Comparison of solar panel roofing on a slanted residential roof and a flat commercial roof


Solar energy is a hot topic these days. Everybody and their uncle is getting solar panel roof tiles installed from official stores and even fishy-looking online vendors in Pakistan.

So let’s stare the issue in the face and give some solid answers to frequently asked questions about solar panel roofing for home and business.

Maybe you’ve considered installing solar panels yourself. After all, it benefits the environment (go green!) and harnessing solar power helps you cut down on energy costs in the hot summer days in Missouri and Illinois.

Fortunately, since solar technology and manufacturers have become increasingly common, many companies specialize in installing solar panels that can help you. Before you start looking into how to choose the best solar energy company, there are a few essential details you should consider, so you know what to look for.

#1. Consider The Cost Of Going Solar

The first things to consider are the initial investment cost and the long-term savings.

Yes, in the long-run, you will likely save a lot of money. But that’s many tomorrows away. Solar panels are expensive today.

How much does solar panel roofing cost? Setting up your house or business with solar panels can be anywhere in the $10,000 to $20,000 USD range. So make sure you can afford such an upfront or financing cost.

How much should I pay in financing for solar panels? Ideally, you want to pay as much or a little more than what you currently spend on electricity to date. That way your daily life budget for bills, groceries, tuition, fuel, and having fun are not severely impacted.

Look beyond the marketing promises you see advertised for solar panels and answer these real-world questions before you buy or hire:

  • What are the current rates for traditionally-generated energy in your area?
  • Are permits required in your area for installing solar panels?
  • What existing tax credit programs at the federal, state or local levels could you take advantage of?
  • If I am not skilled or certified to install myself, what is the going rate for installing solar panels on my roof?

Each state, municipality, and county has different prices and requirements for solar energy. At Superior Commercial Roofing Systems, we can help you answer these questions, just call us at 573-470-4998 and we’ll let you know how we can help.

#2. Optimal Solar Panel Installation for Commercial Roofs

The next thing to consider is whether solar can be safely installed on your roof without causing damage. No one wants a leaky roof! Thankfully, there are many ways to install and secure solar panels on almost all types of roofs and roofing treatments.

What is the best way to install solar panels on a commercial roof? The 2 best ways are the ballast method and the anchored method. These are best for flat roofs that use PVC, EPDM, rubber roofing, bitumen, or asphalt roll systems. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to do each.

A) The Ballast Method (Best for Commercial)

The most straightforward roof installation is the ballast method.

Primarily, the solar panels are placed on the roof and later secured with large concrete blocks to make sure they stay firmly in place. The success of this system depends on the quality type of roof and the integrity of your roofing contractor.


The ballast method is especially attractive for installing solar panels on commercial roof buildings with:

  • Flat PVC Roofing Systems (UV resistant vinyl roofing)
  • EPDM Roofing Systems (a.k.a. rubber roofing)
  • Modified Bitumen Roof Systems (asphalt roll)

There is little risk of roofing damage since there is no need to drill holes to secure the panels.

You will get a solid panel system that will offset your carbon footprint and energy costs for your business!


The primary drawback to this method is that ballasted systems are incredibly heavy and could potentially compromise the roof’s structural capacity or cause compression of the insulation layer, which can lead to pooling issues.

It’s also possible that the concrete blocks end up grinding against the roofing membrane, which could puncture the waterproofing layer.

B) The Anchor Method (Best for Commercial)

The alternative to a ballasted system is to make perforations in order to bolt the solar panels to an internal sturdy structure so that they are anchored into place.


These perforations are typically made into the insulated layer of the roof so the panels can be attached directly to the roof deck. This option is equally secure and stable.

You can install solar panels with the anchored bolt method for businesses or other buildings with:

  • Flat PVC Roofing Systems (UV resistant vinyl roofing)
  • EPDM Roofing Systems (a.k.a. rubber roofing)
  • Modified Bitumen Roof Systems (asphalt roll)
  • Protective Roof Coatings

On occasion installers cover the perforations with flashing made from the same material as the membrane, keeping your waterproofing intact.

Tile and shingle roofs have a similar installation process: the installer removes the roof tiles to attach the panels directly to the deck and then covers the base with a layer of flashing before replacing the tiles.

If you have a standing metal seam roof, installers may attach directly to the seams without the need for drilling through the deck.


This is a favorite method of installing solar panels but it risks creating leaks.

Again, it really depends if your roofer is going to do a good job, or a botched one. Our team can do the whole installation for you, but we want you to decide.

#2. Optimal Solar Panel Installation for Residential Roofs

How do you install solar panels on a residential roof? The above panel installation principles (ballast and anchored methods) apply equally to residential and commercial roofs, with the main difference being the size of the panels. But homeowners have a beautiful alternative: solar shingles!



These beautiful shingles replace your current asphalt shingles without looking bulky or being too hard to install.


Installing solar energy shingles is a more expensive option and generally, requires a full replacement of the existing roofing on top of the high cost of the product.

Pay attention to the way your panels are installed, as it is generally recommended—but not required—that they face southwest for maximum efficiency.


Solar energy is worth the investment. You need a good roofer and quality panels in the case of residential or quality shingles in the case of residential.

But more than anything else, you need an honest and skilled roofer who can help you make the solar panel installation worth every penny.

Call or email us if you have any questions!

Phone: 573-470-4998