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Can Solar Panels be Installed on any Type of Roof?

Solar panels offer many fiscal and environmental benefits. They are a source of natural energy that when installed properly on the roof of a home will help slash power bills while saving the environment. The best part about solar panels is they are able to be installed on almost any roof and all you need for them to work is the sun! From asphalt shingles to wood and tile, solar panels are an excellent option for your next home upgrade.

What Different Types of Roofs can solar panels be installed on?

When searching for the best roof for solar panels, the answer is there isn’t one! Solar panels can be installed on a wide array of materials and there are no limits. Some roofs may require a tricky install however once mounted the solar panels will be just as effective as a roof with an easy solar panel install. Check out below to see the types of roofs solar panels can be installed on.

Asphalt Shingles

Solar panel installation on asphalt shingles is inexpensive and straightforward. Studs are drilled into the existing 2x4’s in the roof and then the solar panels are mounted. Asphalt shingles are the most widely used roofing materials and if they are on the roof of your home, your solar panel installation will be cost-effective and easy.

Clay & Slate Tiles

Can you put solar panels on a tile roof? The answer is yes but the installation will be more complicated. Clay and slate are beautiful roofing options but due to the fragile nature of the tiles, they must be removed to mount the solar panels. The tiles that are removed are then replaced with flashing and a mounting foot. Custom hooks and mounting racks will also be needed to perfectly fit the area where tiles were removed. Due to this installing solar panels on clay and slate tiles will be more expensive.

Non-tiled Concrete Roofs & Rubber Roofs

Concrete and rubber roofs are seen on condos, commercial buildings, and homes with a modern design and are an excellent option for solar panels. These roof types will have an easy installation and may not even require drilling. The solar panels will need to be angled toward the sun in order to get optimal light and this is usually done using a ballast system. This consists of a weighted rack that holds the solar panel in place and allows it to be angled toward the sun. The ballast system makes this installation very affordable as no drilling or construction is required.


Installing solar panels on a wood roof is a very similar installation process to an asphalt shingle roof. The wood is durable enough that the shingles can be drilled through and the mount can be placed on an existing 2x4. Wood is more brittle than asphalt shingles so you will need to ensure you have a qualified contractor install your new solar panels. If care is not taken when drilling into the roof this can result in cracked and damaged shingles.


Solar panels can be easily installed on metal roofs however the installation process may vary depending on what type of roof you have. If your roof has a metal seam a panel mount can easily be attached to the seams and requires no extra work. If your metal roof is corrugated, your solar panel expert will need to drill a hole for the mount to go in. Similar to asphalt and wood shingles this poses no threat of water damage as the area that is drilled is sealed with a waterproof sealant.

What is the Best Roof Design for Solar Panels?

After learning about the variety of surfaces that solar panels can be mounted on you may find yourself googling “best roof design for solar panels”. The good news is there are mounting solutions for almost every roof even if you didn’t see your roof type listed above. Some roofs may be more cost-effective to install solar panels on however there is not a "best" roof type as solar panels can be installed on almost all roofs.

Do I Need to Replace My Roof Before Installing Solar?

Depending on the age of your roof, you should consider replacing it before installing solar panels. The average life of an asphalt roof is about 25 years. If your roof is older or damaged, replacing it prior to installing solar panels can save you money and prevent you from paying for solar panel installation twice. If your roof is in good condition or fairly new you are good to install solar panels as is!

Are there roofs that won’t work for solar?

While solar can be installed on most types, there are a few roofs that solar panels cannot be installed on. Roofs that are extremely steep or have a pitch of over 40 degrees will not work for solar (think A-frame homes). The steepness of the roof does not allow for the panels to sit at an angle at which they are efficient. The installation on steep roofs is also almost impossible due to the angle.

Additionally, if your roof is always in the shade solar panels will not be effective for your home. If there isn't the best roof direction for solar panels due to your roof fully being covered in shade your home will not be viable for solar panel installation.

Complete Solar Is Here To Help With Your Home’s Solar Panel Installation

Complete Solar wants to help make your home energy efficient and make the world a better place by utilizing solar power. We know any upgrades on your home are a big deal and we want to help you throughout the process. Contact us today for more information on solar energy and to see what you can save by switching to solar. We look forward to working with you!

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