Four Best Roofing Materials for Solar Panel Installation

When it comes to roofing materials, there is a wide variety of options to choose from.

Many homeowners go with traditional asphalt shingles as they are among the most common roof materials—they are also affordable and easy to find. However, if you're looking for a residential roofing installation that can accommodate a solar panel system, you should consider the most durable roofing material.

So, what is the longest-lasting material? In general, slate and clay tiles are the most durable roof materials for homes. However, they are more expensive than wood or metal roofing types. There are also alternative roof materials that are more functional and eco-friendly, such as solar shingles and green roofing. They are relatively expensive roofing options because they can be quite difficult to source.

Different Types of Roofing Materials

Below is a list of commonly used materials to help you decide the best option for your roofing project. These are widely used for homes, but some are also applicable if you're looking for commercial roofing installation options.

Composite or Asphalt Shingles

Composite or asphalt shingles are among the most popular roof types for homes, offering a wide range of options for installation and equipment. These roof material options can reduce the overall project cost, even for solar power systems, as their ubiquity can lessen the need for specialized equipment and skills.

Made from fiberglass or cellulose, they typically contain asphalt and other minerals to produce highly durable shingles. Versatile and affordable, composite shingles come in various colors and usually last around 15 to 25 years, depending on maintenance and weather conditions.

As such, most solar installers will recommend replacing asphalt shingles before installing a roof-mounted solar panel system. This is especially important for composite roofs 15 years or older, or already showing signs of wear.

To maximize efficiency, you can choose a contractor that can take care of both solar and roof installation services for your home.


Tile roofing is one of the most common roof material options in the US and can be found across many neighborhoods.

There are different roof types made of tile:

Synthetic Cedar

The specific type of tile used for your solar project determines your overall expenses. For example, installing solar panels on clay tiles will cost more than mounting them onto concrete.

Solar panel installation on a tile roof usually calls for the array to be attached to brackets that keep the panels above the roof. As such, the level at which the panels must be raised will depend on the material.

In the south and other warmer regions, installers have a more thorough understanding of tile roofs and are much more comfortable working with them. If you live in the northern part of the US, where tile roofs are less popular, locating a contractor for your tile roofing project may be more challenging.

For this reason, it's crucial to find an experienced solar and roofing provider that can confidently install a solar panel system onto your tile roof.


Metal roofs with standing seams are among the longest-lasting roof materials and can pair exceptionally well with solar panels. The standing seams make solar panel array attachment easier, reducing installation costs significantly.

Metal roofing materials are also typically made of recycled substances, making them an eco-friendly, sustainable option. They can last well over 30 years, so they’re excellent investments.

Metal roofing with standing seams can accommodate standard and thin-film panels. Because of its composition, metal reflects significant amounts of sunlight not absorbed by solar panels, leading to a cooling effect that can ultimately increase system efficiency.

Tar and Gravel

Among the different kinds of roofing materials are tar and gravel, which are made of layers of sheets attached with roofing felt and hot tar, as well as mineral coatings. Most homes and buildings with flat roofs tend to have tar and gravel.

This type of material may require additional brackets to suit various configurations, such as slanted roofs, making them a viable option for solar panel installation. Because of the additional brackets required, tar and gravel may be more expensive.

What Is the Best Solar Roofing Material for Solar?

Composite/asphalt shingles and metal roofing with standing seams are the best roofing materials for solar panels. Both are durable and provide the ideal surface for mounting a solar panel array, significantly reducing installation costs.

Tiles and tar and gravel roofing are great options, too—but they may require additional brackets to mount the solar array on tilted roofs, making them more expensive.

In any case, your solar and roofing provider will assess your property and steer you toward the best material for your solar project. They will provide accurate cost estimates so you can budget for your project before installation.

How Long Does It Take To Install Solar Panels?

Project timelines will vary depending on the size of your property, the materials to be used, your solar installation company, and the process of acquiring permits in your location. A typical home solar panel installation will usually last around four to six hours.

This excludes other processes, such as initial assessment, system design, permits, and approvals.

For example, securing complete approval to operate a solar system may take around 45 days in California.

Work With the Best. Work With AMECO Solar and Roofing

At AMECO Solar and Roofing, you won't have to worry about talking to different contractors and suppliers, incurring thousands of dollars of overhead costs.

We are a one-stop shop for all solar and roofing needs, from initial assessment to system design and installation. Our team of experienced and certified professionals is here to help you every step of the way so that you can reap the long-term benefits of investing in solar energy without difficulty.

You'll be assigned a dedicated project manager from the get-go, so you can have a clear picture of what your solar project will entail, from materials to labor and costing. Regardless of the roofing material you choose, you can be sure that AMECO Solar and Roofing will deliver the best results for your property.

Contact us today to get started!