Roof Replacement With Solar Panels: How To Make the Most of It

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Solar Panels | April 1, 2024

Man carrying a solar panel to replace his damaged roof solar panels wonders about solar panel roof replacement, roof solar panels, new roof installation and replacing a roof with solar panels cost, steps, and solar repair.

Many homeowners, when it’s time to replace their roof, wonder if solar panel roof replacement is a practical undertaking.

Others who are looking for ways to lower their home emissions and disconnect from the energy grid, find that placing solar panels on their roof will require an upgrade.

The reason is that some older roof structures can’t support the tracking and mounting requirements for the panel energy system.

So, if you’re considering solar panel roof replacement for either reason, knowing the costs involved, as well as the options you have for taking advantage of solar energy tax breaks can help you choose the type and size of the system you’ll need.

This complete guide to solar panel roof replacement outlines how to conduct the construction so that the transition to green power will be the most cost efficient and simple as possible.

You can calculate the number of solar panels you’ll need using this calculator:

Do I Need To Replace My Roof for Solar Panels?

Many homes have the structural support needed for installing solar panels on the roof.

However, there are some situations where the need to replace your roof after installing solar panels arises.1

In such cases, you’ll be forced to eliminate the panels, replace the roof, and re-install them to meet their initial standard or even better.

Among various costs incurred during the re-installation procedure include the removal charges, replacing worn-out materials with new ones, re-installation services, and storage services, especially if you don’t have personal storage spaces.

New Roof Installation vs Repair Before Installing Solar Panels: Solar Panel Roof Replacement

Because using solar panels can help reduce utility bills and carbon footprint, many homeowners want to install them, but the cost of replacing the roof deters them.

Although replacing the roof can minimize the chances of solar panel roof damage and save you from constant repairs, many people think it’s not necessary for them.4

Graphics of things to consider for roof replacement with solar panels showing cartoon image of a home, roof material, roof age, structural integrity, contractor, cost, and roof orientation.

High-quality roofs made under stable conditions and with durable materials have a lifespan ranging between 25 and 30 years. That way, roofs around ten years of age and without a previous replacement can withstand the installation of solar panels to proceed with their lifespan.

The move allows homeowners to enjoy more years with their original roofs and gives them time to prepare their pockets for a forthcoming replacement.

For safety, allow a roofing or solar installation professional to inspect the roof before you can proceed to install the solar panels, to determine if the surfaces can withstand the procedure.3

Roofing experts also ascertain if the roof requires any repairs and offer crucial advice before moving on with the installation. It may be risky to install solar panels on a roof whose expiry date is approaching as it may not be strong enough for the process.

What Is the Total Home Roofing Cost for Roof Replacement With Solar Panels?: Cost Solar Panel Roof Replacement

As highlighted earlier, roofs with excess damage require to be repaired before solar panels can be installed on them. So, how much will the whole roof replacement cost?

According to Forbes 2023, homeowners require a total of $6,700 to $80,000 or $11,500 to replace a roof from a standard-size house, while the average roof replacement time is 3 to 5 days.7

Of course, the lower amount is generally the estimate for only replacing the roofing materials (asphalt shingles, metal sheets, etc.), not the frame structure.

A frame structure replacement will be considerably more expensive and will require much more time.

Replacing a Roof Without Solar Panels

The cost and number of days are not permanently fixed but vary from one home to another due to various factors, including:

  • Labor

Labor refers to the manpower needed to finalize the entire solar panel’s roof replacement process, which significantly affects the cost and time taken for the process. Its cost primarily relies on the laborer and contractor’s level of skills and experience.

The time taken to finish roof replacement with solar panels is essential. According to research, the average cost of replacing a roof with solar panels is between $2 and $7 per square foot.

However, some contractors may promise to perform the task better and quicker than usual, and maybe at a lower price. You should always be cautious due to the rising cases of scamming and lies.

  • Type of Material

While there are many types of roofs in the market, experts have highly recommended asphalt shingles as the best roof for solar panels due to their affordability and quality.

Metal roofing can also serve the purpose excellently because it’s durable and resistant to hostile weather conditions. You can also find some ideal shingle roofs such as slate, tile, and cedar shake which are slightly priced higher than the above ones but offer greater services.
Other roofing materials that also affect the time and cost of solar panel roof replacement include water and ice shields, ridge capping, and underlayment.

