Stone coated metal roofs are becoming more and more popular in Florida. They are universally praised as being beautiful, durable, and highly wind resistant. With very long warranties and concerns about hurricane resistance, it is reasonable to expect these roofs to be purchased by more and more homeowners.
Installing solar panels on these roofs presents challenges. The only good way to accomplish it is during the initial roof installation in our opinion. Walking on metal tile is a sure way to crush or dent tiles, and it’s nearly impossible to maneuver while carrying solar panels and mounting equipment. Coordinating installation with the roofer is the only way to assure you don’t have to walk on the finished roof – at least minimizing the likelihood.
There are ways to retrofit these roofs for solar, but they are not ideal and they are costly. The first method we support is the “flashing sandwich,” which name I will credit to Quickmount PV who provides roof mounts and flashings. This requires using two sheets of metal tile and a solar flashing sandwiched between the two tiles. The second method is using a tile hook. These were originally developed for concrete tile roofs, but adapt well to metal tile. In the case of tile hooks, we advise going beyond code with the number of attachments to reduce flex of the brackets in high wind conditions.
We recently did a solar photovoltaic panel installation on a stone coated metal roof in Colonial Country Club in Fort Myers. There is a lot of re-roofing happening now in the community and homeowners are increasingly choosing metal tiles, which were approved by the HOA. We selected the tile hook method using a Quickmount PV tile hook. It went great!
Hiring a contractor with experience on this roof type is critical. Enlisting a roofer that will be cooperative with the solar contractor is necessary. Selecting the right method based on the roof manufacturer and model is imperative.
Gerard, Decra, and Tilcor are popular stone coated metal tile roof manufacturers in Florida. The roof we just finished working on was Tilcor, a product made in New Zealand. We were impressed with the product and its adaptability with the Tile Hook from Quickmount PV.
It is important to note that we are talking about solar electricity systems here. We do not recommend solar pool heating systems on stone coated metal roofs at this time. There are no suitable mounting products available, or the methods we are discussing here are far too expensive relative to the cost of a solar pool heater.
Your decision to install a metal roof should not impact your decision to install solar electricity. There are solutions out there that make beautiful and secure solar panel installations.