Metal & Copper Roofing Blog

Solar Panels and Copper Roofing

We had an inquiry recently from someone who wanted to know if our copper roof products could handle solar panel mounts. It's a fairly common question, and the short answer is yes. Here's what to understand about solar panels and copper roofing.

Can Solar Panels Be Installed Over Copper?

Our copper roofing products can all host roof-mounted solar panels, but, there are some subtleties to a complete answer that someone considering such an installation might want to consider.
  • Mount Compatibility:  This is an important concern when mounting any hardware to a metal roof and especially copper. Because solid copper is incompatible with many other metals, and an incorrect mix can result in electrolysis and greatly accelerated corrosion of adjoining metals, any metal mounts for solar hardware on a copper roof must be either stainless steel or bronze.  Choosing any other metal for your solar mounting hardware risks serious premature corrosion. 

  • Profile Consideration: While it’s true that our copper roofs are available in other profiles, most of the ones we manufacture are diamonds, shingles, tile or shake patterns. Sealing the hardware mounts for solar arrays to some of these more intricate profiles can be a challenge. Do you want to add a challenging detail to a distinctive copper roof?  I’m nervous at the thought!

  • Access: Our copper roof designs can accommodate foot traffic, but they are not intended to host such disruption consistently. Solar panels don’t have moving parts, but they benefit from regular cleaning and do occasionally need attention. With this in mind, the need to walk across a lovely copper roof to service your solar array should be roundly questioned as a design consideration.

  • Aesthetics: Aesthetics is a major concern of mine when it comes to roof mounted solar. I find it particularly challenging to invest in the beauty of a copper roof - especially a tile, or a diamond or some other unique and interesting copper roof profile - and then cover it under solar panels.  

metal-roof-network-solar-on-copper-roofingAs you can see here, when I’ve been asked in the past to find a way to combine copper roofing with solar panels, I try to find a compromise. In this case, we used copper tile on the roof planes that are most visible from the common perspectives, and copper standing seam panels for the section or sections that will hold the solar panels (and their stainless steel mounts!). This way, we get a roof that will last many generations, with solar panels covering only the simplest design.

If you're considering copper roofing with or without solar panels, it is our specialty. We'd love to answer your questions and share more information about our beautiful copper products. Contact us today.

Topics: solar panels and metal roofing, copper roof facts