  • Size of the Roof

Normally, roofs boasting a large surface usually cost more during solar panel replacement regarding the number of materials and labor required for the procedure. Additionally, those with complex designs have the same impact on the cost

  • Roof Pitch

Another factor that significantly affects the cost and time consumed during solar panel roof replacement is the pitch of your roof. A sharper roof pitch will require more labor, time, and materials to construct compared to lower one

Replacing a Roof With Solar Panels

The above costs will cover replacing a roof without solar panels.

Graphic image of roof replacement and solar panel installation.

(Image: Solar Energy Technologies Office, DOE14)

But you will incur more costs if you already have solar panels on your roof.

Solar Panels Removal Cost

Don’t be surprised that you must get rid of the solar panels to replace a roof, meaning you will be solar energy-free during the entire roof replacement period. During such time, you will have to use utility grid power until the process ends.

Graphic image of grid-connected system that includes solar array panels, junction box, dc disconnect, inverter, ac disconnect switch, ac main panel and utility meter.

(Image: Energy South Carolina15)

Additionally, a solar company is responsible for removing and re-installing solar panels thanks to their unmatchable skills and experience. You can also choose to go for professional roofers and solar installers alongside the main solar company to minimize the time consumed in the process.7

Remember to comprehensively engage the leasing company if you choose to lease the solar panels to stay in line with the contract’s regulations.

So, how much does it cost to remove solar panels? The cost of removing solar panels from a roof usually lies between $300 and $1,000 per panel, which, however, depends on various factors, including:

The Company You Hire

Different companies charge different hourly rates for installing solar panels. Ensure to research comprehensively to evaluate the average charges of different companies within your town so as to prepare yourself adequately.

While hiring cheaper companies seems like an opportunity to save yourself some pennies, remember to evaluate the quality of their skills.

The Condition of the Panels: Is Solar Panel Repair Required?

Normally, worn-out solar panels usually require repair before being re-installed; the cost of repair mainly depends on the degree of damage. For example, solar panels with broken glass will cost less to repair while those functioning slower than required cost more to repair as sometimes you might need to fully replace them partially or entirely.

The Condition of the Solar System Hardware

Damages can possibly occur to your solar panels’ hardware such as racking systems, inverters, and mounts during removal. Replacing such pieces usually adds cost to the process.

The Weather

The best time to re-roof or install solar panels is during the dry season or when the weather is clear. However, if damages happen during winter, there might be no other option but to repair or replace the roof or solar panels.

Icy solar panels at the rooftop during winter.

(Image: Terry Thompson, U.S. Department of Energy16)

In such cases, homeowners may be forced to pay more for the process than they would under favorable weather conditions.

The Location of Your Home

Your home’s location has a great influence on the cost of removing and re-installing solar panels. For instance, if your home is situated in risky places such as around the tropical rainforests, you may incur more than usual for the services due to the risks involved.

Furthermore, you might be required to purchase or hire some special tools for the job, adding to the time and cost.

The Process of Removing and Reinstalling Solar Panels

The solar company is responsible for what follows after hiring them to remove and reinstalling solar panels.3 However, the procedure usually involves:

#1: Site Visit

Removing and reinstalling solar panels starts with the solar company visiting the site to evaluate the panel and roof’s prevailing condition. During the visit, the company will estimate the time and finances required for removal and reinstallation of solar panels, possible drawbacks, and other essential information.

You can also hire expert roofers so that they can work together with the solar company for great results. Professionals advise homeowners to liaise with their original solar company who are more familiar with the system instead of hiring new one.

#2: Removal of the Solar System

Removal of the solar panel commences by stopping the flow of current and disconnecting the panels from each other. After that, the laborers will progressively remove the panels from the mounted surface.

Lastly, they’ll remove the hardware and all electric cables. At this point, the roofers can begin their work.

#3: Making Solar Repair

As the roofers are working on roof repairs, the solar technician should also repair the solar if necessary. How long this process usually takes depends on the extent of repairs required.

Minor damages, such as broken glass, are easy to repair, while severe damages may require you to replace the solar panels.

#4: Re-Installation and Review

When the roofing is done and the solar panels have been repaired,1 the solar company re-installs the panels on the roof. The panels can be returned in their initial position or a different one for more effective results but only if the installer recommends changes.

Three workers re-installing solar panels on a roof under the heat of the sun.

(Image: USDA17)

After the re-installation, the solar company reviews the setup to ascertain that it’s operating properly without possible breakdowns.

