, if your roof is shaded for the majority of the day and you want solar, you’ll either have to trim or cut the trees or put in a ground mount in a nearby clearing.
Pitch & Orientation Of The Roof
The ideal pitch for solar is a large slopped (between 25-40 degrees is optimum for the panels) south facing roof. Southward-facing roofs capture the maximum amount of sunlight as the sun rises from the east and sets on the west.
While southward is the optimal direction for panels to face, the other planes of your roof can certainly be host to panels as well. It is very common to install panels on other planes of a roof if the south facing side of the home is shaded or the owner has a preference of the panels location.
Shape & Size Of The Roof
Another simple yet often overlooked factor when homeowners want to go solar is the shape and size of their roof. Ideal roofs for solar have large planes that can hold a substantial number of panels. Typically, as you put panels on different planes of your roof, you can also expect to increase your installation costs.
Thus, an ideal solar system is placed on one plane of a roof, placing the panels in a rectangular fashion on one side of the home. If your home does not have a roof that can support this, don’t worry! You can still place them over several sides of your roof or go with a ground mount. However, they are almost always more expensive than a single plane roof mount.
The age of your roof should be a major determining factor when considering putting a solar system on your home. In a perfect world, a solar system would be installed on a brand new roof as the solar panels warranties last 25 years, which is (on average) how long many roofs last. If your roof has to be replaced with a solar system installed over it, you will have to pay a company (ideally the same one that originally installed it) to remove your panels, put on a new roof, and then reinstall your system.
Kasselman Solar recommends you don’t install a solar system on a home with a roof that’s older than 15 years as a rule of thumb, but a lot of factors can alter that. One of them being that if it’s a metal roof, they typically last 40+ years; thus, you can coordinate the age of your roof and the lifespan of solar system.