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 intact.
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.