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What Roofing Materials Work Best Under Solar Panels?

What Roofing Materials Work Best Under Solar Panels?

Installing solar panels on your roof is a great way to invest in a sustainable future. However, ensuring you have the right roofing materials to support these installations is important. Learn what roofing materials work best under solar panels to ensure a seamless integration with solar technology in your home.

The Best Roofing Materials for Solar Panels

Not all roofing materials are equal, and some are significantly more suitable for solar panel systems than others. In the following sections, you can learn which materials work best so you can make an informed decision for your home.

Asphalt Shingles

One of the most commonly used roofing materials in the United States is asphalt shingles, which offer significant advantages to those who use them. For example, these shingles are cost-effective, lightweight, and easy to install, making the solar panel installation process straightforward and less labor-intensive.

Moreover, their durability and weather resistance ensure that the roofing system can withstand various climate conditions without compromising the integrity of the solar installations. When properly installed, asphalt shingles provide a stable and secure base for solar panels, helping to optimize the energy output and longevity of your solar investment.


Another excellent material for supporting solar panel installations on your roof is metal, thanks to its unparalleled durability and longevity. Typically made from steel, aluminum, or copper, metal roofing is capable of enduring rainfall, winds, and sunlight, providing homeowners with a robust base for solar systems.

Metal roofs also offer the added advantage of being naturally reflective, which helps minimize the heat absorbed by the building, thus enhancing the overall efficiency of your home. Plus, metal roofs often last up to 70 years, giving you a reliable and low-maintenance foundation that can significantly enhance the performance and sustainability of your solar panel investment.

Tar and Gravel

Tar and gravel roofs, also known as built-up roofs, also are a viable option for supporting solar panel installations. Featuring layers of bitumen, reinforcing fabrics, and gravel, these roofs protect the surface from ultraviolet rays and physical damage.

The multiple layers provide homeowners with robust waterproofing and insulation, making them capable of supporting the additional weight of solar panels without compromising structural integrity. Additionally, two other key benefits of tar and gravel roofs are their versatility and ease of repair, allowing for homeowners to make modifications and have maintenance performed without significant disruptions.

If homeowners choose to have a tar and gravel roof installed on their home, they must ensure that inspections are performed to avoid issues such as pooling water, which can adversely affect roofing and solar systems. When maintained correctly, tar and gravel roofs offer a durable and stable foundation for solar energy capture, aiding in optimizing the performance and lifespan of solar panel installations.

Clay or Concrete Tile

Two last options for solar panel installations are clay or concrete tile roofs. These are particularly beneficial in regions with warmer climates. These tiles have a reputation for their exceptional durability and lifespans that often exceed 50 years, making them a long-term, cost-effective solution.

Moreover, clay and concrete tiles offer excellent thermal insulation, which can help reduce the building's overall thermal load and enhance energy efficiency. Their traditional and aesthetically pleasing appearance allows for seamless integration with various architectural styles.

What Roofing Materials Work Best Under Solar Panels?

Roofing Materials That Don't Work as Well for Solar Panels

After learning what roofing materials work best under solar panels, you may wonder which materials do not. In this section, we will discuss the roofing materials that may pose challenges or drawbacks when integrating solar technology.


Wood roofs, typically made of cedar shakes or shingles, can present several challenges for solar panel installation. While wood offers a natural and aesthetically pleasing appearance, it lacks the durability and weather resistance of other roofing materials.

Wooden roofs are susceptible to rot, warping, and pest infestations, which can compromise their structural integrity over time. Additionally, wood is more flammable than other roofing options, posing a higher fire risk, especially when paired with the electrical components of a solar panel system. Due to these limitations, wood is generally not recommended as an ideal roofing material for solar panel installations.

Slate Tile

Although renowned for their elegance and durability, slate tile roofing offers substantial challenges when it comes to solar panel installations. The primary obstacle is the inherent brittleness of slate, which poses a significant risk of cracking or breaking during the mounting process of solar panels.

This susceptibility not only complicates the installation but also escalates the overall cost due to the need for specialized installation techniques and skilled labor. Despite the aesthetic and longevity benefits of slate tiles, these factors make them a less optimal choice for homeowners aiming to integrate solar technology with minimal risk and expense.

What Roofing Materials Work Best Under Solar Panels?

Where Your Solar Panels Should Go on Your Roof

To make the most of your solar panels, finding the perfect spot for them is key. Ideally, you should have your panels installed on a south-facing section of the roof, as this provides the most direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight throughout the day.

If a south-facing placement is not feasible, an alternative option is to place the panels on either an east- or west-facing section, which can still yield substantial energy generation. Additionally, ensure that the chosen section of the roof is free from shade cast by trees, chimneys, or other structures, as these can significantly impede the panels’ ability to capture sunlight.

Proper angling is also key in this process. You should ensure that the angle matches the latitude of where you have the panels installed. This will enhance their exposure to direct sunlight year-round. By carefully considering the orientation, placement, and angle of your solar panels, you can ensure maximum energy capture and efficiency.

After reviewing these factors, you can make informed decisions that will help optimize the performance and longevity of solar panel systems on your roof. If you need a home exterior contractor to help you switch to asphalt shingles or a metal roof, contact Schmucker Quality Construction LLC today. We can provide you with durable material that will protect your home from the elements and allow you to lower your carbon footprint.

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