Asphalt shingle roofs are common in Southern California and are the easiest type of roof to
install solar panels on. If the roof is ten years old or less, the roof is an excellent
candidate for going solar. When the age of the roof is over 10 years, a roof inspection is
highly recommended before proceeding with a solar power installation.
Tile Roofs are more difficult to install solar panels on, but in most cases, with a few
extra steps, a tile roof can support a solar power system with no issues. It is important to
note, that concrete tile roofs (s-tile or flat tile) can support solar installations without
major modifications to the roofing material.
Clay tile roofs require substantial rework of the proposed array location in order to ensure
the roofing system remains water tight. Sullivan Solar Power has installed on every type of
tile roof and will ensure that the solution we provide will ensure the roof is water tight
for the expected life span of the roof.
Many homes in Southern California have flat roofs which require a tilted racking solution to
orientate the solar panels to the south to maximize solar exposure. Typically, a 17 degree
pitch is desirable. Torch down/ asphalt flat roofs are good candidates for a conventional
tilt rack system.
For years people have been fascinated with building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) cells.
One type of BIPV is solar roof tiles which replace a standard roofing material and give the
appearance of a standard roof. The roofing material is in fact the solar cells. While
aesthetically pleasing, solar roof tiles do not produce as much energy as conventional roof
mounted solar panel installations, are a maintenance nightmare, and a fire hazard. We
strongly advise against using this type of solar panel.
Flat roofs with a TPO roof membrane do not lend themselves well to a conventional tilt rack
system which requires roof penetrations. These roof types often require a ballasted solar
panel racking system so as to leave the roofing membrane and corresponding warranty
When the roof of a home does not lend itself well to a roof mounted solar panel
installation, a ground mounted solar array may be a good alternative. Ground mounted solar
power systems are often employed on residential properties with large yards and good solar
access (limited trees, etc.). Additionally, ground mounted solar arrays need to be placed
away from underground utility lines and septic systems, if applicable.