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Can You Install Solar Panels on Metal Roofing?

Jul 17, 2018

Because it’s made from recyclable materials – as opposed to oil-based asphalt – and due to its energy-saving benefits, metal roofing is a greener alternative to other roofing materials. For the even more eco-friendly homeowner, it is possible to add solar panels to your roof and cut costs further!

Contractors and homeowners unfamiliar, or inexperienced, with metal roofing, however, may hesitate to install solar panels on a metal roof. The unique ways metal panels fasten to the home means that installation requires a different approach. That said, nothing prevents a metal roof from holding a solar panel and may, in fact, prove to be a better surface for panels.

Mounting Problems

The size of metal roof panels means that solar panels may have a harder time mounting onto your roof. For standing seam metal panels, however, this is no problem at all. The seams between panels offer a place to fasten mounts for connecting a solar panel to the roof. For a corrugated or trapezoidal metal roof, however, solar panels require special clamps, as these are not strong enough on their own.

Standing seam metal roofs are strong and sturdy, and therefore don’t require any extra support beyond the mounting equipment for your solar panels. There is also a much lower risk of overloading your roof compared to heavier asphalt or weaker corrugated metal roofing.

Panel Options

Most homes in the US use standard silicon photovoltaic (PV) panels for solar energy. For homeowners with a standing seam metal roof, however, there’s an even better option. Thin film solar panels can only attach to certain roofing surfaces, and metal roofs are perfect for them. They generate less electricity per square foot than PV, but they are also cheaper and use less energy in their production process – making them a greener option overall.

Another major advantage to thin film panels is that they are much lower profile. Installing thin film panels means maximizing space efficiency without needing a major installation for a larger PV panel. In low-sunlight areas, thin film may even produce more electricity.

Additional Benefits

Installing a metal roof can already decrease your electric bill by reducing the heat that transfers through your roof. Adding a solar panel to your roof only increases this effect – cutting your electric use considerably. Solar panels are, themselves, effective at cooling your home because they reflect and absorb the sunlight without transferring it to your home. These benefits can stack and reduce your bill even further – all while being a green, eco-friendly addition to your home.

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