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Is My Roof Good for Solar Panels?

Publish Date: February 12th, 2020

Think of your roof as a canvas and solar panels as the medium we design with. Our home solar designers create the most efficient system they can given the unique features of your home. Six key factors will determine if your roof is a good fit for solar panels or not:

  1. What direction does your roof face?
  2. How shaded is your roof?
  3. Does your roof have enough space for solar panels?
  4. What is the angle of your roof?
  5. How old is your roof?
  6. What is your roof made of?

You don’t need to have the perfect room for your roof to be good for solar panels. The best way to find out if your home and roof are good candidates for solar is to talk to our team – they are non-commissioned and are here to answer your questions, no pushy sales pitches.

Which direction does your roof face?

Roofs that face east, south, or west are great! Roofs that face north are not ideal in the U.S. because we are in the northern hemisphere and the sun exposure would be limited. While a portion of a homeowner’s roof may be oriented north, other south, east, and west-facing sections may be sufficient for solar. 

How shaded is your roof?

The next step to figuring out if your roof is good for solar panels is to look at the shading. Are there any large trees casting shadows on your roof? Are there trees above the roofline? Have any trees been removed since the satellite image was taken? The more sun exposure your roof has, the better! Trees, chimneys, swamp coolers, and other buildings may shade your roof and will affect its solar potential. You don’t need 100% sunshine on your roof for a viable system, though. Our designers use advanced solar design software using satellite imagery and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) to accurately model shading and estimate solar production.

house with solarThis graphic demonstrates shade modeling on a home and where the solar panels would best be placed. The brighter the color, the more sunlight that side of the roof is getting.

Does your roof have enough space for solar panels?

The next feature that will determine whether your roof is good for solar panels is its size and how many roof surfaces you have. In general, you will need room for at least eight panels, which is Namaste Solar’s minimum system size. Systems installed on a single, large roof surface are easier and cheaper to install, but it’s OK if your system is broken into separate sub-arrays on multiple roof surfaces.

What is the angle of your roof?

The pitch of your roof affects the amount of solar production and how the panels will be mounted to your roof. Pitch refers to the angle of your roof, and we can work with roofs from zero degrees (flat roof) to 45 degrees. Any steeper than 45 degrees is too steep for us to safely work on and it will cut down greatly on the amount of solar production possible. Many companies will disqualify homes with flat roofs due to the added work involved, but Namaste Solar will go the extra mile to coordinate with roofers to get you solar panels that will fit with your specific roofing needs.

How old is your roof?

The age of your roof is also important. Will you need to replace your roof within 1-3 years? If so, we will likely recommend waiting to install your new roof before installing solar panels. Your roof does not need to be brand new to go solar. It needs to be in good condition with no leaks or visible damage. Your roof will likely need to be replaced before the end of your solar system's lifespan, but the great news is that the cost to de-install and re-install a solar system is very affordable.

What is your roof made of?

The most common materials roofs are made from are asphalt/composite shingles. There is also concrete tile, clay tile, stone coated, corrugated metal, standing seam metal, rubber membrane, wood shake, T-lock, and rolled tar roofs. We will want to know what type of roof you have because it will determine how and if we can mount solar panels onto your roof. The different types of roof material will also determine price due to the different mounting hardware and complexity of the job. We can help you find out what type of roof you have if you don’t know.

Is your home a good fit for solar panels?

Remember that you don’t need the perfect, south-facing, 100% sunny roof for your home to be a good candidate for solar panels. There are many factors that decide whether solar makes sense for your home. We want to help as many people go solar as we can, but we’ll also be the first to tell you if solar isn’t right for you. Get started with a free quote – we’ll answer any questions you have about solar and put together a free, custom solar quote so you can see what solar would look like for your home.


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