Solar Panel Maintenance Cost After Reinstallation

Once the solar panels are back on the roof, they are easy to maintain. They only need an annual checkup by a professional to evaluate their functionality and determine underlying problems possibly triggered by factors such as solar panel damage from hail.10

Additionally, remember to clean occasionally to eliminate debris from dust particles and dry leaves that can otherwise deter sun rays from reaching the panels, hence minimizing the power output. When it’s rainy, the rain usually cleans the debris; therefore, you should focus on the panels more during dry seasons.

Professionally recommend an annual cleaning of solar panels for great functionality. However, if you have large trees around that shed their leaves heavily, especially on windy days, you may have to clean the panes regularly.

In addition, solar PV power systems usually subject their owners to more regular maintenance.

But how do you know when the system needs maintenance? You can find out by checking if the energy output matches the required power as indicated in the manufacturer’s guide.

While you can do light maintenance like cleaning, abnormalities in the power output require a solar service expert.

How much does solar system maintenance cost? The cost of solar system maintenance depends on various factors, including location, house height, panel condition, and system design; you might pay between $250 and $750.

When you require the solar company to clean the panels, it will cost you an average of $15 and $35 per panel while a yearly inspection goes between $150 and $350. However, you might pay more when an inspection has an underlying issue that requires a repair or replacement to boost the system’s performance.5

Solar and Roofing Companies: Can You Hire One Company To Repair Roof and Remove Solar System?

Solar panel roof replacement can be costly but very important for every home. However, sometimes financial constraints can have you wondering if professional installers are necessary for the removal and reinstallation of solar panels.

You should unquestionably hire professional installers for solar panel removal and reinstallation. This is because they understand the complexity of the installation process and must handle the electrical connections and interconnections between panels to maximize the solar output.

While some expert roofers can remove solar panels, and mounting systems, and disconnect the cables, they aren’t experienced with repairing or determining an underlying issue with the system.2

You should evaluate the roofers’ skills regarding solar panel removal and reinstallation before hiring them for the sake of your finances. You can be assured of the value of your money back through great services with professional roofers as opposed to less-skilled and cheaper ones. The professionals know how to install solar panels on roof.

The good thing is that there are several companies in nearly every town primarily focused on roofing and solar installation. Hiring them can assure you effective results and a reduction in the solar panel replacement cost.

Check for any company within your area and inquire about roof replacement solar panels tax credit.

Can You Mount Solar Panels on the Ground Instead of Roof Solar Panels?

Many homeowners choose to mount solar panels on the ground rather than above the ground as it’s cheaper when the laborers use the roofs as the foundation.

However, this isn’t always possible, for example, some roof pitches are not ideal for solar panels.

The idea also saves homeowners plenty of space on their property for other essentials, especially in tiny homes.10

Aerial photo of solar panel on the roof with sun rays hitting its surface.

(Image: Todd Druskat, submitted by Chris Wingard for the U.S. Department of Energy13)

Even so, mounting solar panels can be a great idea if you don’t have enough space on the roof or have a large compound.

In fact, ground mounted panels often are able to utilize tracking systems to maximize the amount of direct sunlight.3

How To Replace Roof Shingles

It’s essential to examine your roof regularly to replace damaged shingles as they can significantly impact the longevity of the roof.5 Here is how you replace roof shingles:

  • Evaluate the Damage

Check the corners around the shingle. Are they curled or pulled up from the roof? Check the area around them for signs of seepage. When you discover areas that have been infested by moisture, you should replace the shingles entirely.

Intense damages call for nothing less than replacing all the shingles and re-roofing the house, although cracked or split shingles can be repaired without being eliminated.8

  • Remove the Damaged Shingles

Removing shingles from a roof requires a rake-sized scraper or a huge hayfork. However, if you’re working on a tiny area, you can use smaller tools such as a pry bar by simply sliding it under the broken shingle to loosen the nails and free the shingle.

  • Replacing the Shingle

Replacing shingles needs shingle cement or other adhesive elements (when the shingles don’t have pre-installed adhesive strips), roofing nails, and new shingles. Position a new shingle in the exact location as the previous one to replace.

If they have adhesive strips, remove the covering, put them into place, and secure them with a nail. During the installation, lift each tab gently on the shingle to apply the cement under the surface before pressing them down to attach them.

Solar Panels vs. Solar Shingles: Which Is Best for Roof Replacement Solar Panels?

