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How to Combine Green Roofs with Solar Panels?

on December 11, 2023 at 1:33 pm under , , , , , , ,

Source: iStock – Credit Rene Notenbomer

Promoted by GreenMatch

Figures from 2021 show that over 80% of US consumers consider the sustainability of their investments. Today, the International Energy Agency recorded solar PVs accounted for 4.5% of the world’s electricity, and is the third largest renewable energy source.

As the popularity of green roofs grows, we’re reviewing how compatible solar panels and green roofs are, optimizing your home’s energy independence and environmentally friendly design. Join us as we review the benefits of using these innovative design features.

What is a Green Roof?

If you’re here, chances are you either know what a green roof is or want to know. For the uninitiated, a green roof is roofing covered with vegetation rather than asphalt, rubber, or shingles. The spectrum of green roofs is expansive, and they can feature a range of materials, such as:

  • Grass
  • Plants
  • Vegetation

There are also many names for green roofs, including:

  • Sedum Roofs
  • Grass Roofs
  • Living Roofs

Green roofs use drainage membranes to create a separation between the foliage and the underlying roof. There are also waterproofing products and root barriers to ensure the building’s structure is unaffected by the plants. More compact versions of green roofs are self-contained modular trays. Tray systems keep all the aspects of a green roof together, making placing them straight onto a waterproof layer on the roof easy.

We’re all trying to push our capabilities and create a more environmentally friendly world, and green roofs and solar panels are a match made in heaven. If you’re interested in this combination, start exploring the possibility and move toward a more sustainable future today!

What are the Advantages of Green Roofs?

There are numerous benefits to using green roofs for residential and commercial buildings. Green roofs are visually appealing, and they benefit the environment considerably. Let’s explore some of the most significant benefits of green roofs.


Installing a green roof can promote local biodiversity and support pollinators like bees and other insects. Urban areas where nature struggles to thrive can particularly benefit from green roofs. There’s also a benefit for the air quality in and around buildings with green roofs. They filter and absorb airborne particles, leading to fewer pollutants and toxins entering your home.

Water Retention and Management

Green roofs retain rainwater in their numerous layers, reducing the runoff during rainy seasons and decreasing the strain on your drainage system. DC Gov’s research found green roofs with three to four inches of soil can retail one inch of rainwater.

You can also place rain collectors to gather rain that drains from the roof and use it for watering garden plants, ponds or even cleaning your car or bike. This action is called rain harvesting.


Having a green roof provides both thermal and sound insulation for your home. The combination of drainage layers, waterproofing, and plants means green roofs absorb some sound waves. Keeping noise from entering or exiting your home is easier with a green roof system. Equally, the layers on your roof created by having a green roof installed keep your home warmer and cooler.

Energy Efficient

Green roofs can reduce your energy bills because of their insulating properties. They can reduce your need to heat or cool your home significantly. Plants living on a green roof reflect light and heat from the sun, creating a cooler atmosphere for the home. In the winter, the dense layering of a green roof can trap heat in your home, reducing your need for heating.

This is where the big question comes into play.

Are Green Roofs and Solar Panels Compatible?

The answer is yes. Green roofs require space and maintenance, but solar panels can perfectly complement a green roof setup. Green roofs can reduce stormwater runoff and purify rainwater that you can collect, and solar panels can generate clean, renewable energy. This combination is ideal for building a more environmentally friendly home and lifestyle.

What are the Benefits of Combining Green Roofs and Solar Panels?

There are various reasons to create a roofing system that combines solar panels and green roofs. Here are some examples:

Improved Energy Efficiency

The blend of increased insulation provided by green roofs and the clean energy produced by solar panels equals improved energy efficiency for your home. The insulation you gain from green roofs also means you need less energy to heat or cool your house, anyway. Solar panels produce electricity most efficiently in cooler temperatures, meaning they’re more efficient alongside a green roof that maintains a cooler temperature and retains water.

Increased Solar Output

Solar panels benefit the green roof by providing shade that helps the plants thrive and protect areas from stormy weather. This shading also increases the solar panel output and increases solar gain.

Environmental Impact

You can significantly reduce your carbon footprint by combining green roofs and solar panels. They both reduce the carbon emissions from your home and ultimately decrease your overall environmental impact. Supporting your local ecosystem and increasing your use of renewable energy sources like solar panels is one way to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.

How to Combine Green Roofs and Solar Panels

The number one consideration you need before combining these eco-friendly features is the structural integrity of your home. Improper installation and maintenance cause most issues associated with green roofs such as leaking or structural damage. Before installation begins, you must thoroughly assess your roof with an expert to ensure it can sustain the weight of green roofs and solar panels.

The placement of your solar panels and your green roofs is also crucial. Solar panels require an abundance of sunlight to operate the most efficiently. Green roofs also need enough open space with sunlight to grow. When you’re planning a collaborative roof, working with professionals is essential. Experts can help you choose the perfect placement for optimal results for your solar panels and green roofs.

Another element of this combination you should consider is maintenance. Solar panels and green roofs both need maintenance to run efficiently and effectively. A green roof requires more regular access, however. You may need to prune plants, water them when it’s too dry, and check on their health. When designing your roof layout, ensure you have space to access the green roof without disrupting the functionality of the solar panels.

Should You Combine a Green Roof and Solar Panels?

Ultimately, numerous factors should affect your choice to combine green roofs and solar panels. If you have the physical space and a sturdy construction, you can start planning an eco-friendly dreamland for your home.

We’re all trying to push our capabilities and create a more environmentally friendly world, and green roofs and solar panels are a match made in heaven. If you’re interested in this combination, start exploring the possibility and move toward a more sustainable future today!


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