Roof Orientation: What Is The Best Direction For Solar Panels
You may have heard that only-south facing roofs are good for solar, but thats a misconception. South-facing roofs are definitely ideal, but theyre not the only option. Solar can be installed facing the east or west and still produce plenty of energy. Weve successfully helped many homeowners wipe out their electric bills in spite of less than desirable roof orientations. For example, the Galkowskis, a Westwood family, turned to us to help them build a solar system on their east and west-facing, shaded roof. With a tailored design to optimize sun exposure and high-efficiency products, their system brought their monthly electric bill from $220 to only $60. Plus, theyre able to offset the remaining balance with solar incentives.
Solar Shingles: When You Need To Reroof
For those who are planning on renovating their roof completely, or building a new home, then solar shingles could provide a solution. Solar shingles are not as efficient as regular monocrystalline solar panels and, as such, you need more of them to provide the same amount of energy. They are also much more expensive than regular solar panels. However, if money is no object and you want to integrate solar seamlessly into your roof, then solar shingles can provide a sleek alternative.
Do You Trust Your Contractor
Installing a solar power system is both a home improvement and electrical project. This is why when you start your search for the right contractor, you validate that they have the correct credentials. For example, asking if they have accreditation from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is a good place to start.
Choosing a contractor that you feel will also be around for the long term is also an important factor to consider. While there is little maintenance that is required, if something stops working, you want your contractor available to fix it under warranty.
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Roof Shading: Does Solar Work In The Shade
For maximum sun exposure, you want minimal shading. Do you have trees or a chimney that shades your roof? If you have trees that impede solar access, you may want to consider removal. Just like the cost of replacing a roof, the cost of tree removal can be wrapped into the Federal Solar Tax Credit. Certain panel designs help lessen power loss from shading, but you should consider how much the shading impacts your home to see if you should consider tree removal for solar.
Does Installing Solar Panels Void Your Roof Warranty
If you mount your PV panel correctly, it wont void your roof warranty. Solar panels rest on rack systems, which arent detrimental to your roof. A well-installed system will even protect your roof from the elements.
Issues occur when mounting systems penetrate your roof or violate the manufacturers specifications. Roof damages might occur due to:
- Negligence by the solar panel installer
- Equipment damage when installing PV panels
- Poor installation of racks, fasteners, or flashings
- Poor quality rack systems
Theres always the risk of roof damage when you mount panels on your home. Thats why reputable solar installation companies offer workmanship warranties. This warranty will cover you for almost ten years against damages caused by PV installation.
Also, check whether your roof coverage protects your roof from installation damages.
Its necessary to consult with your roofer on the implications of solar panels on a roof warranty. Your roofer is likely to be well-versed in the types of contracts that may turn void during solar installation.
Its vital to hire qualified PV panel installers. Ask the installing company about warranty issues when contractors dent your roof.
Installing rooftop solar panels is a significant investment in your home. But before undertaking such a project, ensure you adhere to solar panel roof requirements. The above guide should help you understand whether your roof can accommodate solar panels.
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Solar Panels And Roof Damage
Many property owners worry about damaging their roof when installing a solar panel system. These installations will typically last around 30 to 35 years, so its important to make sure installing panels doesnt cause harm to your roof. Fortunately, roof damage as a result of a solar panel installation is extremely rare because installers take precautionary steps while installing panels to prevent leaks and other damage from occurring.
Whats The Difference Between Buying And Leasing
Theres a big difference between leasing and buying solar panels. Leasing solar panels is like renting them. Youll be paying a monthly cost to have them on your home without ever truly owning them.
Buying solar panels may often require a loan to which you will have a monthly payment, but that loan will eventually go away, and youll own the panels and all of the energy savings they bring. When speaking to a solar representative, talk through the benefits of both leasing and buying so that you can decide whats right for you.
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Whats The Next Step In Installing Solar Panels
If youre interested in having a new roof installed or have questions about installing solar panels on your current roof, contact the roofing experts at Sunshine Contracting Corp. We rank in the top two percent of roofing contractors in the nation and have been recognized through multiple certifications and awards for the outstanding work we consistently deliver.
We offer roofing services in Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford County and the surrounding areas. We are happy to answer your questions online, over the phone at 703-935-4663, or in person through a free consultation at your home.
If you decide not to install solar panels but are looking for other ways to improve your homes energy efficiency, ask us about installing new doors and windows that could help lower your energy costs and reduce your homes carbon footprint. And if you are interested in having solar panels installed, its still worth considering new windows and doors to maximize your homes energy efficiency. Whatever your contracting needs, Sunshine Contracting Corp can get the job done.
Can Solar Panels Damage Your Roof
If solar panels are installed correctly on a well-constructed roof, the answer is no, they wontdamage your roof. During the installation process, racks for the panels are secured to your roofs rafters and are equipped to handle the weight of a solar panel system.
As long as your solar panels are installed properly using the right tools, there will be no damage to your roof. When preparing for installation, experienced professionals will take your unique solar panel system into account and prepare to install it on your roof accordingly.
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Can My Roof Support Solar Panels
There are a lot of logistics that go into determining if your home is a good fit for solar panels. If you want to do some research on your own, youve come to the right spot. In this article, we will be covering the basics of supporting roof-mounted solar, some basic technical terms, and potential hazards when it comes to installing solar on your roof.
Proper Solar Panel Installation
Theres generally no need to worry about solar panels damaging the surface of your roof. Proper roof solar panel installation typically includes a system, such as a roof clamp or ballasted racking system, that doesnt involve making holes in your roof. As long as these are installed correctly, youll have a reduced risk of having problems with leaks and moisture. Keep in mind that solar panels can be safely and properly installed on many types of roofs, including asphalt shingles, metal, wood, concrete, slate, clay, and rubber. Even flat roofs can have solar panels as long as theyre tilted at the right angle.