With all the above details regarding roof replacement before solar panel installation, you might be questioning if solar shingles are a great option for your precious home. Below is a broad discussion regarding the distinction between solar shingles and panels to enable you to evaluate which one is the best.9


Since solar shingles are one of the most-recent roofing technologies, installing them can be quite demanding, making them slightly more priced than their predecessors. Even so, the variation is insignificant when you’re replacing a roof and installing new solar panels.


Experts have it that both solar shingles are less efficient compared to panels even though both work under the photovoltaic effect principle.


You can install solar panels on any roof. You can also remove and relocate them.

Conversely, solar shingles are made to suit sloped or tilted roofs and can hardly be eliminated to be situated elsewhere.6


Solar panels are bulky and not very attractive. On the other hand, solar shingles are seamless and give a roof a beautiful look which is why most people love them.

Learning the differences between solar shingles vs. solar panels will enable you to discover which one is the most ideal for your home. It would be essential to note that both systems can last for 25 to 30 years.

Solar Panel Roof Replacement: Solar Panels Removal and Reinstall Near Me

Many companies are offering solar removal and reinstalling services.

Workers installing solar panels

(Image: Dennis Schroeder, U.S. Department of Energy18)

If you want to find one around your home, you can indicate your region when searching for the companies; for instance, solar panels removal and reinstallation companies in California.

Can Solar Panels Replace Roof? (New Roof Installation Considerations)

Solar panel roof requirements are about 18 square feet for each solar panel, and therefore the average size of a roof for solar panels should be 400-600 square feet. A flat-roof solar panel may be less practical compared to those installed on slanted roofs.2

But can solar panels replace a roof?11 No! Solar panels cannot be used as a roof replacement, but solar shingles can because they resemble the traditional roofing system. However, they produce electricity like standard solar panels.

Roof replacement before solar panel installation guarantees homeowners great value for their money with an extended lifespan of the roof.12 While the re-roofing and solar panel installation costs may be substantial, you can be assured of huge savings from constant repairs in the long run.

Understanding solar panel roof replacement options can help you make the best decision for your green energy system.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panel Roof Replacement

How Do You Know the Roof Needs Replacement?

Mossy, missing, or curling shingles on your roof calls for immediate replacement.

When Should Solar Panels Be Replaced?

Good quality solar panels can last roughly between 25 and 30 years, after which you should replace them. According to NREL, solar panels at 25 years and above can still produce energy, although at a slower rate.


1Qualitative Reasoning Group Northwestern University. (2023). What are solar panels? Qualitative Reasoning Group Northwestern University. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

2U.S. Department of Energy. (2023). Solar. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

3Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government. (2023). Installing Solar in Louisville. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

4Jones-Albertus, B. (2021, July 28). Replacing Your Roof? It’s a Great Time to Add Solar. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

5National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (2013, September 18). Solar Roofing Shingles. NREL. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

6Hope, P., & Stanger, T. (2023, March 3). Best Roofing Shingles of 2023. Consumer Reports. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

7SolarChat. (2023). How to Clean Solar Panels on a Roof: Tips for Cleaning Solar Panels from the Ground. SolarChat. Retrieved April 08, 2023, from <>

8SolarChat. (2023). How to Protect Solar Panels from Hail: Top Tips for Homeowners. SolarChat. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

9Energy Saving Trust. (2022, December 13). Installing solar panels to help reduce your carbon footprint. Energy Saving Trust. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

10Robinson, E. B. (2023, April 1). How to Mount Solar Panels on Roof? – 8 Steps to Do. Clear Energy Summit. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

11U.S. Department of Energy. (2023). Planning a Home Solar Electric System. Energy Saver. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

12U.S. Department of Energy. (2023). Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Retrieved April 8, 2023, from <>

13Photo-voltaic panels on a Dennis, MA home, Photo by Todd Drusskat and submitted by Chris Wingard, U.S. Department of Energy / U.S. Government Works. Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

14Photo by Solar Energy Technologies Office, Department of Energy. Retrieved from <>

15Energy South Carolina. Energy SC Gov. Retrieved from <>

16Solar panels installed on top of residence for thermal heating Photo by Terry Thompson, U.S. Department of Energy / U.S. Government Works. Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

17Solar panels are installed at Littlestown Veterinary Hospital, Photo by USDA / Public Domain. Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>

18Installing Solar Panels Photo by Dennis Schroeder, U.S. Department of Energy / U.S. Government Works. Resized and Changed Format. From Flickr <>