Going solar is the way of the future. We all want to use renewable energy and support the environment.
However, if you just had a new roof put on a few months ago, you are probably wondering if you can switch to solar energy. Will your current roof hold up solar panels? Is there an installation process that will damage your new roof?
Well, let’s take a look at how everything works. In this article, we’re going to discuss if you need a new roof before you install solar panels. So read on.
How Does the Solar Installation Process Work?
You first have to understand how the installation works to understand what role your roof will play in the process. This will help you better manage each step of the process.
The solar installation process is quite involved and complex. It begins with an assessment of your home or business’s existing energy system. Then, professionals will test components of your property that need upgrading or replacing.
Once they identify these needs, a knowledgeable solar contractor can provide you with an accurate estimate. This estimate includes all the necessary parts and materials for overall installation costs.
It will be up to you if you would accept the estimate or if you want to negotiate or look for a different provider. Then, the solar installer can begin to order, pick up, and transport the materials to the job site.
From there, the installation team will mount the hardware. They will connect the panels to the existing connections. They will install electrical inverters and then complete any necessary wiring.
After regulators check the installation, the solar panel installer will complete the permitting. They will activate the system and proceed to monitor it for performance and safety.
When the system is active, you become eligible for any applicable incentives from your energy provider and the government. These incentives might be warranties and guaranties or tax credits that will aid you in maintaining your panels.
The entire process from start to finish usually takes several weeks. It can be quite labor-intensive, depending on the size and complexity of the project.
Do You Need New Roofs?
Installing solar panels requires a roof that is in a usable condition. So the answer to the question could be yes, you need a roof replacement or no, your roofs are fine. It all depends on the state of your roof.
To tell if you need new roofs, take a look at the list below:
- It’s showing signs of wear like missing shingles, water damage, or leaks.
- It’s more than 15 years old.
- It’s made from wood shakes.
- It bears signs of excessive rust.
- It has damage from hail, wind, and storms.
- It’s sagging.
- If you’re constantly repairing it.
- It’s facing a shaded part of your property.
This is because there are requirements your roof must meet before solar panel installers can make your home sustainable. Take a look at the list below of how your roof should be:
- It should be in perfect condition to hold the weight of the panels.
- It’s less than 10 years old.
- It has no major damages.
- The slant of the roofs are facing the direction that received the most sunlight.
What Types of Roof Materials Are Most Compatible With Solar Panels?
If you need new roofs, there are various materials you can use to make installing solar panels easier. To maximize your renewable energy, take a look at the types of roof materials below:
Metal roofs are one of the most popular and compatible types of roofs for solar panels. This is because they are durable and lightweight, cost-effective, and have a low-maintenance and long lifespan.
They are installed in single large sheets, creating a seamless and watertight seal. They offer a beautiful, modern, and sleek aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye.
Metal roofs also last for 50-70 years and transfer heat derived from the sun three to four times better than normal. Not to mention that they are recyclable. They provide additional safety to homes in extreme weather and provide insulation benefits in the summer and winter.
Clay Tile Roofs
Clay tile roofs are attractive and durable, typically lasting up to 50 years. These roofs are also fire-resistant and extremely lightweight. This makes them easier to install with a solar system.
Clay tile roofs also have a higher thermal mass, which allows them to handle extreme temperature changes with minimal damage. The added weight of a solar system is also not problematic for most clay roof tiles. This is because they are often able to handle more than double their original weight without becoming damaged.
The only potential downside with a clay tile roof is that penetrations are more difficult to make. Special fasteners and tools are necessary to prevent damage to the tile. Otherwise, clay tile roofs are a great option for homeowners looking for a long-term, durable roof that can support a solar panel system.
Asphalt Shingle Roofs
Asphalt shingle roofs are one of the most compatible with solar panels. The weightlessness and durability of asphalt shingles make them ideal for supporting solar panels.
Asphalt shingles also provide excellent weather protection from ultraviolet rays and precipitation. This makes them long-lasting and reliable. Similar to metal and clay roofs, they have a long lifespan and easy upkeep.
Flat vs. Slating Roofs
At this point, you might be looking for more helpful tips. You might be asking yourself, what kind of roofing style should I get? Are flat roofs better or do slate roofs make more sense?
Solar panels are most compatible with flat roofing, due to their accessibility and ease of installation. With the flat surface, there is more space to accommodate the solar panels. Professionals will be able to install them without difficulty.
On the other hand, a slate roof does not provide the same level of convenience and will require more effort to install. The roofing needs to be structurally reinforced to safely hold the weight of the panels and create a flat area on the roof. With the panels fixed to the roof, there will be a reduced risk of wind damage as it is easier to secure them.
Benefits of Opting for Solar Panel Installation on a New Roof
A major advantage of installing solar panels on a new roof is that you can get the best and highest efficiency out of your system. With a new roof, you will have fewer leaks and holes, helping keep the performance of the panels optimal.
Additionally, a new roof can better support the weight of the solar panels and necessary equipment. The installation process will be less labor-intensive and take less time which will reduce labor costs.
A newer roof also has a lower risk of roof damage due to solar panel installation or other roof work. This is because it is not subject to preexisting damage.
Risks of Installing Solar Panels on Existing Roofs
Though installing solar panels on existing roofs may seem like a good idea, there are a few drawbacks. If a roof is too old, it may not be able to support the additional weight of a solar panel array.
Existing roofs that are past their lifespan may also likely have leaks or other issues. If such issues are present, the added weight of the solar panels can cause further damage.
Furthermore, rooftop obstructions such as chimneys, vents, and skylights may impede the sun’s rays. It may even affect the panels in terms of both power output and efficiency.
The amount of sunlight received by the panels may have limitations due to the shade of other structures and vegetation around the house. This is unlike a new roof which will better support the additional weight of the panels.
Understanding the Cost of Investment
When considering the costs, remember that the initial investment of installing a new roof will pay off. You should not feel overwhelmed by the initial costs because it has the potential to help you save money in the long run.
Depending on the type of new roof or solar panel you choose, the cost could range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. This is because many factors go into the cost of repairs and installation. These include the size of the roof, materials used, and labor costs.
Additionally, the location of your property can also affect the cost of installation. Some areas of the country have higher labor costs.
Thankfully, there are many financing options available to spread out the cost of such an investment. You can look into more manageable monthly payments or you can take our loans.
Get News When You Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are a cost-effective and green energy solution and having a new roof installed before installation is recommended. This will help ensure your solar panels can have up-to-date features and are installed according to the newest safety regulations.
What are you waiting for? Contact a certified roofing specialist and start your journey. Go green and install solar panels now.
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