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The 3 Best Roofing Material Options for a Solar Installation

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

Solar installer putting on PV solar Panel

Solar paneling is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to add green touches to your customer’s properties, saving them money on heating and electricity while helping you secure further clients. Although it's exciting to install this addition, there's a lot more than the physical paneling you need to think about.

The material you put the solar on matters too! These are the three best roofing material options for a solar installation and why they matter.

Why Get Solar Installed?

Solar PV Panels on roofs

If your clients are still on the fence about solar, they’re not alone! Many people think the only benefit is that it makes their home more green, so they don’t bother with it: but solar can do so much more than that.

Getting solar panels will lower your customer’s electric bills, can increase the value of their home, and, yes- lowers their carbon footprint. This ensures that you can help them enjoy the benefits of more affordable living in a more valuable home: while also effortlessly giving back.

This is an important change that every homeowner should make if they have the chance and a great job for contractors to seal the deal on.

Why Does the Roofing Material Matter?

The roof beneath solar panels matters because if anything goes wrong with it, they’ll have to have the solar panels shifted or removed until it’s fixed and replaced, which will leave them blaming you and possibly costing you future work. Instead, it’s a better idea to walk them through getting their roof replaced and ensure that you can start from a fresh slate.

A new roof will also help them stop any leaks and water damage for at least twenty years, which is an awesome selling point for them. Plus, you can add more insulation, which will help customers save on their heating and cooling bills even further with solar installed.

1. Concrete Roof Tiles

Commercial Solar Panels on roofs

Concrete roofing is a great option for anyone who wants a roof that looks fantastic and is weather-resistant. This type of roofing can last over fifty years, is extremely durable and weather-resistant, and can look fantastic. One of the only issues with concrete roof tiles is that their maintenance can be extensive, and if your customers decide to clear their own roofs in the fall they can accidentally crack or ruin them.

This is a great surface for solar, though, because, paired with insulated roof panels, you can ensure that as little weather as possible will affect the inside of their property, and they can put that solar power to better use.

2. Synthetic Cedar Shake

If your customers love the look of a cedar roof: but want their roof to last more than thirty years, synthetic cedar shake might be their best option. This is one of the most beautiful types of roofing, with a life expectancy of over fifty years if treated well. Most synthetic shakes are also known as composite, made out of recycled materials like rubbers and plastics. Some are also made out of an engineered polymer to stay strong and hardy. This is better than traditional wood shingles because it lasts longer, doesn’t have to be as heavily treated, and can do extremely well in any environment.

Pairing synthetic cedar shake with solar is a great idea because it needs far less maintenance, which means your customers don't have to worry about touching it once you've installed solar. Instead, they’ll just have to clear off any stray leaves like they usually would and enjoy a gorgeous roof that will last longer than the natural wood kind.

3. Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has been extremely popular for over half a century because of how inexpensive it is, how easy it is to install, and how it can keep buildings safe and dry for as long as needed. Most metal roofing comes in a 3:12 or 3 pitch, which means it's perfect for solar since there's less worry about the sharp angle the solar will need to grip to. Your customer’s metal building roof pitch options are important to consider because it also means more debris may try to gather on it.

This is an inexpensive type of roofing that does best on storage and commercial properties but can also do fantastically on homes: and is an awesome choice for anyone considering solar.

How Do I Pick What’s Best For My Clients?

Solar installer putting solar panels on roofs

The type of roof you land on depends on where your client lives, what their budget is: and their personal taste. Everyone wants a different look for their home or feels more comfortable putting their property in the hands of a different kind of material, so help them pick what works for them and their new solar paneling. They'll have both for a long time, so it's a good idea to help them pick a look that they'll like.

Solar Is Worth Swapping To

When it's time to swap out your customer’s roof, consider convincing them into swapping to solar too! This could save them incredible amounts of money while also making their home a little greener for the environment.

Max Shafer is a contributor to the Innovative Building Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling, and interior design. Max is focused on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value, improve sustainability, and create a warm and welcoming ambiance.

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