Can Solar Panels Be Installed on Your Metal Roof? (Pro Tips)

January 14, 2021

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Solar Has Evolved with Affordability & Sustainability

The use of solar energy to power man-made items is not new.  Since ancient times, people have channeled the sun's powerful energy in one way or another to make their lives better.  Using solar energy to fuel electric equipment in our homes is a relatively recent phenomenon, however.  In 1954, Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson invented the silicon photovoltaic cell. It was the first time that solar energy was able to provide an alternative energy source.  This technology has been quite useful over the years but just like with anything new, lack of availability and price kept it in the hands of only a few.  In recent years, the lower cost of production has spawned new interest in solar energy. This price reduction, coupled with homeowners' desire to leave less of a print on the environment by reducing energy usage, makes solar technology more readily available to average homeowners. 

sun shining on a solar panel installation

Now that solar panels are more readily available on the market, homeowners are eagerly jumping at the opportunity to own them.  With technology-filled homes driving energy bills through the roof, it's no wonder that homeowners are looking for alternatives to save on energy bills.  What better way to lower the cost of energy than to get it from the most readily available source of renewable energy on the planet?  Since technicians must install solar panels on rooftops, this newfound interest in solar power poses a problem for homeowners in terms of installation. Even though most roof types can have solar panels installed, some roofing material works better than others in terms of ease of installation and price. 

The Rising Popularity of Both Solar Panels AND Metal Roofs

close up of a metal roof that was just installed

Solar panels aren't the only thing trending on roofs.  Metal roofs are also gaining popularity. This type of roofing material used to be used exclusively on barns and warehouses.  Over time, metal's eco-friendliness and durability made it a useful roofing material for homes.  The ability to change the look and color of the metal also helped increase its popularity. Although this roofing material is pricey, its ability to last 50 – 70 years – longer than a typical asphalt shingle roof – and its ability to sustain high winds has also made its popularity soar. 

Still, another thing that makes this roof type very popular is that it can drastically reduce energy costs. Metal deflects the sun's heat, which helps keep the home cooler than most other materials that absorb the sun's heat.  It also keeps the heat during the winter months, reducing the need to use heat, especially in cold climates.  With so many great things about solar panels and metal roofs, it begs the question, "Can solar panels be installed on your metal roof?"

The short answer is yes. You can install solar panels on your metal roof. However, with any new technology, there are both disadvantages and advantages to doing so. While solar panels on a metal roof can be cost-effective and energy-efficient, roof replacement costs and your warranty should also be considered.

Advantages of Installing Solar Panels on Metal Roofs

The best roofing type to install solar panels on happens to be metal.  One reason is that these two are a marriage of environmental responsibility.  This should make any environmentally conscious homeowner very proud to use this combination of metal and solar power.  Metal roofs are also less likely to grow algae on them where the roof and the solar panel meet, creating roof problems such as leaking.  Another reason metal and solar panels work well is that installation is much easier than with other roofs.  Other roofing materials may require lots of drilling and may even require removing some sections and replacement with flashing.  

solar install on metal roof

Metal Roofs Combined with Solar Panels = Increased Efficiency & Savings!

  • Solar panels work well with metal also because both are great and saving the homeowner on energy.  Metal naturally reduces a homeowner's reliance on heating and cooling because it naturally can repel the sun's heat in summer and keep the home's heat from seeping out in winter. 
  • Solar panels help save on energy because reliance on solar power reduces the need to use the electrical power grid.  As a result, energy companies tend to lower monthly bills for homeowners who have solar panels.
  • Your choice to rely on the sun's renewable energy rather than rely exclusively on the power grid can also get you a tax break.  

