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Can You Install Solar Panels in Pittsburgh on a Metal Roof?

Aug 02, 2021

For years, solar panels have been touted as the home energy solution of the future. Fortunately, in recent years, the cost of installing solar panels has declined significantly. In the past, cost was a major barrier for homeowners considering the benefits of solar energy, but now that accessibility is greater, more people in Pittsburgh than ever before are contemplating adding solar panels to their roofs.

Utilizing solar panels not only helps the environment, but the move can also provide some significant cost savings benefits when it comes to home heating and cooling. Solar panels are also often potential tax break incentives. In the end, for many homeowners, the reality is that the more energy efficient their home, the more home value stands to increase. However, while many homeowners have recently made the switch to a metal roof to take advantage of similar energy savings and home value boosts, the question often remains: is it possible to double the benefits and add solar panels to a metal roof?

Assess Your Current Roof

When it comes to installing solar panels, you’ll first want to consider the condition of your current roof. Regardless of your roofing material, to justify the installation cost of solar panels, it is important to consider your roof’s lifespan to avoid having to remove and reinstall your panels in the future. In general, solar panels can last from 25 to 30 years, so if your roof will need replacing during that time, it may be beneficial to update your roof first.

Whether you’re updating your Pennsylvania roof or considering installing solar panels onto the existing roof of your home, compatibility is key. You’ll want to consider the material of your roof, its pitch, as well as the solar panel orientation and how much shade your roof gets. When it comes to roofing materials, you do have quite a few options. Both asphalt singles and tile roofs are suitable for solar panels, as they offer simple installation unlike materials such as wood or slate, which are not ideal. However, when it comes to compatibility with solar panels and maintaining the integrity of your roof, metal roofing is the way to go.

Why Metal Roofing?

Metal roofing is a popular choice that has been on the rise and shows no sign of stopping. Many choose metal roofing because it provides endless options for color and appearance, effortlessly complementing many architectural styles. For those who are environmentally conscious, it is important to note that, unlike other roofing materials, the majority of a metal roof is recyclable.

Metal roofing will also outlast other standard roofing materials by a long shot—it can withstand more of what the elements can dish out and provides you reassurance that you may only need to update your roofing once every 50 years. For this reason, odds are that your metal roof will outlive your solar panels, requiring only a single installation. By contrast, traditional asphalt shingles will only last between 15 to 30 years and may require you to pay to remove your solar panels during a roof replacement, then reinstall them once your new roof is complete.

Double Your Eco-Friendly Benefits

For those in Pittsburgh, who are conscious about sustainability and the imprint they leave on their environment, metal roofing and solar panels are the perfect combination. Both can last decades without the need for more materials, and both can be recycled once they do require replacement. On its own, metal roofing, especially cooling metal roofing, can make your home more energy efficient, requiring reduced natural resources.

When combined with solar panels, a metal roof can provide significant cost savings for both heating and cooling costs. For that reason, although metal roofing does require a bit more cost up-front, metal roofing is your best bet if you’re looking to add solar panels to your home. In the long term, when you choose a metal roof and solar panel installation, you’ll experience a substantial return on your investment in the way of energy savings, reduced replacement costs, home value, and insurance perks.

Installing Solar Panels on a Metal Roof

Most solar panel installation includes some form of drilling into your existing roof, which is where homeowners often find themselves a bit concerned. The fear is that no matter the quality and weather-tightness of the roof itself, the addition of solar panels could introduce the potential for leaks and deterioration. However, modern metal roofing eliminates that worry.

Standing seam metal roofing allows for the installation of traditional solar panels without the need for drilling. Instead of drilling through the roofing materials to fasten the panels to the roof decking, solar installers can use special clamps to fasten the solar panels to the raised “standing seams” of a metal roof. This option eliminates any potential for leaks or other damage that could compromise the integrity of the roof. Since no holes are being drilled, installation also tends to be faster, reducing labor costs.

Other types of metal roofing also allow for simplified solar panel installation. Metal roofing tiles are becoming increasingly popular, as they provide a look similar to traditional shingles. In response, solar companies have developed solar panel tiles that can be dispersed among the roofing tiles, a process that involves the individually removal of roofing tiles which are directly replaced with solar panel tiles. This allows for a watertight seal, since one tile is simply being replaced with another. Metal roofing also gives the homeowner the option of using a thin film solar panel instead of the standard silicon photovoltaic (PV) panels. Metal roofing is the only material that is compatible with this thin film solar panel, which maintains a lower profile and is relatively simple to install.

Your Metal Roof Is Compatible with Solar Energy

Now more than ever, installing solar panels is an energy efficient, eco-friendly choice that is relatively pain-free and affordable. However, what matters most is making sure that your roof is up to date and compatible with the installation. Whether you are looking to install solar panels on your existing metal roof or simply want to update your roof in Pittsburgh to accommodate solar energy, rest assured that metal and solar are a match made in heaven. While many materials can accommodate solar panels, nothing compares to the ease and affordability of a metal roof—the only material that can stand up to the long lifespan of your solar panels. To learn more about the installation process, reach out to a qualified metal roofing contractor near you.

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