As a solar sales rep, understanding the intricacies of residential roofing is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition to solar energy for homeowners. Identifying whether a house may require re-roofing before solar installation is a vital skill. This article will guide you through the aspects of roofing you should observe, the nuances between different roof types, and the importance of attic inspection. Additionally, we’ll provide tips on discussing roofing concerns with homeowners, highlighting how roof work can enhance property value and potentially save money when financed alongside a solar loan.

Key Roofing Aspects to Observe

Age and Condition

  • Lifespan: Determine the age of the roof. Asphalt shingles typically last 20-30 years, while tile and metal roofs can last 50 years or more. Ask the homeowner how long it has been since their roof was replaced.
  • Wear and Tear: Look for signs of wear, such as missing shingles, cracks in tiles, or visible leaks.

Roof Type Specifics


  • Granule Loss: Excessive granule loss can indicate nearing the end of its service life.
  • Curling or Buckling: These signs suggest the shingles are past their prime.
  • Multiple Layers: Some shingle roofs on old houses will sit on top of old layers of shingles! These can create issues for the solar installation, and will decrease the lifespan of the existing roof. It is recommended to replace a roof it is has more than two layers of shingles.

Heavy granule loss on shingles is a sign of an old roof


  • Cracks or Breakage: Tile roofs are durable but can be compromised by cracked or broken tiles, leading to increased moisture penetration to the structure below.
  • Underlayment: The condition of the underlayment is critical, as tiles themselves don’t ensure waterproofing. Usually the underlayment will need to be replaced every 25 years or so.

Old tile roofs may have broken tiles or worn out underlayment

Flat Roofs

  • Pooling Water: Indicates a lack of proper slope or drainage.
  • Blisters or Tears: These defects can lead to leaks and structural damage.

Pooling water can cause leaking on flat roofs

Attic Inspection: Solid vs. Skip Sheathing

The type of sheathing used is a crucial consideration, especially for solar installations.

  • Solid Sheathing: Provides a uniform surface that is generally preferred for solar panel installations.
  • Skip Sheathing: Common under tile roofs, may require additional steps to create a solid surface for panels.

Plywood needs to be installed over skip-sheathing

Communicating with Homeowners

When discussing the need for potential roofing work, it’s essential to approach the conversation with care and professionalism.

  • Educate: Explain how a sturdy, new roof not only supports the solar panels but can also improve the home’s energy efficiency and overall value.
  • Financing Options: Introduce the idea that roofing costs can often be included in solar financing, potentially making the project more affordable and even eligible for tax credits like the ITC.

Financing and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

Highlight the financial benefits of bundling the roof project with the solar loan.

  • Cost-Efficiency: Combining the roofing and solar project can lead to savings, especially if part of the roofing cost qualifies for the ITC.
  • ITC Benefits: Explain how the ITC can offset a portion of the total project cost, including the roof, when it’s integral to the solar installation.

Leveraging BidList for Easy Roofing Quotes

As a solar sales representative, your goal is to streamline the process for your customers.

  • BidList Platform: Utilize BidList to quickly gather multiple roofing quotes, making it easier to compare options.
  • Expert Sales Support: Our sales support team can discuss roofing options with the homeowner, ensuring they understand the trade-offs and feel comfortable moving forward with the best proposal.

Assessing a home’s roof for solar readiness is a critical step in the solar installation process. By understanding what to look for and how to communicate effectively with homeowners, you can help them see the value in upgrading their roof as part of their transition to solar energy. With tools like BidList and the option to finance roofing costs through solar loans, you’re well-equipped to offer solutions that enhance property value and save homeowners money in the long run.