To Roof or Not to Roof: Deciding Whether to Replace Your Roof Before Installing Solar Panels

Up close view of an asphalt shingle roof and a homeowner making repairs

Investing in solar panels isn’t a decision to be made lightly and requires careful planning and consideration. A common question among those considering solar panels is whether or not their roof is suitable. A new roof isn’t always necessary; however, it is important to have an understanding of your roof’s condition when starting the process of solar installation


This is a critical consideration because the condition of a roof can significantly impact the durability, efficiency, and performance of a rooftop solar system. Understanding several crucial factors can help you make an informed decision and ensure the long-term quality and efficiency of your system.

A Seamless Relationship

The relationship between a roof’s structural integrity and the efficiency of solar panels should be evaluated. A compromised or aging roof can impact the effectiveness of your solar system.

Structural Integrity

A compromised roof structure poses a risk not only in the solar panel installation process but also to the safety and durability of the entire property. It’s vital to assess the condition of the roof’s framework to ensure it can withstand the additional weight of solar panels and the potential stresses posed by varying weather conditions (such as the weight of snow buildup).

Optimal Positioning

Solar panels perform best at an ideal orientation and angle, maximizing sun exposure and energy generation. A deteriorating or uneven roof surface can hinder the installation team’s ability to position the panels optimally, resulting in reduced energy absorption and overall efficiency.

Safe and Smooth Installation

A strong roof provides a secure foundation for the seamless installation of solar panels. Any underlying issues with the roof can complicate the installation process, leading to potential delays, added costs, and even long-term maintenance complications.

Male solar installer in safety gear including vest and hardhat aligning solar panels on roof

Roof Considerations Before Installing Solar Panels

With a solid understanding of why the health of your roof is so important to a successful solar panel installation, you can move on to assessing how your roof measures up. Consider asking yourself these three questions:

1. What is the Condition of Your Roof?

Not all roofing is created equal, and when it comes to installing solar panels assessing your roof for any structural issues, significant wear and tear, leaks, cracks, or missing shingles or tiles is critical. In addition, vents, flashing, and underlayment should also be checked. If your roof has a skylight or there is an attic, these elements should also be inspected closely to ensure no damage exists in the roof’s understructure.

2. What Roofing Material is Used?

The type of roofing material will also play a role in whether or not it is compatible with solar panels. Different roofing materials—such as tile, metal, or asphalt shingles—have different load-bearing capabilities and some are easier to drill into or attach add-ons to than others. 


The good news is asphalt shingles—which are the most common roofing material in the United States of America—are one of the most compatible options for solar panels due to their flexibility and durability.

3. How Old is Your Roof?

If your roof is five to ten years away from needing a replacement, we recommend having your roof assessed by a roofing professional before installing solar panels to get a quote on a roof replacement. As your new solar system will have a lifespan of 20-25 years, it is ideal for your roof to hold up as long. 


Depending on when the roof was installed, it may not be compatible with the hardware and technology necessary for mounting and supporting the weight of the solar panels. Roofing materials such as flashings and sealants can become outdated and less effective over time, increasing the likelihood of water leaks and damage.

Up close view of an asphalt shingle roof and a homeowner making repairs

Replacing Your Roof

If you do need a new roof, lining up the replacement with the installation of your new solar panel system can minimize potential disruptions and maximize cost savings and benefits. By leveraging the federal solar tax credit—homeowners can significantly offset the overall investment.


Depending on the state you live in, there may also be state-level incentives you can take advantage of, such as tax rebates and property exemptions which further contribute to the viability of an integrated roof replacement and solar panel installation strategy.


If you need to replace your roof after your solar panels are installed, reach out to your solar installer. At Blue Raven Solar, we will coordinate your solar panel removal and then reinstall your system to ensure warranties remain intact. Our support team can provide a quote, and we work hard to make sure we’re scheduling the reinstallation as close to the roofers’ timeline as possible to minimize the downtime of your system and savings. Once we remove the panels they will be stored on your property while your new roof is put on, and then after the roof has passed the necessary inspections, our team will come out and reinstall your system. If you have any questions about our removal and reinstallation services, please reach out to our customer support team at 1-800-377-4480 or

Long-Term Sustainability of Your Solar Panel System

We know the decision to replace your roof before installing solar panels requires careful consideration. While the cost of a roof replacement may seem daunting, ensuring structural integrity is essential to the smooth installation of solar panels. 


By prioritizing the evaluation of your roof’s condition and seeking expert guidance throughout the process, you can experience a successful integration, optimal performance, and long-term sustainability of your solar panel system.


At Blue Raven Solar, we are here for each step of the solar installation process, which includes a home visit from our site surveyors who will inspect the stability and compatibility of your roof prior to making the switch to clean, renewable energy.  


Do you want to know if your roof is compatible for a solar panel installation?

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