Is my roof and home suitable for solar?

Rooftop solar panel compatibility requirements

Mounting solar panels on your roof gives you the ability to collect energy securely and efficiently. But it’s not for everyone. Some roofs do not provide enough space, face an inefficient direction, are too shaded, or are too steep. Here’s what questions you should ask to determine if your roof is a good fit for a solar installation.

What are roof-mounted solar panel systems?

Roof-mounted solar panel systems are typically available in a flexible or rigid form. Both are secured to the roof of your RV or van with bolts, brackets, and mounting hardware. Rigid panels are the most durable option. Renogy’s roof-mounted panels include a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame that is great for extended outdoor use, allowing the panels to last for decades. Flexible panels offer a low-profile look and are lightweight and easy-to-handle.

Can I mount solar on any roof material?

Solar panels can be mounted on clay tile, metal standing seam, asphalt, EPDM rubber, and TPO and PVC. Wood shake and slate tile roofs present some unique challenges, and we recommend consulting with a professional about mourning to those surfaces.

When should I replace my roof?

Before installing solar, you’ll want to ensure your roof is in the proper condition and isn’t too old. If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, you’ll want to replace your roof before installing solar. A solar panel system will typically last you 30 to 35 years. Therefore, if your roof is between five and 10 years from needing replacement, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to assess the condition of your roof. Replacing your roof before installing solar means you won’t have to tear everything out just a few years into having your installation.

What is the lifespan of my roof?

Every roof has a slightly different lifespan. As some general guidelines, clay tile, slate, and copper roofs can last up to 50 years, wood shake roofs have about a 30 year lifespan, and cement shingles last about 20 years.

Will solar panels damage my roof?

If your solar panels are mounted properly, they will not do any damage to your roof.Mounting solar panels does require the right mounting hardware in order to safely and securely attach the panels to your roof. However, if done correctly, solar panel installation should not damage your roof. Additionally technology has continued to improve where mounting solar panels has never been easier. In some cases, solar panels can actually protect your roof instead of inflicting any sort of damage.

Is shading a solar death sentence?

Solar panels will still work in the shade, just at a lower capacity. A general guideline is that solar panels will produce about half as much energy as they would with direct sunlight. Trees located to the north of your home will typically pose the least amount of shading obstruction for panels. Trees planted on the north side can block midday sun, which is a crucial time for solar power production. Your roof itself can also present shading challenges. Dormers, gables, and chimneys in particular can obstruct sunlight from your panels, as well as create some obstacles for mounting your solar panels themselves.

Which direction should my solar panels face?

Typically, in the southern hemisphere, solar panels work best on a north facing roof. When panels are pointed west, they produce little energy in the morning, but lots in the afternoon. The reverse is true if they face east. Solar panels will receive almost no direct sunlight if they are facing south. Solar panels actually work best when they’re facing true north, which is slightly different from magnetic north. Don’t know which way your roof is facing? Pull up Google Maps to look up your property, display the grid, and see which direction true north is. If you can’t mount your panels to be facing true north, northeast and northwest-facing panels will also work (just at lower efficiencies).

Do I have enough room on my roof?

You’ll also need to make sure you have room on your roof for solar panels. A large, rectangular roof with no chimney or vents is, of course, ideal for solar rooftop installation. Essentially, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough space for the amount of panels you need to meet your energy needs. If you haven’t already, we recommend using the Renogy solar panel calculator to calculate how many solar panels you’ll need to meet your energy needs.

Does solar work on flat and sloped roofs?

Solar panels can work on both flat and sloped roofs. In order for the panels to be self-cleaning, they should be at a minimum of 15 degrees. If you have a sloped roof, the best angle is between 30 and 40 degrees. Any steeper and the performance of your panels will not be efficient.

What do I do if my roof is not suitable for solar?

If after considering all the above factors, you come to the conclusion that your roof is not suitable for solar panels. You can either install a ground-mounted solar panel system elsewhere on your property, purchase a portable solar panel kit if you have smaller energy needs, or build a solar panel carport.


Going solar is a great way to reduce your monthly utility costs, live a sustainable lifestyle, and become more energy independent. And for those with consistent energy needs and a roof that fulfills all the requirements listed above, a roof-mounted system is a perfect way to meet energy demands.