Solar panels on metal roofs.

Metal roofs are light, durable, and often made of eco-friendly recycled materials, so it's no wonder that installing solar on metal roofs is an increasingly popular topic among homeowners. If you fall into this category, the good news is that metal is one of the best roof materials for solar panels. Ease of installation, durability, and environmental benefits are just three reasons to consider putting solar panels on a metal roof.

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Key takeaways

  • Solar panels can easily be installed on metal roofs.

  • Specialized mounting setups make this possible, from mounting clamps to Straddle Blocks.

  • Start comparing solar quotes unique to your roof set up on the EnergySage Marketplace today.

Here are the top 5 things to consider if you want to install solar on a metal roof:

  1. It's easy to mount solar panels on a metal roof

  2. Solar metal roofs can host thin-film panels and standard PV panels

  3. Metal roofs are durable and can outlive your solar panels

  4. Solar panels can increase the cooling benefits of a metal roof

  5. Metal roofs and solar panels generate an eco-friendly home

Read on for a more in-depth explanation of all of these topics.

Typically, your solar installer will drill holes in your roof so that they can attach the mounting for your solar panels. This is one of the main areas of concern for many homeowners considering solar, as an improperly mounted solar panel system can cause leaks or other roof issues. Most qualified solar installers offer workmanship warranties and roof warranties to reassure their customers that there will be no issues with the installation.

However, if you have a metal roof, your solar installer likely won't need to make any holes in your roof, which virtually eliminates the possibility of issues down the road. There are a few alternative mounting options that make installing solar on a metal roof easier:

Solar racking for standing seam metal roofs.
  • Standing seam metal roofs: Two solar panel mount manufacturers, Quick Mount PV and Ecofasten, have products designed specifically for metal roofs with standing seams. If you have a standing seam metal roof, your installer can attach panels using a mounting system that clamps onto the roof's seams without making any holes. As a bonus, this type of racking can speed up installation times (and lower your labor costs) because your installer won't have to drill holes into the roof.

Quick Mount PV on metal tile roof.
  • Metal tile roofs: Quick Mount PV also manufactures a Tile Replacement Mount to make installing solar on tile roofs easier, including metal tile roofs. Tile Replacement Mount products are shaped like roof tiles and can be swapped with existing tiles on your roof. In addition to making the installation process easier, they have the bonus of ensuring that your solar installation is completely watertight since your installer is simply replacing tiles on your roof to mount your panels.

Corrugated metal roof racking.
  • Corrugated metal roofs: Unlike the previous two types of metal roofing, corrugated metal roofs usually require drilled holes. Mounting company SnapNrack offers a unique solution for installing solar panels on a corrugated roof. Their solution involves installing Straddle Blocks that sit on top of ridges on the roof and allow for a screw to be driven into the roof itself center. Waterproofing becomes a critical issue with these mounting systems, as your roof will have holes to secure the racking system.

Thin film solar on a standing seam metal roof.

Thin film solar on a standing seam metal roof.

Most homeowners with solar in the United States install standard silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, but homes with metal roofs have another option – thin film solar. Thin film solar can only be installed on certain types of roofs, and standing seam metal roofs are an ideal surface.

While PV panels offer higher efficiency per square foot, thin film solar panels have a lower profile and are easier to install. They also require much less energy to manufacture than silicon solar cells, which can make them a lower-emissions renewable energy option from the start.

MiaSolé, a California-based thin film solar panel manufacturer, markets its panels as an ideal option for properties with metal roofs. You can read more about them in EnergySage's company overview.

Solar panels are highly durable and can last for 25 to 30 years, which is part of what makes them such an excellent investment for your home. However, in many cases, this means that your solar panels can outlive your roof, which can result in an added expense. If your roof is aging, you have to replace it before installing solar panels or incur the additional cost of removing and re-installing your panels when the time comes to replace your roof.

On the other hand, metal roofs are the most durable conventional roofing material available. If you have a metal roof on your home, it will likely last longer than your solar panels' lifespan, reducing expense and hassle in the long term.

Homebuilders and contractors often tout the benefits of cool metal roofing (e.g., metal roofs coated with reflective paint) to keep your home cool in the summer and reduce your energy use. Metal roofs reflect more sunlight than traditional black asphalt shingles; some also have reflective paint to increase this effect. Installing PV solar panels can take your electric bill savings a step further simply by shading the roof's surface.

If you want to make your home truly eco-friendly, metal roofing and solar panels are two of the best ways. Installing a cool metal roof can help you earn points through green building certification programs like LEED and ENERGY STAR, which also encourage home renewable energy options like solar panels. As an added environmental benefit, unlike many other options, both solar panels and metal roofing materials are recyclable at the end of their lifespan.

If homes with metal roofs are typical in your area, you may be able to easily find local companies that have experience installing solar on metal. However, getting multiple quotes from installers would be best to ensure you're working with a company with the right expertise and background for your needs.

The best way to find multiple local solar installers is to register your property on the EnergySage Marketplace. When you join, indicate the location of your property on Google Maps so installers will know that your property has a metal (they will see an overhead satellite image). To ensure that you get quotes from companies who will work on your property, you can also indicate that your home has a metal roof when you set up your preferences after joining.

Find out what solar panels cost in your area in 2024
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  • 100% free to use, 100% online
  • Access the lowest prices from installers near you
  • Unbiased Energy Advisors ready to help
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