Installing a solar system on metal will increase the modules’ performance and decrease energy and installation costs as compared to other common roofing materials. Plus, metal also has other environmental benefits
Metal Roofing Makes Solar a More Cost-Effective Residential Option
Emily Folk | Conservation Folks
Solar power is no longer a niche market. Prices are continuing to fall and the technology is improving, leading more and more people to consider adding solar panels to their roofs. The U.S. now has 47.1 gigawatts of installed solar capacity, enough to power approximately 9.1 million U.S. homes.
When deciding on whether to get in on solar, there are a number of factors to consider. You’ll think about your current electricity bill and how much money you should save. You should consider the tax rebates and incentives available to you. You’ll also need to figure out how much soon typically hits your roof to determine how much power you could get from solar panels.
Another aspect to think about is the material your roof is made of. While solar panels can work on almost any roofing materials, some work better than others. With some materials, like slate and cedar, installation can be a challenge. Solar systems also just tend to perform better on some roof types than others. Metal, it turns out, is one of the best roofing materials to install solar panels on.
Metal is one of the easier materials to put solar panels on and allows for installation methods that are better for the long-time performance of your roof and solar system.
With most roofs, you need to install a racking system by drilling into the roof. While installers take care to seal the holes they create, it can still become a potential leak. Strong winds, for instance, can pull on the panel and make the holes wider over time. If you ever remove or adjust your panels, you’ll have to fix up those holes too.
With a metal roof, you don’t need to drill into it. Instead, you can clamp panel mounts onto the roof panels’ standing seams.
Modern solar panels usually come with warranties that they’ll produce energy with relatively high efficiency for 20 to 25 years. After that time is up, they’ll still be functional but may be less efficient. After 25 years, they’ll likely be running at 82.5 percent of their original output.
At this rate, solar modules can outlast many roofs, especially if the roof was already older when the homeowner installed the panels. That means that when it comes time to replace your roof, you’ll have to remove your panels and then reinstall them after you get your new roof. This process can be expensive and will result in a period where you have to go without solar power.
Metals roofs, however, are some of the longest lasting roofs you can get and typically last more than 60 years. That means you won’t have to worry about your giving out before your panels. You’ll be able to replace both your roof and your solar system around the same time if you time it right.
Metal roofs stay cooler than those made with other materials due to the reflective coatings used these days on many of them. This lowered temperature improves the performance of solar panels and reduces your energy needs.
Solar panels get very hot when they’re in the sun. While this heat is a natural result of their function, it reduces their efficiency by upping the resistance of the electrical circuit they connect to. That means you get less electricity from the same amount of sun.
Because metal roofs help keep solar panels cool, you’ll get more energy out of them. This cooling effect also reduced the amount of heat that enters the home through roof, reducing the amount of electricity needed for air conditioning. Metal roofs can decrease cooling costs by as much as 20 percent. Combine that savings with the savings from solar panels, and you’ll see a substantial decrease in costs.
Solar and Metal Roofs
Solar panels and metal roofs are a match made in energy heaven. Installing a solar system on metal will increase the modules’ performance and decrease energy and installation costs as compared to other common roofing materials. Plus, metal also has other environmental benefits that complement the emissions reductions solar energy provides. They’re often made from recycled materials, they last a long time, and you can recycle them once it’s finally time to replace your roof.
Although a solar system can work on almost any roof type, if you’re considering solar panels, you might also want to consider a metal roof, especially if your roof is older. If you already have a metal roof, your home is likely ideal for installing solar panels.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
Emily Folk - Contributing Author
Emily is an environmental writer, covering topics in renewable energy and sustainability. She is also the editor of Conservation Folks.
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