Depending On The Type Of Roof You Have And Aesthetic Considerations There Are Different Ways To Mount Solar Panels On Your Roof Here’s An Overview Of The Choices
The most visible part of a home solar system is the panels. Around 95% of homeowners choose a roof-mounted system, so how the panels are attached to the roof is a key detail of the installation.
Solar panels are attached to a roof using a mounting system. The most common type is a rail-based system, which uses aluminum rails as the structure onto which the panels and other components, such as wiring and inverter components, are attached. These rails in turn are attached to mounting points called footings that are bolted into the structural beams of the roof.
Another type that is becoming more popular is a railless mounting system. As the name suggests, railless systems dont have rails onto which the equipment is mounted. Instead, the solar panels are attached directly to footings that are fixed to your roof.
There are pros and cons to both types of mounting systems. While there are aesthetic considerations that might cause a homeowner to ask their installer to choose one type over another, technical demands will usually be the deciding factor. In addition, whether you have shingles, tiles, or metal on a flat or pitched roof will often dictate how your solar panels are mounted to your roof.
This is a pretty complicated topic, so Ill link to other articles Ive written that are specific to particular roof types. But first, lets start with the basics of how solar mounting systems work.
Who Can Install Tesla Solar Shingles
Solar shingles are usually installed by certified solar companies that partner with the solar shingle manufacturers.
So, if you get a Tesla solar roof, Tesla wont be the one installing them. One of their solar roof installer partners, either a solar installer or roofing company, will be the ones putting the solar roof on your home.
If You Have A Roof That Is Not Old But Not New Either And You Want To Go Solar
Lets say that your roof will resist for another 5 to 10 years, you should go solar now or wait until you replace the roof?
Well, if you wait another 5 to 10 years, the 26% tax credit will no longer be here, so you will miss the opportunity to make your roof using the tax credit.
In 5 to 10 years from now on, solar will become 10 to 20% cheaper, but you forget the fact that the price paid on your monthly electricity bill increases every year .
How much money you can save in the next 5 to 10 years if you install solar this year?
You can still use the tax credit to do the roof and install solar, so why to wait another decade just because you have to pay about $10,000 to do the roof in 2030.
If you decide not to install solar due to the roof, you will lose much more money in a period of 5 to 10 years than the price paid to do the roof.
How do you see yourself in 2030?
Without solar and without the tax credit, but with high electricity bills and with a roof that needs to be replaced?
Or you go solar this year , and by 2030 you pay off the PV system, and all the energy produced after that is only yours for at least another two decades.
Also Check: Is Roof Repair Covered By Home Insurance
We Offer Options That Allow Us To Help You Maintain Your Roof
In rare cases, we may need to look at and address your solar mounting points.
Understand your Vivint Solar warranty. For homeowners with a Vivint Solar system, the information can be found in your solar contract. Most solar installers warranty the roof penetrations from the installation. We ask that, as a homeowner, you maintain the overall condition of your roof and other non-solar affiliated roof penetrations such as skylights, plumbing vents, attic vents, etc. Ridges, valleys, and roof-to-wall transitions are also important and vulnerable parts of a roof that we recommend you assess and maintain.
What Is A Rail
This type of system is based on aluminum rails that are attached in rows to your roof. The rails are secured to the roof with footings . You can see an example in the photo at the top of this article.
Rail-based solar mounting systems are strong and are the most common type in use. This popularity is advantageous because installation crews have a lot of experience with them.
Their strength can be an important factor in regions where a solar array can be subjected to strong forces, such as hurricanes. Because the rails provide rigidity, they are a good choice when high winds or heavy snow loads are a possibility.
Another benefit of rails is they provide a convenient mounting point for wiring and inverter components. Good wire management is a particularly underappreciated part of a solar installation. Poor wire management can be ugly, but can also lead to electrical problems down the road. Loose wires can flap around in the wind, eventually causing insulation to wear away, exposing the wire underneath.
On the other hand, rail-based systems may have higher costs and take longer to install than railless systems.
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Remove Solar Panels To Replace Roof Costs
As more homeowners are investing in solar panels, the way that roofing is done is changing over time. When you install solar panels on your roof, you will need to have them removed in order to replace the roof material, decking, and other components whenever that time comes.
