Which Type Of Roof Is Best For Solar Panels?

which type of roofs is best for solar panels, other factors you should consider

As of 2022, more than 25% of Australian households have solar systems on their roof. It is by far the most common type of installation used in the country — and you probably want the same system. Before you go shopping for parts, though, it’s important you understand which type of roof is best for solar panels.

Lucky for you, many of the common roofing materials used in homes work great with solar panels. Some of the best include metal, tile, and asphalt shingles, as well as tar and gravel roofs.

This article discusses all of those types as well as the other topics listed below. Feel free to tap on the bullets to skip sections:

The 4 best types of roofs for solar panels

Types Of Roofs For Solar Panels
An image displaying various roof types suitable for installing solar panels.

1. Metal roofs

Metal roofs are a popular choice for solar panels due to their durability and longevity. They’re also highly reflective, which helps to increase the efficiency of your solar panels.

Additionally, they’re surprisingly light, which means they won’t put too much weight on your home’s frame. And, if your roof has standing seams, installing solar on them can be both fast and easy.

Get 3 Solar Quotes From Quality Local Installers.

2. Tile roofs

Tile roofs are another good option for solar panels, as they’re highly durable and long-lasting. They’re also highly reflective, which helps to improve solar panel efficiency.

However, they can be quite heavy, so it’s vitally important to consider if your roof is structurally sound enough to support the weight of a solar system.

For further reading: Installing solar panels on tiled roofs

3. Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roof in Australia and, luckily, they work great with solar panels.

They’re relatively inexpensive and easy enough to install solar energy systems on. They also last anywhere between 12-30 years, so they’re durable enough to outlive your system.

4. Tar and gravel Roofs

Tar and gravel roofs are becoming increasingly popular for solar panel installations, as they provide a large, flat surface area for the solar panels.

However, the fact that they’re flat also means that you will likely need additional hardware to have them tilted. That’s going to cost you a bit more on installation.

Or, you could choose to have your solar panels installed flat. It’s not the most ideal because it’s not self-cleaning and not all that efficient but it’s an option nonetheless.

Other things you should consider when installing solar panels to your roof

The material your roof uses isn’t the only thing that’s important. Here are a few things you should also consider:

Roof angle

Solar panels in Australia perform best when they’re tilted at the same latitude angle of where they live. For example, if you live in NSW where the latitude angle is 32°, your panels will be at their most efficient if they also had a tilt of 32°.

Now, if your roof’s pitch isn’t equal to your latitude angle, it’s no big deal. Modern solar panels have become so efficient that even in nonoptimal conditions, they’re still going to be worth your money.

In any case, you can use the image below as reference on best angle for solar panels per state.

Ideal angle orientation of solar panels
An image of Ideal angle orientation of solar panels

Roof direction

What direction your roof is facing also affects the efficiency of your solar panels. Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, solar modules can generate the most amount of power if they’re facing north.

If that’s not possible, east and west-facing orientations are also good options. East generates more electricity in the early morning while west does better during the late afternoon.

A south facing roof, on the other hand, generates the least amount of power so it’s the least recommended. They can still be great investments, though.

For further reading:

Shading Issues

Shading is one of the most significant challenges for home solar and panel installation and leads to a drop in the efficiency of the solar panel system.

When installing solar panels, it’s important to consider the location and intensity of shading from trees, buildings, or nearby structures. If there is shading present, your installer can do a shading analysis to see where it’s best to install solar panels.

In situations where shading is unavoidable, here are a few solutions:

  • Use micro-inverters. These are a type of inverter that’s attached to the back of individual solar panels. Compared to the more commonly used string inverters, these are more expensive but shading on panel won’t affect the power output of the whole system.
  • Use power optimizers. Power optimizers are similar to microinverters where they’re installed at the back of solar panels directly. Meaning, one shaded panel also won’t affect the rest of the system. Adding them to your string inverter is going to cost extra, though.
  • Consider installing solar panels elsewhere. If you have space on your property, a ground-mounted solar installation is feasible. You could also have your modules on a detached part of your property, like your garage for example.

Get 3 Solar Quotes From Quality Local Installers.

Your roof’s condition

Every type of roof has an estimated lifespan. A tile roof lasts the longest at about a hundred years, metal roofs last anywhere between 40-75, tar and gravel about 20-30, and asphalt has the shortest lifespan at 12-30 years.

If your roof’s age is nearing the end of its life, it’s going to be more practical if you had it done before installing solar panels. This is because the standard lifespan for modern modules is at 25 years. Some even last all the way to 40.

Available roof space

Your available roof space will dictate how many solar panels you can install. This, in turn, puts a limit on how much power your system will be able to generate.

If you don’t have a lot of space on your roof, the best solution is to get the most efficient solar panel system that you can afford. The more efficient the panels are, the more power they can generate with limited space.

On the other hand, you could choose a different part of your property for your solar installation.


Residential solar panels generally come in either black (monocrystalline) or blue (polycrystalline).

Monocrystalline is the superior choice because it’s more efficient and therefore produces more power. To me, black also looks much better. The downside is that it’s also a bit more expensive.

Polycrystalline, on the other hand, is a tad bit inferior in terms of power output and efficiency but also cheaper. In my opinion, blue also doesn’t look as good. But, hey, it’s all subjective.


Which Roof Tiles Are The Best?

Tile and metal roofs are great options because they’re going to outlive your solar panels. But, on the other hand, asphalt singles are also the most common type of roof in Australia installing solar panels on these roofs have become easier to do for installers.

What Color Roof Is Best For Solar Panels?

Lighter colored roofs are the best because they’re more energy efficient. They reflect the sun’s radiation which also keeps your home at a more stable temperature.

Can Solar Panels Be Installed On Any Roof?

Slate and wood roofs aren’t ideal for solar panels because they’re more brittle than other types. For one, it’s dangerous for the installers themselves. Moreover, an entire solar array is heavy and these types of roofs might not be able to support it.

Conclusion: What roof is best for solar panels?

The best roof for solar panels is the one you have. However, there are a few factors you should consider, too.

Mostly, though, you just want to make sure that your roof outlasts your solar panels because it’s going to be so much more expensive to fix a roof that already has an solar array installed. So make sure that your solar installer knows how old your roof is and if it needs any repairs.

That being said, we have a network of pre-vetted installers that are ready to help. If you’re ready, we can get you 3 FREE quotes from them right now.