Things You Should Know Before Putting Solar Panels On Your Roof
Save yourself from making an expensive mistake!
There are more than just a few things you should know before putting solar panels on your roof. Putting solar panels on your roof isnt too complex of a task, but there is a fairly small margin for error which can result in some very expensive repairs. This is why professionals are required to install solar panels to your home correctly.
Lets break down what you need to know before deciding on whether or not to put solar panels on your roof.
Suntegra Tile And Shingle
SunTegra offers its clients two solar products solar shingles and solar tiles. The former can be installed on top of your existing roof, while the latter serves as a replacement for concrete tiles. Since they dont offer a non-photovoltaic option, they are integrated with conventional shingles and tiles.
An interesting feature on the Shingles is the air channels that are attached to the back of the panels to keep them cooler.
This feature is unique to SunTegra and improves the efficiency of the shingles. Furthermore, theyre very low profile and are easy to integrate into your existing roof.
Moreover, SunTegra panels have monocrystalline cells and a peak output of 100-110 watts. They come with a 25-year power warranty and a 10-year product warranty.
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Roof Requirements For Solar Panel Installation: The Official Guide For 2022
About the Author
Solar panels are now an option for most homes. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, more than 2 million PV installs are in the USA. The rapid growth is due to the many benefits these units bring.
PV and solar panels help reduce your energy bills and combat the emission of greenhouse gases. Whats more, their prices have dropped by about 70%.
For homeowners, roof-mounted solar panels present a great way of harnessing the suns energy. But before installing panels, your roof must meet specific requirements. Below are essential solar panel roof requirements.
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What Can Impact The Cause Of Your Roof Replacement
Theres no real clear answer on what exactly can impact the cost of removing your solar panels for roof replacement. Certainly, the size of your roof will affect the cause of actually replacing your roof. So will:
- Roof pitch or slope
- The kind of roof being removed and the number of layers
- The material of your new roof
- Roofing system components like underlayment and decking
- Ease of access to the roof
- Your roof warranty
- Details like lumber, sealant, and counter-flashing
Roof replacement aside, why is there such a variance in the total cost of removing and reinstalling your solar panels? Several factors can affect the removal costs, including:
- The pitch of your roof
- The size of your solar panels and the number of panels in your solar array
- The physical location of your panels as they relate to your home
Additionally, if your roof replacement is going to take some time, your panels will need to be securely stored to avoid any damage from falling roofing materials or other hazards. Solar panels dont weigh much, but they need to be handled carefully and stored safely. If there is no safe place to do this at your home, your solar panels will need to be shipped and stored at an off-site location, which can cost around $250.
Also, if you want to pay to have your solar panels professionally cleaned while they have been removed from your roof, this can cost anywhere between $300 to $430.
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In Addition There Are Also Someflat Out Disadvantages
The more flush the panel lies to the rooftop,the more likely they are to get dirty and lessen the ability to absorbsunlight. Traditional roof pitches keep the panels positioned in such a waythey are basically self-cleaning and dont need to be wiped down. You will haveto be diligent in keeping the panels on a flat roof clean and free of debris.
Not only are they dust and dirt magnets, butpanels that are lying flat are not facing the sus much as panels tilted to thenorth.
Youll also quickly learn that not everycompany is equipped to perform the installation on a flat roof. At this pointin my information discovery, it was becoming abundantly clear where there wasso little information on the installation process. Im sure quite a few folksran screaming long before that point!
Now that weve learned a sufficient amountabout the potential pitfalls, lets finally start working on getting them onthe roof.
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Tip #: Have Your Solar And Roofing Companies Collaborate
If you plan to replace your roof before the solar project, ask your contractors to collaborate. At Artisan, when customers let us know they plan to install solar, we often work alongside the solar company to install extra waterproofing in areas where the solar panels will attach. This helps ensure that everything stays watertight.
Will Solar Companies Replace Your Roof
Hunting for a roofing company and a separate company for solar panel installation is just going to be additional work.
Well let you in on a little secret. You can save yourself from putting in the extra effort by simply going for a company that does both. Yes, you read that right. Some companies offer services that install solar panels and replace roofs.