The process of removing solar panels involves unhooking the solar power generation system, uninstalling the hardware that holds the panels in place, and then taking down and securely storing the panels until it is time to put them back up again. The size and type of solar panels that you have in place will affect the cost and labor involved in the project. Solar panel removal services should be used to complete the project, as the average roofer is not familiar with the intricate inner workings of the modern solar panel system.
Removal of solar panels to replace the roof: 15 panels.
Why Is It Better To Replace Your Roof Before Installing Solar Panels
At this point, we have established that replacing a roof can be quite expensive. However, it is a better option. Its a one time expense which will save you in the future.
The insulation of your house depends on your roof. So, if you need to turn up the AC in the summers or increase the heat during the winters more often, then it means your roof isnt able to insulate properly.
Moreover, a new roof will raise the value of your home. Dont worry about spending too much money on it because if you choose to sell, the money will return to you.
See Related: Are Solar Panels a Fire Hazard?
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Home Assessment By Solar Experts
Before solar panels are installed, it is necessary to assess whether your house is suitable for solar. Whether your home is a fit for solar determines the price of the solar system.
For residential solar installation, you need to get an assessment from your solar provider. You cannot decide on your own whether solar will be ideal for your home. Here is an overview of three things to determine your eligibility:
What Are Solar Panel Roof Tiles
Solar roof tiles are small solar PV panels which are designed to look like traditional roof tiles. If you’re replacing your roof these tiles can be fitted alongside standard tiles to generate solar electricity for your home.
Solar roof tiles are often referred to as solar shingles or sometimes as solar slates. Solar tiles are more widely available in the US at the moment but they are becoming more and more of a popular choice in new builds in the UK, or they can be installed as part of a complete roof replacement.
A solar tile roof is viewed by many as a more attractive alternative to traditional solar panels as these can protrude out and often don’t match the colour of the roof. However, they are not suitable for all roof types and there are pros and cons to consider before making an investment.
Also Check: Is The Tesla Solar Roof Worth It
How Much Does Solar Panel Removal Cost If You Need To Replace Your Roof
If you run into a roofing issue, and need to replace the roof post-installation, there will be labor costs associated with taking the panels off your roof and putting them back on.
Unfortunately, its hard to give specifics on the costs associated with this labor, as it can vary greatly. Installers will have different rates for their labor, and the cost can also vary based on the size of the system, how many panels will need to be removed, and whether you need a place to store the equipment.
If mounting hardware also needs to be removed in order to replace your roof, this will add onto the cost. On average, residential installations tend to cost somewhere between $1,500 to $6,000 to remove and reinstall.
For this type of work, its common to return to your original solar installer for the labor theyll be most familiar with the ins and outs of your particular system installation. Regardless, if youd prefer to not use that installer, there are many solar companies that provide operations and maintenance services for installations that arent their own.
If re-roofing post-installation is a concern for you, its always good to ask your potential installer how often they do this type of work, and the typical cost associated with it. Some companies will actually specify a price for this in your initial contract, and it never hurts to request this from your company prior to installation.
What Does Solarreviews Recommend When It Comes To Solar Roof Shingles Vs Conventional Solar Panels
Our advice depends on your circumstances:
If youre building a new house, solar photovoltaic shingles are worth considering. They are a functional roof, a way to reduce electric bills, and can be a beautiful, sleek architectural feature. They can also be a good idea if youre in need of a roof replacement.
However, if your home doesnt need a roof replacement, conventional solar panels will be substantially cheaper than some of these solar shingle options. Not to mention, traditional solar panels are more widely available than solar shingles, and the installation process will likely be faster.
If youre looking to switch to solar, the sooner you get the installation done, the better. The 26% federal solar tax credit steps down at the end of 2021 and expires completely at the end of 2023.
Plus, net metering, the law that allows you to export excess solar energy back to the grid at the full retail electricity rate, is at risk in many states where its currently offered – further indicating that securing your solar panel system now is more important than ever.
Find out how much you can save annually by switching to solar
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If There Is A Problem Well Do What We Can To Reduce Potential Costs
If the roof work is not urgent, well help you schedule the solar removal, roof repair, and/or reinstallation in as short of a window as possible, so as to maximize your energy savings.
