As solar energy becomes more in demand I frequently get asked about the type of roofing that can be used in conjunction with the roof mounted solar panels. My reply is a question, “How much do you want to spend when it comes time to replace your roof?”. Of course the answer is usually “as little as possible.” Then wouldn’t it make sense to initially install a roof that will out last the solar panels? The cost to replace the roof with a solar panel system installed will need to include a contractor to come out to remove the panels so a new roof can be installed. Then once the new roof has been installed reinstall the solar panels.
Inevitably you will replace your roof at least once in your lifetime. An asphalt shingle roof is an affordable and attractive roof covering but has a life expectancy in the Northwest region of anywhere between 20 to 50 years. 50 years might be pushing it but that’s what most shingle manufactures are saying for their higher quality shingle. In my opinion you can expect up to 30 years on a high end shingle before the protective granules will not be as effective in protecting the actual waterproofing material, the asphalt.For sloped roofs over a 1 in 12 pitch I tend to recommend a standing seam metal roof. If installed correctly a metal roof will truly last 50 years plus. The finish may degrade but the galvanized steel will still perform well enough to keep your investment dry for many years after the paint finish has degraded.The initial investment in a metal roof costs more then an asphalt shingle roof but will be the least expensive over time.
For most people who install solar panels on their roof it’s not about saving money on energy costs. It’s more about being Earth friendly and using the energy from the sun as a renewable resource. Keeping this in mind, it also makes sense to utilize a roofing product that will last the longest and can be recycled when replaced.
So when you decide to move towards being Earth friendly and install solar as your energy resource then make the extra investment and have a standing seam metal roof installed. You will be contributing to a greener Earth in more ways then one!