A free roof replacement with solar panels would be a dream come true, this isnt possible in most cases. However, getting the same company to do both tasks does lower the costs.
For instance, Semper Solaris offers roof replacements along with solar installation with significant cost savings. They provide clients with financing options to make the installation of solar panels on a flat roof more affordable.
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Safety Labels And Directory Placard
Now with everything wired up, add all the safety labels and install the directory placard prior to inspection. Our solar panel company already provided us with all of the labels needed. It was prepackage as sets that cover every label combination you should need. So you will have extras and its possible they are slightly different than what is listed in your plans. If you have any questions, contact the company for clarity. The hardest part is figuring out where to fit all of the labels.
There is also a directory placard required that you will need to order for your solar panel system. The image file is in your plans. We ordered ours from PV Labels and install it next to the Inverter and AC disconnect.
The need for this placard was not obvious to me when I was installing my panels. So it was the only thing I was missing when I installed my panels. I ordered one. But to have my system up and running faster, I quickly 3D printed a placard and installed it. My inspector accepted this printed placard and signed off on the system as is.
Thats it! You now know how to install solar panels on a roof!
Install The Junction Box:
Your solar panel company should provide you with instructions on how to construct the junction box along with the list of fittings and other materials needed. Purchase the specific fittings listed along with the other various hardware like the grounding bar.
Youll likely need to drill a hole for the copper ground wires fitting, so I recommend purchasing a set of step bits from Amazon. Theyll make this much easier and come in handy on future projects as well.
Our solar company recommended an extension ring for the junction box. I was able to make mine work without it, but maneuvering the thick ground wires was a little difficult, so it is worth considering.
Once you have all of your components, drill your mounting bolt holes along with your weep holes. The weep holes will go in whichever corners will be the lowest when the junction box mounted on the rails. This will depend on how you decide to mount yours.
TIP 1: mount junction box on backside of rail
I chose to mount mine to the backside of the rail, parallel with the roof so it would be more hidden when looking up at the panels. This also puts the holes I am drilling for attachment bolts on the wall directly above the lowest two corners where the weep holes are located. This way, if any water gets in there, it weeps out before it can cause any damage.
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Instructions For Installing Solar Panels On Roofs
Here are the pro tips when mounting solar panel systems on shingle roofs:
Step 1: Lay out the installation materials you need.
Make sure that all the materials necessary for installation are nearby. You surely wouldnt want to go from the roof and back repeatedly.
Step 2: Determine where the stanchions go.
Find the roof rafters with the aid of a stud finder or your homes blueprint. These will help you figure out the correct placement of the stanchions. Position the stanchions at least 4 feet apart.
Step 3: Fasten the screws to the roof.
When fastening the screws to the roof, utilize a drill to create holes in the rafters.
Step 4: Tightly put the screws in the holes and secure them.
It would help if you tightly secured the lower and upper aluminum rails to the stanchions. Utilize bolts to do this. Since optimal tightness is required, utilize an impact driver to achieve this.
Afterward, make sure that you seal the screws tightly to maintain the thermal envelope of your home. Substantially, thermoseal roofing is the most excellent way to execute this.
This approach will help keep an incredibly tight lock on your roof and prevent any elements from getting inside. Leakage is less likely to emerge if the stanchions are correctly installed.
Step 5: Gauge the distance from the rails.
Gauge the distance from the rails when installing solar panels. Put a measuring tape diagonally from the top of one rail to the bottom of the rail situated directly across from it.
Whats So Different About A Flatroof
A roof is a roof, right? Not in this case, apparently. There wereloads of reference guides for installing solar panels on traditional roofs. Anymention of flat roofs and the articles got very tight-lipped on the topic,instead, making what seemed like strange warnings.
Writers would sing the praises about the ease ofstandard install and then basically issue words of warning for usflat-roofers. Statements like: Thesepanels can also installed on a flat roof, however, self-installation is notadvised.
There were even blatant warnings suggestingthat an inspector be called in first to do an inspection of the roof in orderto insure safe installation. More than a few times, I was warned aboutpotentially hazardous leaks developing in the roof. It was time to reallydetermine fact from fiction and figure out how I was going to accomplish mytask.
