Is My Roof Good for Solar Panels? Here’s What to Consider

White, single-level house with exposed beams and high pitched roof line

Making informed decisions is an important part of making the switch to renewable energy. Many homeowners think about several details but often forget one important question: Is my roof good for solar panels? A homeowner’s roof type and condition can make or break whether solar is a possibility.  


Our priority at Blue Raven Solar is to give homeowners the equipment to produce clean energy that is safe and affordable while guiding them step by step through the installation process. We consider roof condition, material, space, pitch angle and direction, and sun exposure for maximum production. 

Traditional shingle roof line with different pitches in varigated brown tones

Factors in Question

During the array design process, one of our team members or site surveyors will visit your home to assess your roof and identify potential problems. For example, older roofs may need repairing or be replaced before our team can continue with your custom system design or installation.


If there are concerns about roofing conditions, our expert site surveyors will take note and our team will determine the safest and most cost-effective way forward. Homeowners are always notified, and many choose to go ahead and fix any potential problems (fixing shingles or drainage issues) or reroof their home (partial or full, depending on the situation) prior to installation. If our team determines installing solar would be unsafe, we will pause the project until conditions are more stable. 

Our photovoltaic (PV) designers use many factors to determine if a roof is safe and ready for installation, including, but not limited to:

  • Age: The condition of roofing materials degrades over time.


  • Climate: Different areas throughout the country experience different types of weather patterns including extremes. If you frequently experience warmer weather with direct sunshine, your roofing material may result in quicker degrading. The same can be true for areas with frequent inclement weather like Minnesota, Washington, and Oregon.


  • Visible Wear & Tear: Damage present on the roof might be a sign it’s ready for replacement. Most homes use composite shingles, which are coated in small granules. Shingles in poor condition will likely have large patches of missing granules. They may also have white fibers from the underlayer showing. Additionally, torn or missing shingles are a warning sign your roof might need to be re-shingled. 


This is also precautionary to ensure your roof will not have any problems after your installation is complete. 

Diagram illustrating 6 different types of roof material, 3 of which are accepted as suitable for solar panels

The standard for most homes is asphalt shingles. This is a great base for a solar panel installation because the installation equipment blends in seamlessly. Most tile roofs and some metal roofs are also good foundations for solar panels.


Roofs made of slate or wooden shingles may not withstand the weight of your array, though there is specialized equipment that can be used during the installation process to ensure stability. If your roof has two or more layers of shingles, this could compromise the weight of your roof and its longevity. Our solar experts will take this into consideration, if necessary, and can help guide you to the best decision.

Roof Space

The space on your roof needs to allow for enough panels to be installed to meet or exceed your energy production needs. This is calculated based on your energy usage, sun exposure, and the efficiency of the solar panels being installed. Blue Raven Solar uses tier-1, monocrystalline panels which are smaller and more efficient than other types of panels, so more can fit in a smaller space.  


In the United States, most homes need about 19-23 solar panels, which equates to 335-405 square feet, with each panel measuring 17.55 square feet. A typical roof has about 1,300 square feet, so there is plenty of space. To get a closer estimate, you can use tools like this roofing calculator or reach out to a professional for assistance. Within that estimate, make sure you factor in fire safety codes, which can vary by state.  

Modern home with minimal roof slope and small slat exterior
Roof Angle and Direction

In the Northern Hemisphere, it is optimal for solar panels to face south. Many homeowners with east and west-facing roofs can still experience thousands of dollars in savings, but the placement of the panels may need to be adjusted. 


Specific pitches and angles for roofs and panels vary based on location, though having them angled at 20-30 degrees is ideal. This means it is best for the roof to be sloped, but there are installation methods that can make up for the difference.

Sun Exposure

Depending on your energy production needs, your roof will need to have direct exposure to the sun. For optimal energy production, sunlight rays between 9am-3pm all year long is ideal. Through tools like the National Renewable Energy Lab’s insolation maps and Google’s Project Sunroof, you can determine how many hours of sunlight your roof currently receives on average. 


Every state has a different climate, but most climates are well-suited for solar energy production, even the rainy ones! High-quality panels can convert indirect sunlight just as well as direct sunlight, so don’t worry if you’re in the Pacific Northwest or the rainy southeast. 


Additionally, if there is a large amount of shade over your roof due to trees, some homeowners will invest in tree trimming, either on their own or through a professional service. This can make all the difference for solar success.

Protecting Your Home

Many homeowners are concerned with adding solar to their roof, but when working with a reputable solar panel installer like Blue Raven Solar, quality checks and additional measures are taken to ensure no structural damage. We complete thorough roof inspections before and after installation and in-depth assessments. Because accidents can happen, we have a ten-year workmanship warranty to protect homeowners from paying for unexpected repairs. In addition to the workmanship warranty, we provide a 25-year manufacturer’s warranty and a two-year production guarantee.


We want to give homeowners a superior solar installation experience, from start to finish, and this includes setting our customers up for savings with reliable foundations. 


Are you wondering if your roof is good for rooftop solar? Get a free quote and start your solar journey today! 

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