Installing solar panels requires a shelving system, which attaches solar panels and inverters to a variety of surfaces, including roofs. The equipment is designed to be easily fitted to most existing roofs, however, there are a few roof types that may require retrofitting. The common roof types most suitable for installing solar panels are described below.
In addition to the type of roof, the quality and condition should also be considered. Since most solar panels have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years or more, they should be installed on a roof that can last at least that long. Before switching to solar, make sure your roof can support a solar photovoltaic system.
Composite and asphalt shingles are the two most common types of shingle roofing. Slate, laminate, and wood are examples of composite shingles, while asphalt shingles are made from cellulose mat or fiberglass materials combined with asphalt.
Solar panels on shingle roofs are easy to install as they simply require ordinary penetrating brackets that can be connected quickly. Installation is economical and can last up to two decades, making it a viable choice for long-life solar panels.
Standing seam metal roofs
Standing seam metal roofs are ideal for solar installations. The reason for this is that the seams allow easy connection of the solar panels, eliminating the need for holes. Metal roofs are also great for warmer, sunnier climates because they reflect light that doesn’t fall on the solar panels, allowing the house to cool down.
This type of roof has a modern and distinct look and is preferred by many people due to its durability. A metal roof can last between 40 and 70 years, more than double the average lifespan of a single solar panel.
Clay, concrete, and slate are the most common materials used to make tile shingles. If your house has a tiled roof, you can use a penetrating support to lift the solar panels onto the roof. This may require additional time when installing your system, or additional cost when using a contractor, if some of the tiles need to be removed or cut to make holes for the brackets.
Although the installation process may take a little longer than on a standing seam metal roof, tile roofs are durable, more watertight than many other roofs, and are considered aesthetically beautiful by many homeowners.
Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofing
The TPO roof is made of recycled rubber which is held together by heat-sealed seams. Due to its resistance to heat and UV rays, TPO is a versatile low-slope roofing material that is both economical and durable.
Panels installed on a TPO surface are mostly floating, as attaching them to the membrane would compromise the membrane and potentially allow water leakage. The solar panels are mounted on plastic frames which are installed on the TPO roof using the “floating” method.
Ready to install your DIY kit?
Do-it-yourselfers can also install solar panel systems on composite and flat laminate roofs. If you have multiple roof or roof types that are not listed here, be sure to consult with one of our DIY solar energy experts or specify when you Build your system.
If you would like to learn more about installing a solar system on the roof of your home, contact a DIY solar energy expert today. Our DIY kits include the shelving equipment best suited to the sheathing material of your home. The more you know about your unique roof, the better prepared you will be when your new solar system arrives.
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