The Best Roof for Solar Panels: Is Your Home a Fit?

July 15 2021

Home solar installation facing south receiving unobstructed sunlight

You don’t have to have the best roof for solar panels to switch to solar, but it certainly helps! Optimizing your roof for maximum solar production will only save you money in the long run.

Residential solar is on the rise. Everyone wants in on the savings. To make the most out of our investment, you’ll want to figure out your roof’s solar potential.

Homeowners often ask us, “Is my roof good for solar?” Let’s find out! Learn more about the best roof for solar panels below.

Is My Roof Good for Solar?

If you’re wondering, “Is my roof good for solar?”, here are a few things to consider.

Roof Type

The best roof for solar panels is one made of durable materials. Composite shingles, asphalt shingles, concrete tiles, and standing seam metal are a few examples of ideal roof types.

If your roof is made of something like clay, composite metal, slate tile, or wood shake, solar is still an option for you. However, you’ll need to find a residential solar installer with experience in your roof type.

Solar panels are installed on brackets that are bolted to the roof. With slate tile roofing, extra care must be taken to avoid damaging or cracking the slate. This roof type also requires more maintenance in general, which panels may make more difficult.

Roof Age

The next thing to consider is how old your roof is. The best roof for solar panels is one that is less than 15 years old. It’s already a pain to replace a roof, but it’s even more of a pain to replace one with panels. Plus, your panels can’t produce energy during roof replacement.

Residential solar is a long-term investment. The typical panel lifespan is 20 to 30 years. Roofs can last anywhere between 15 and 50+ years, depending on the material. Newer roofs with more longevity are the best option. However, solar panels can be installed on a roof of any age.


Roof size matters. How many panels do you need to install? A typical solar panel takes up 6.5 x 3.25 feet of space. One panel is not going to generate enough energy to cover your needs. Consider whether or not you have space on your roof for a residential solar system.

Keep in mind that your panels do not have to cover your entire electric bill. It is perfectly okay to generate some solar energy and use net metering to get the rest from your utility.

Angle and Pitch

South-facing panels are the most efficient. This is the best direction for solar panels because it allows them to get sunlight most time each day. Panels that face directly east or west generally produce 20% less electricity.

Although south is the best direction for solar panels, that doesn’t mean you can’t choose another orientation. However, you may need to install more panels to make up for lost electricity.

It is ideal to have your panels tilted between a 30 and 40-degree angle. This ensures that the sunlight hits the panels at a perpendicular angle. It also allows snow and rain to slide off more easily.

Again, while it is important to keep the best angle and best direction for solar panels in mind, these factors shouldn’t discourage you from switching to solar.


The best roof for solar panels is one with the most sunlight. If you’re considering residential solar, try to eliminate shade as much as possible. Trim or remove trees that block sunlight. If buildings or other uncontrollable factors are producing shade, consider ground-mounted solar instead.


Climate and location play a big role in how much energy solar panels can produce. Not only that, but extreme weather can produce wear and tear on your roofing and panels.

Rough weather conditions or cloudy and rainy areas aren’t limitations, as long as you have the right panels and installer. High-durability and high-efficiency panels can help combat some of the uncontrollable aspects of climate.

A qualified solar installer can give you an accurate estimate of potential energy production and can tell you if residential solar is a good fit for your home.

By now, you should be able to answer the question, “Is my roof good for solar?” Get a better idea of the amount of solar energy your home can generate below.

Solar Potential

The solar potential of your roof is essentially the amount of solar energy your home could potentially produce. This calculation takes roof size, shading, tilt, and location into account.

So, how do you calculate solar potential?

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has created PVWatts, a free online solar potential calculator. Simply enter your address and some system information (optional) to get an estimate of system output per year.

Residential solar panels installed on  metal roofing

Affordable Residential Solar

Regardless of your solar potential, a quality solar installer can help you take advantage of maximum solar savings. Use Greenlife Solar to find the perfect installation company.

Compare pricing and information on every option in your area for free. Receive solar quotes from qualified installers before you choose.

Every company we partner with is pre-screened for quality. Review your options with confidence, knowing that all the installers you see are reliable and trustworthy.

Maximize Solar Production with Help from a Professional Installer.