Disadvantages of Installing Solar Panels on Metal Roofs

With so many great things about the combination of solar panels and metal roofs, it doesn’t seem like there could be any disadvantages.  However, there are a few.  One of them can be that the costs of the installation can be very high. Metal is very durable, beautiful, and eco-friendly, but it is very pricey.  Even though solar panels have decreased substantially in cost over the years and are more affordable to homeowners, it is still a costly investment. Despite both of these things being costly, the sticker shock from the initial price is worthwhile in the long-term. Once the metal and the solar panels are installed, the savings in energy and the tax credits available to create an energy-efficient home are worth it.  

metal roof with before solar panel install

1. Replacement Costs are HIGH!

Another disadvantage is the cost of replacement due to damage.  Suppose a branch happens to fall on the metal roof with a solar panel on it. In that case, even if only a small area of the roof is damaged, the replacement costs can be enormous. 

2. Poor Installation Can Negate Your Warranty

Another issue that can arise is that the part of the roof where your solar panels are installed may negate the warranty if the panels aren’t installed properly. The best way to avoid this is to have both the roofer and the solar panel installer work in tandem to ensure that the panels are installed so that it does not damage the roof, rendering the roof warranty useless.  

Process For Installing Solar Panels on Metal Roofs

Knowing that solar panels and metal complement each other very well, how does the installation work?  Before installing solar panels on your metal roof, the best thing to do is to have a roofer determine if your metal roof doesn’t have any issues. Nothing is worse than having solar panels installed, only to have them removed because your entire roof needs replacing.  This would not only be annoying, but takedown and replacement could be a complete waste of money.  If you recently had your metal roof replaced or installed, solar panel installation shouldn’t be a problem.  But it would be a good idea to reach out to your roofer to determine if solar panel installations could negate the warranty on the roof.  In most instances, it shouldn’t if they are installed correctly. You may have to encourage your roofer and your solar panel installer to work together to ensure that nothing goes wrong in the process.  

Your Type of Metal Roof Can Impact the Install Process

Once it’s determined that it is ok to install the solar panels, the installation should be a breeze.  Installing solar panels on metal roofs is easier than most other types of roofs. There are two types of metal roof: standing seam metal roofs and corrugated metal roofs.  If you have a standing seam metal roof, this is best because there is no need to drill holes in this type of metal roof to attach the solar panels.  These types of metal roofs can use mounting brackets to lock the solar panel into place.  If you have a corrugated roof, chances are your installer will need to drill holes to bolt the solar panels in place.  Most solar panels are installed by bolting them down to the roof, with the exception of the standing seam metal roof.  However, putting a hole in metal is not a good idea. This could cause water damage in the future and can also negate your roof warranty.  However, suppose your solar panel installer follows the instructions that the roofer provides. In that case, this may keep your warranty intact and will prevent damage caused by holes.  

solar panels on a metal roof

Other Things To Consider When Installing Solar Panels on Your Metal Roof

Combining a metal roof with solar panels can come with many advantages. Still, it would be best if you took the time to consider the long-term importance of adding these to your home.  If you plan to move within five years, would this investment in your roof be worthwhile? 

Or can you only see significant savings if you live in your home for decades?  Another thing to consider is if you move, can you take your solar panels with you to your new home and if you could, is this something you should do. Still, you will have to keep in mind that should you decide to sell your home, solar panels could present problems in the selling process. This boils down to whether you own the solar panels or you lease them.  When you own them, it makes the process easier.  If you don’t, then this creates obstacles when selling your home.

expert solar panel installation


Another thing to keep in mind is that a home with solar panels classifies it as a customized home.  Some buyers won’t be interested in having solar panels on the roof.  While you may have enjoyed the incredible savings on solar panels, the person that wants to buy your home may decide that solar panels are a deal-breaker.  

A Word from Our Team at Go Solar New Jersey

There are so many things to think about for solar panel installation on your metal roof. As a homeowner, you should weigh the pros and cons of installing them from the vantage point of how it benefits you as a homeowner and how future buyers may perceive them.  The great thing to know about installing solar panels on metal roofs is that they are a great combination. If you have a standing seam metal roof, your solar panel installation will be the easiest.  


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