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Green American Home

Solar energy and Metal Roofs

Metal Roofs and Solar Installation

If you’re a property owner looking to roof or re-roof your home or another structure, you must consider how your roofing decision will impact your future energy demand and costs. Failing to do this is short-sighted and will lead to your energy costs being higher than they need to be.

Your Roofing Decision Impacts Your Future Energy Demands and Costs

As a manufacturer of metal roofing, we have taken considerable steps to ensure that our products are energy efficient in terms of reducing summer heat gain.Our Green American Home metal roofs address all 3 forms of heat transfer – radiant, conductive, and convective – to achieve a roof system of maximum energy efficiency.

While these components and attributes of our metal roofing products save energy through reduced air conditioning demand, we also have engineered methods for attaching solar panels to our roofs for property owners who want to create energy with their rooftops.

Solar Energy Production System Life Expectancy vs. Investment

When considering products that will allow you to use your rooftop to produce energy, it’s important to keep in mind that solar production continually gets more efficient with technology advancements. Because of this, it is wiser to buy a solar system with a 20-year life expectancy rather than one with a longer term life expectancy. Any solar production equipment made today will be sadly outdated in 20 years, likely not making any sense to even operate it beyond that period of time.

Cost Effective Solar Energy

The reality is that traditional crystalline photovoltaic panels offer the most cost-effective solar energy production. Their modular nature is very helpful in allowing repairs and replacement. Additionally, while they are durable and built to last 20 or so years, they do eventually need to be replaced, allowing property owners to step up to even more efficient energy production at that time.

Metal Roofs and Solar Installation

Traditional solar panels can be integrated nicely with metal roofs. With clip-fastened standing seam roofs, the panels can be clamped onto the raised seams so that no or very few actual roof penetrations are necessary. With other types of metal roofs, penetrations of the roof will be necessary but there are many commercially available fastening brackets designed for watertightness that work very well.

If you as a homeowner have plans for solar in the future, discuss those plans with your roofing contractor the next time you roof your home. Depending upon the type of roof you choose to have installed, it may be possible for the installer to take steps now that will simplify solar installation in the future.

Metal roofs are ideal for solar installation. The durability of the metal roof will hold up to roof traffic when the solar array is installed and serviced. The metal roof will also easily last as long as the solar panels themselves. Additionally, a cool metal roof from Green American Home can help to increase the efficiency of the solar panels themselves. And, finally, using a metal roof to save energy while producing energy at the same time with solar, is the best of both worlds.

What will the future bring?

While our current recommendation,is to stick to the tried and true traditional photovoltaic panels (which keep getting better all the time), we are pleased to say that there are other things on the horizon. At some point in the future, we believe that the coatings on metal roofs themselves will be suitable solar collectors. This truly will be a fully integrated solar roof that makes sense.

More questions about using your roof for energy conservation and production? Ask our expert, Todd Miller.

Solar shingles? Here’s what we think...

Recently, a leading tech giant business made a big splash in announcing that they will introduce a power-producing roof that is the same or lower cost as a traditional roof. That would be great, but that but the only way it might happen is if the roof lasts for a very, very long time and produces a huge amount of energy over that time that can be sold back to the grid. Unfortunately, that represents a very long term return on investment for homeowners.

As an additional consideration, the product proposed by the tech giant uses actual glass as a base for the roofing shingles. Based on the cost of glass alone, it becomes apparent that this will be a very costly roofing product – considerably higher cost than other roofing products. We predict that their system will have an exorbitantly high initial cost and hoped-for payback over 50+ years. And the payback assumes the product produces energy at a very high rate, something which the company itself has indicated will not be the case.


We are proud members of the Metal Construction Assocation