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Solar Panels Are A Safe Protective Choice For Green Energy
Those who want to install solar panels often wonder whether the system will harm their roofs in the process. Fortunately, youll be able to use solar panels without harming your roof. This renewable energy source can protect your roof against weather damage and other risks. If you hire an expert to install solar panels on a relatively new roof, you shouldnt have to worry about anything.
Rose Morrison writes on home improvement topics and is the managing editor of Renovated. She is especially passionate about helping homeowners find ways to be sustainable in their daily lives. Check out her to see more of her work.
Mounting Solar Panels On A Shingle Roof
The racking and mounting system of a solar PV installation normally consist of 10% to 25% of the total cost of the installation. However, the related roof maintenance costs are rarely included in the solar PV financial calculations. All the racking equipment requires roof penetration which can lead to water leaks and also may void the roof warranty. To avoid such costly mistakes the solar PV system should be installed according to municipal code and installation manuals.
Thus, installers and homeowners must be cautious in regards to which roof mounting systems they select.
There are four important measures for selecting a roof mounting system:
I have conducted some brief research on flashings and mounting solutions available on the market. CED Greentech carries most roof mounting solutions, so you can do your own comparison here. The below table represents a brief comparison of the flashings and attachments.
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How To Mount Solar Panels On Roof Step By Step Guide
Do you find solar panels too costly to install? If you know how to mount solar panels on roof, you can reduce your overall expenditures by a few hundred dollars. All you need are the correct materials and this guide to installing solar panels on the roof.
Ideally, you will want a professional to do this because solar panel mounting can be technical. However, if you are a budding handyman, this guide will be your blueprint for installing solar panels on your roof.
Can A House Run On Solar Power Alone
Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining – which means when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.
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Are Solar Shingles Better Than Solar Panels
The main reason why people are more interested in solar shingles than solar panels is that shingles look more aesthetically pleasing. They definitely give your roof a nicer look, but are they really better than traditional solar panels? Lets assess the situation:
- Have a higher home value
- Less efficient in comparison to conventional panels
- Higher module temperatures
- Only a few contractors offer this option
It is apparent that solar shingles have quite a few drawbacks.
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Choose The Right Hardware Solution
Many installation solutions for solar panels on tile roofs are available today. Here are a few options.
Roof Tile Replacements:
- This solar mount for tile roofs replaces a whole roof tile at every solar mount.
- Pros: You end up with a few extra roof tiles to replace ones that might break during installation.
- Cons: You have to have a compatible roof tile shape.
Universal Roof Tile Mounts:
- A universal roof tile mount is a large, flexible metal flashing that can be bent to shape your roof tiles.
- Pros: Works with any tile shape.
- Cons: Youll have to cut the existing tiles and bend the metal flashing, which is time-consuming. Universal roof tile mounts are also expensive.
- We highly recommend that you mount your solar panels on a tile roof using tile hooks.
- Tile hooks mount under the tile, with a part that sticks out to hold the solar racking.
- Pros: Works with any roof tile, and no cutting or shape matching is necessary. Opt for a brand like Quick Hook mounts these include metal flashing to protect water penetration through your roofs paper.
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Tile Roofs Popular In The Southwest Are The Hardest For Solar Installers To Work With Heres How To Avoid A Shoddy Install That Ends Up Leaking Years Later
Tile roofs look great, donât they? Not only do they really suit the architecture of the southwest where they are most popular, but theyâre practical too. A well-installed clay or concrete tile roof can last 50 or even 100 years.
But when it comes to installing solar panels, tile roofs represent the biggest challenge for solar installers. Not only can installing on a tile roof be more expensive, but there can be a higher risk of a poor installation causing damage to the waterproof integrity of the roof, leading to expensive repairs down the road.
That doesnât mean that you should shy away from solar if youâre a homeowner with a tile roof. In this article, weâll talk about the challenges, equipment that manufacturers have designed to make solar tile installations better, and things to watch out for when hiring a contractor to work around your tile roof.
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Solar Panels Ground Mounted
If installing solar panels on your roof is not an option, consider mounting them on the ground. If you have an open space, solar panels that are ground mounted might be your best option. The benefits of having solar panels ground mounted are that they can face any direction and they are easier to install. They are not constrained by the makeup of your roof!
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