Installing Solar Around chimneys, Skylights, & Vents

There’s nothing solar installers love more than a south-facing roof in good condition with no obstructions whatsoever. However, this is more a fantasy than reality for most solar installations. That’s because many roofs have obstructions, installing solar systems around chimneys, skylights, and vents can be a complicated design challenge.

So how are solar panels installed around chimneys, skylights, and vents? Is it possible to install solar panels around these roof obstructions? Let’s find out!


Chimneys are one of the most common roof obstructions when installing solar panels. They can also be one of the more challenging roof obstructions to deal with.

Because chimneys are normally bulky objects, they can take up a lot of space. This means that solar panels will need to be installed around the perimeter of the chimney while also maintaining a reasonable distance. Installing solar panels right up against a chimney is not advisable, as it can reduce clearance needed for chimney maintenance and potentially cause sediment buildup on the solar panels, especially next to brick chimneys.

Not only can chimneys be bulky, they can also be quite tall. This presents an issue when considering shading of the solar panels. Because the sun shifts throughout the day and year, it’s important to consider the path a chimney’s shadow will take. If that shadow falls on one or more solar panels, it can greatly affect the solar production.

Thankfully, the negative effects of shading can be greatly reduced with solar optimizers. Solar optimizers are a type of solar inverter that takes the DC power produced by each individual solar panel and sends it to the main inverter. By using solar optimizers, the effects of shading can be isolated to just those individual solar panels being shaded instead of the whole string of solar panels.


To learn more about the different types of solar inverters, check out our blog on the topic.


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Skylights are another common roof obstruction solar installers must work around. Skylights can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as orientations and placement within a roof.

The good news is that skylights present very little shade risk, as they are often inset within a roof. But even if they are not completely flush with the roof, skylights typically do not shade solar panels.

The larger issue with skylights is installing solar panels around the skylights’ layout. If a roof only has one skylight, it can be easy to install racking and solar panels around it. But if multiple skylights are installed at various distances and orientations, installing the racking and solar panels can get difficult or impossible.

Thankfully, solar panels are modular and can be placed in multiple locations and orientations on a roof. Solar racking can be cut down to fit tight areas, and the solar panel system as a whole can be placed at multiple spots along a roof.

Want to know if we could install solar panels around your skylights? Contact Green Ridge Solar today to see how we can help.


Vents are one of the most diverse and numerous types of roof obstruction that can interfere with a solar panel installation. Different vents in a roof can serve different functions, such as vents for plumbing, dryers, bathrooms, or the attic.

When it comes to installing solar panels around vents, there are several things to consider. First of all, what type of vent is present. Depending on the type of vent, solar panels could be installed over the vent, the vent could be diverted, or the vent must be avoided.

For vents that serve as exhaust for dryers, bathrooms, and attics, solar panels cannot be installed over them. These vents must remain unobstructed by solar panels, which can complicate solar panel installation. 

Thankfully, as explained above, solar panels are modular and can be placed in multiple locations and orientations on a roof. Solar racking can be cut down to fit tight areas, and the solar panel system as a whole can be placed at multiple spots along a roof to accommodate vents.

Other vents, such as plumbing vents, can be installed over or have the vent extended under and around the solar panels. These vents normally do not cause any issues while installing solar panels.

Unsure what types of vents you have on your roof and is solar will work for you? Conact Green Ridge Solar to get more information about vents and installing solar panels on your roof.


As you can see, there are numerous types of roof obstructions that can complicate a solar installation. Thankfully, solar panels and solar racking are versatile, so installing solar systems around chimneys, skylights, and vents is possible even with these obstructions.

By working with a reputable, local solar company, you can see how many solar panels could fit on your roof, how much energy production they could generate, and how much money you could save with solar panels.

Contact Green Ridge Solar today to find out more about solar energy and get your FREE solar analysis. It’s quick and easy, and you can talk with our friendly solar experts.


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