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The Main Differences Between a Standard Roof and a Solar Roof

Regarding roofing options, we now have a choice beyond the conventional considerations of materials and aesthetics. The advent of solar technology has introduced the concept of solar roofs and revolutionized the way we think about our roofs. Let’s discuss the key differences between a standard roof and a solar roof.

Energy Generation

Standard roofs are a protective covering for a building and offer shelter from the elements but do not contribute to energy production. They use conventional building materials and are crucial in maintaining the integrity and insulation of a building.

A solar roof is specifically designed to capture and convert sunlight into electricity. It incorporates photovoltaic cells or solar tiles that harness solar energy to generate power for the building.

Material Composition

Standard roofs typically use traditional materials. Asphalt shingles, a popular choice, provide cost-effectiveness and ease of installation, while metal roofs boast longevity and resist harsh weather conditions. Clay tiles and concrete, on the other hand, lend a timeless and classic appearance to structures.

Solar roofs represent a cutting-edge fusion of function and form. These roofs integrate solar cells directly into traditional roofing materials or utilize solar tiles that mimic the look of conventional options.

Tempered glass, renowned for its strength and safety features, is a prominent material in solar roofs. Its transparency allows sunlight to reach integrated solar cells while protecting external elements. Solar laminates, thin and flexible photovoltaic sheets, seamlessly adhere to roofing surfaces, converting sunlight into electricity without significantly altering the roof’s appearance.

Solar tiles are another integral component of solar roofs. These tiles blend solar technology with architectural aesthetics and offer a visually cohesive and environmentally friendly roofing solution.


Generally, standard roofs are less expensive to install compared to solar roofs. Solar roofing generally involves additional installation costs related to the electrical components and wiring needed to connect the solar panels to your home’s electrical system.

While a traditional roof only provides protection, a solar roof generates electricity. Over time, the energy savings may offset the higher upfront cost of a solar roof. Depending on your location, government incentives, tax credits, or rebates for installing solar panels may reduce the overall cost.


While standard roofs are primarily designed for aesthetic appeal and functional protection, solar roofs aim to blend aesthetics with functionality. Solar roofs are crafted to resemble traditional roofs, with solar elements integrated seamlessly into the overall design. This design approach allows homeowners to embrace sustainable energy without compromising the visual harmony of their homes.


The lifespan of a standard roof can vary widely based on the quality of materials and installation. Asphalt shingles typically last 20-30 years, while metal roofs can endure for 40-70 years. On the other hand, solar panels’ durability is typically guaranteed for 25-30 years, and reputable solar roofing systems are designed to last as long as traditional roofs.

Environmental Impact

Standard roofs do not directly impact energy generation and may contribute to urban heat island effects based on the materials used. The extraction, manufacturing, and transportation can contribute to carbon emissions.

Solar roofs reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources and create a cleaner and more sustainable energy mix. Their production involves using materials like silicon, which can have environmental impacts during extraction and processing. However, the long-term benefits outweigh the initial environmental costs. So, they play a role in lowering carbon emissions associated with electricity generation and align with broader environmental conservation efforts.


Maintaining the integrity of a roof is essential for its longevity. Standard roofs require routine maintenance but do not involve any specific upkeep related to energy generation.

Solar roofs necessitate occasional cleaning for optimal energy production. Also, the solar components may require maintenance or replacement over their lifespan and add extra care for sustained performance. Routine checks of the solar panels for dirt or obstructions and inspection of the electrical components are essential. Cleaning the solar panels periodically to optimize sunlight absorption is crucial for efficiency.

While both roof types share some maintenance fundamentals, the unique features of a solar roof require a more specialized approach for the structural integrity of the roof and the optimal functionality of the renewable energy system.

Installation Complexity

Standard roof installation is typically straightforward and follows established construction practices. It involves installing roofing materials such as shingles, tiles, or metal sheets and necessary structural components such as rafters and sheathing. The complexity can vary based on factors such as the type of roofing material, the roof’s pitch, and the structure’s overall design.

Solar roof installation can be more complex, involving electrical work and coordination with solar technology. It often requires specialized installers familiar with both roofing and solar systems. It involves ensuring the roof’s structural integrity, incorporating solar components, and connecting them to the electrical system of the building. This integration demands careful coordination between roofing and solar professionals to avoid compromising the solar system’s effectiveness or the roof’s durability.

Solar roof installations also require considerations for proper orientation and exposure to sunlight to maximize energy generation. It may involve assessing the angle and direction of the roof to optimize solar absorption. Factors like shading from nearby structures or vegetation must also be considered during the planning and installation phases. Such considerations add a layer of complexity compared to standard roofs, primarily focusing on weatherproofing and aesthetic appeal.

Choosing between a standard roof and a solar roof involves carefully considering various factors. While standard roofs remain the more traditional and cost-effective choice, solar roofs represent a forward-thinking approach that combines functionality, sustainability, and aesthetics. As technology advances, the decision between the two will likely be influenced by individual preferences, budget considerations, and the increasing emphasis on environmentally conscious living.
Upgrade your roof with ProFormance Roofing and experience the ultimate quality and durability. If you’re considering a standard roof or exploring the benefits of a solar roof, we’ve got you covered. At ProFormance Roofing, we specialize in delivering top-notch roofing solutions. Contact us today for a free roofing quote.