Does your solar provider have a process to remove and reinstall solar panels? We do. The agreement you have with your solar installer or service provider should detail the process to remove and reinstall the solar system for you to facilitate roof repairs.
Is your roof being replaced as an insurance event by your insurance provider? If yes, your homeowners insurance may also cover the cost of solar removal and reinstall. If youve installed with Vivint Solar, we can help you by providing a quote to give to themjust give us a call.
In the end, the main thing to keep in mind is that you are never without options. Be it a roof repair, solar repair, or complete system or roof replacement, your solar provider should always have a solution for you that will meet your needs as a homeowner.
*Maintenance options vary by agreement type see Vivint Solar Plans for details.
What Is The Best Roof For Solar Panels
One of the great things about solar panels is the fact that they can be installed on any type of roof, however, different roof types can affect the solar panel installation process and the solar panel efficiency.
Position and angle
The main factor to take into consideration when choosing the best roof section for solar panels is position. Theres an optimum angle for solar panels that allows them to capture and convert as much sunlight as possible. A 30-degree angle is perfect.
And the panel should not just be pointed in any direction. By facing north, your panels will benefit from long hours of sunlight, allowing them to produce more electricity.
If your home has a multi-section slanted roof, it might be that a section of your roof is positioned perfectly facing north. But if not, that does not mean your roof is not suited to solar panels. East or west facing panels can also be effective, as theyll receive a lot of sunlight at different times of day.
As for flat roofs, brackets can be used to position panels at the best angle, facing north, west, or east.
While solar panels can be installed on all different types of roofs, they all come with different benefits.
Also Check: How Much Replace Roof Shingles
What Is A Railless Solar Mounting System
As the name suggests, railless systems dont use rails. Instead, the system is based on brackets and footings. The solar panels are attached to the footings with brackets, allowing the installer to lay out the grid of panels with a lot less equipment.
Solar panels have aluminum frames, which provide a lot of structural rigidity that allow them to withstand severe weather such as hurricanes and hail. Railless systems take advantage of this feature, relying on the stiffness of the solar panel frame to allow the array to remain secure for a couple decades or more.
One benefit of a railless installation system is that theres a lot less equipment involved. This means less weight on your roof and less gear for the installer to haul around. Most solar installers try to get a home system installed in just one day to minimize driving time, so this can be a significant cost savings.
In addition, railless systems can also have an asthetic benefit because theres less equipment visible. Some manufacturers, such as SnapNrack, offer the option of a skirt that attaches to the visible edge of the array, hiding the gap between the panels and roof and giving the system a smoother appearance. When combined with all-black solar panels, this can give a solar array a really smooth appearance.
However, some railless systems such as the SnapNrack pictured above have been approved by Miami-Dade County.
We Take Into Account The Status Of Your Roof Before We Install
During your home assessment, our technicians review your home to ensure itll be compatible with a Vivint Solar system. If your roof needs to be repaired, our technicians will alert your Sales Manager that your roof cannot support a Vivint Solar system. At that point, your Sales Manager will review your available roof options with you and discuss whether or not youre in a situation where we can fix or upgrade your roof, so it can support a solar energy system. The key thing for us is safety. If your roof isnt able to support a system, we do everything in our power to ensure that it can prior to installation. Otherwise, we wont move forward with the installation.
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Do You Need A Roof Replacement First
You may want to have a roof inspection done before you install solar panels to make sure that it is going to be able to hold up to the effort. This is especially important if you think your roof may already be near the end of its life.
Overall, if you think you may need a roof replacement in the next 10 years or do, get an experts opinion before considering solar panel installation.
There are some solar companies that offer roofing services, but generally, reroofing is going to be done prior to or right around the time of your new solar installation. Youll essentially get the new roof and solar panels all at once!
If you do need a new roof before going to solar energy, its a good idea to get it done.
When you add solar pannels to your roof after a roof replacement, the panels will make the lifetime of your roof last longer.
If you are getting a roof replacement with solar panels at the same time there is a good chance you wont need to reroof again until you need a new solar system. That saves you money in the long run on maintenance and energy.
If you do have solar panels on your roof and you run into a need to replace your roof, post solar panel installation, you will have the added cost of labor to remove and replace the solar panels while the re-roofing process is taking place.