Can You Put Solar Panels On A Metal Roof? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Solar panels are one of the most popular home additions in America right now. You can get tax incentives for them, people will be more likely to buy your home, and oh yeah! You also get the perk of being able to reduce your energy bills. The thing is, there are a lot of rumors about solar panels, including issues relating to where they can and cannot be installed. Metal roofs, for example, are a common questionable surface…

While it is not the easiest thing in the world to do, you absolutely can put solar panels on a metal roof. In order to do it, you’ll probably need to hire a professional roofer to work alongside your solar panel installer. However, it’s absolutely doable.

If you have a metal roof, it’s only normal to worry about the potential of cracks that could happen as a result of a bad installation. Before you call up a solar panel installer, you probably are going to want to learn about the perks and pitfalls of having them on a metal roof.

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Is Installing Solar Panels On A Metal Roof Dangerous?

There are a lot of rumors regarding solar panel installation, especially when it comes to metal roofs. Many people assume that installing anything on a metal roof is a bad idea. However, this is only a half-truth. It’s only truly dangerous to your roof if the solar panels aren’t connected properly or if the installation is botched.

When installed improperly, solar panels can cause leaks in a roof. More alarmingly, they also can cause roofing to become electrically-charged, which can potentially cause a fire or shock people nearby. This is why it’s so important to make sure that you have a qualified person doing your installs.

What People Use To Install Solar Panels On A Metal Roof

There are a couple of primary methods that people use when installing solar panels on metal rooftops. They are as follows:

  • Thin Laminate Panels. If you have solar panels that are made of a thin laminate film, then you’re in luck. These can usually be stuck or even glued onto the roof without a problem.
  • Rack Mounted Panels. You may need to have specialized racks for this, but they are able to be used and you won’t have to worry about drilling through your shingles. This is only a method that can be used with simple metal roofs.
  • Strip And Go. This unique attachment style requires the installers to have a roofer onboard. They will need to remove a portion of your roof (the stripping) and then adding asphalt shingles to the area where the metal plates once were. This gives the roof the appearance of having solar panels built directly into it.

How Common Is Having A Metal Roof?

Believe it or not, it’s a lot more common than it once was. Most of the newer homes that are built today have metal roofs. So if you have a newer home, you may want to check to see if you have a metal rooftop before you call up installers.

How To Find Someone To Install Solar Panels On Your Metal Roof

While metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular, the truth is that many solar panel installers do not feel comfortable installing their panels on metal roofs. This is partly because the skills required can be more than what they’re used to, and partly due to the issue of insurance. Finding someone to do it, therefore, can be a little hard. Here’s how you can make it happen.

  • Start off by talking to your potential solar panel providers (if you already have someone in mind) about the type of panels that you will be receiving. If the panels are laminate, chances are that they will be able to be installed by the company itself.
  • Explain to the company that is selling you the panels what’s up with your roof. Most customer service reps who work in the solar industry will be able to tell you what you should do as a metal roof owner. You should ask if the type of panels are compatible with metal roofing and if they will be able to do the installation themselves.
  • If they cannot do the installation, hit up the internet and find three other solar panel installation companies near you. Google is great for this. We suggest getting at least three businesses so that you can both price shop and hopefully find at least one company that will be willing to do the job.
  • Before you get any price quotes, ask if they do metal roofs. If they do, you might want to ask if they ever require the help of a roofer. This is particularly important if you have a roof that involves complex stylings or a customized tile.
  • Once you choose a solar panel crew, start looking for a roofer—if they ask you to. The good news is that this is actually the easier part. Almost all roofers will be happy to help you out.
  • Schedule both and make sure that each company has the info they need to coordinate work. From there on, you should be good to go.

Why Solar Panel Installers Hate Metal Roofing

If you’re in an area where solar panels aren’t quite common yet, then you might have experienced a company that hung up as soon as they heard you say “metal roof.” It’s sadly not uncommon. Metal roofing is considered to be the hardest type of roofing for solar panel installation purposes.

With most other types of roofing, it’s possible to use hammers and nails to pierce through shingles, then use tar to help ensure that the roof remains leak-free. Metal doesn’t have that capability, as metal shingles are prone to cracking. Moreover, removing the shingles themselves can be a pain in the butt.

But, there’s a bigger issue that impedes a lot of companies from installing roofing: the newness of the process. Metal roofs are still somewhat new—at least in their modern form. This means that companies haven’t fully figured out the best way to handle installation on roofing and that training employees can be a bit. So some companies are still skittish about it.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels On A Roof?

This actually varies greatly depending on the wattage of your system. Most homes in the United States will have systems that are between 3kW to 8kW in rating, with 6Kw being the most common. A typical system will cost between $2.50 to $3.50 to install, though some may charge extra due to the presence of metal roofing.

A typical solar panel is pretty large, often upwards of 400 square feet. This means that a typical installation can range between $9,000 to $28,000 depending on the wattage as well as the overall size of the panels. While the range itself is high, you can expect a price tag of around $19,000 for panels on a metal roof.

If the price of solar panels is intimidating, don’t panic. They pay for themselves in both tax rebates as well as decreased electricity bills. In fact, many companies will even help you finance them. When in doubt, just ask what is available to you.

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Related Questions

How long do solar panels usually last?

This is a loaded question since solar panel creation is currently going through a major change. New improvements in R&D gave scientists ways to increase durability without increasing the price tag. So, to a point, it depends on what panels you got as well as when you got them.Older solar panel models have a maximum lifespan of seven to 10 years, depending on maintenance and current weather conditions. Newer panels boast a lifespan that can be up to 20 years with proper maintenance. No matter how you look at it, it’s still a great long-term investment.

Do solar panels work at night?

While some rumors have gone around claiming that they do, the truth isn’t quite so simple. Solar panels don’t actually work at night or during days here everything is cloudy and overcast. They do, however, come with the ability to gain a lot of power during the day and store that energy for nighttime use.So while you cannot get new power from your solar panels after the sun sets, you shouldn’t assume that they are going to be totally useless once the sun’s not there. They still can provide some power through the use of the bank.

Can solar panels gain power from strong moonlight?

This is a strange answer for many since the moon can shine brightly at times, but no. The key element that makes solar panels capable of making energy is the photon. Photons are a part of natural sunlight. Moonlight is a reflection of the photons that hit the moon. It doesn’t produce them itself.Since there are no photons in moonlight, it’s not actually possible for solar panels to produce any energy during the night. Well, at least you get to enjoy the beautiful moonlight, right?

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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