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Do Solar Panels Make Your Roof Last Longer
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, studied how solar panels protect roofs from the direct heat of the sun and found that they can help keep buildings cooler during the day and warmer at night. By blocking solar radiation from the roof itself, solar panels may also protect your roof from heat-related degradation.
Keep in mind that older roofs will eventually need to be repaired or replaced, and doing so means taking down existing solar panels. This can be costly and increase the possibility that either the roof or the solar panels will be damaged in the process. Solar panels can last between 20 and 25 years, so if your current roof will not last that long, consider getting a new one before installing solar so the timing of replacing both systems matches up.
The Value Of A Site And Roof Evaluation: Whats Next
Choosing a solar installer to inspect your roof is the best way to know if youre a good fit for rooftop solar. While there are a handful of websites that offer free quotes through online calculators, these tools fail to take into account the unique roof characteristics outlined above. On the other hand, with an on-site energy assessment, a solar professional carefully examines your roofs shape, size, condition, shading, and material to ensure your system saves you money and looks good, too. If you decide to go solar, the same team that evaluates your roof can then design and install a custom system based on your needs.
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What Material Should My Roof Be Made From
The material your roof is made from may impact the cost of installing an array, however a solar PV system can generally be installed on most roof types. One of the most important factors you will need to consider is how strong your roof is. Installers should carry out a structural report to assess this and likely recommend strengthening if your roof requires it. You can read more about this in our guide to questions you should ask your solar installer.
Asphalt shinglesAsphalt, or composite roofing, is arguably the most suitable for a solar panel installation. Its a durable and highly-reliable material that has grown in popularity across the UK.
MetalA metal standing seam roof is another great contender for best roof material for solar panels as they can be fitted with ease potentially saving you money on the installation.
TarA tar roof tends to be flat and while its possible for flat solar panels to generate electricity for your property, your installer might recommend a bracket to tilt them at a more optimal angle of 30-40 degrees. The same can be said for a gravel roof which are also normally flat.
WoodWood is the best material to sit below a solar panel installation largely due to fire safety concerns but that doesnt mean you have to rule having a solar PV system installed.
Carefulinstallation Is Important To Preserve Roof Integrity
One issue when installing anything inthe roof of your home is that you want to maintain as much structural integrityof the roof as possible Any kind of drilling holes, no matter how small, canintroduce moisture to the interior structures of the roof.
Since many houses are wood-based structures that also contain plaster and other materials that are susceptible to water damage, this can introduce leaks into the houses roof that may not be discovered for months or even years.
Because water damage not only damagesthe structure of the home but also reduces the weight limit of the roof, itsvital that the amount of mounting locations in your solar panel rigging isminimized as much as possible, and that any punctures made to the roof areproperly sealed.
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Is My Roof Compatible With Solar Panels
Whether youre thinking of installing solar panels on your current roof or re-roofing first, there are a few things to consider to make sure your roof will accommodate solar panels. The good news is most types of roofs are compatible with solar panels. However, roofs today arent usually installed with solar in mind, so you may have to make some adjustments to your current roof. Or, if youre installing a new roof, you can keep these factors in mind in order to optimize your new roof for a solar installation.
Besides the age and condition of a roof, the main aspects that affect its compatibility with solar panels are:
Lets take a quick look at each of these factors.
What If My Roof Cant Support Solar Panels
Thats okay! A common misconception about solar is that the only type is roof-mounted. In fact, there are many types of solar installations that can be installed if your current roof cant support panels. Lets go over a couple of the options to give you a better idea of the variety of options available.
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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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What Is The Square Footage Of Your Roof
Roof size matters when it comes to solar. Your roof may need to meet a minimum requirement of usable surface area to have solar panels installed.
The minimum usable surface area allows solar panels to be correctly installed on your roof, helping you to meet your solar goals and comply with building codes. Most building codes require pathways of open roof area for access and ventilation to clear smoke, fumes, and heat in a fire. Your solar consultant will address these details during your project.
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What Problems With Installing Solar Panels Can Arise
When people dont ask themselves any of the above questions and just dive into installation, they risk many problems.
1) They invest a ton of money but get little reward.
2) Their roof suffers because its not the proper material or condition to support solar panel installation.
3) Solar energy ends up being too inefficient to power their home.
4) They do not benefit from any tax rebates or state programs and never get a return on their investment.
5) They dont weigh the pros and cons of a solar roof and install one based on trends or a desire to be more sustainable.
Careful consideration should go into solar panel installation to avoid the problems mentioned. Solar panels can be highly beneficial for sustainability, energy savings, curb appeal, increased home value, and more. But without weighing all the options, it can cause problems down the road that homeowners are ill-prepared for.
Thankfully, the professional team at Secured Roofing and Restoration can answer any questions you may have when it comes to installing solar panels on your roof. If you are on the fence about it or are ready to go full solar power, contact us today for more information and to get an estimate!
Installation Costs For Flat Roof Solar Panels Are Competitive With A Standard Sloped Rooftop Installation
Labor and installation costs typically make up about ten percent of your total solar panel system costs. This is partially due to the logistics of climbing around on a steep roof to affix solar panels and their mounts. The process of installing a solar panel system on a flat roof is simpler by comparison workers can move freely on the roof without special equipment, and most of the roof materials used on flat roofs can easily handle the wear that occurs during the installation process.
As an added benefit, your solar installer wont need to make holes in your roof to install flat solar panels. Solar installations on sloped rooftops typically use a penetration mount, which fixes the racking that holds the solar panels to your rooftop by drilling multiple holes. Flat roof systems typically use a weighted mounting system instead . This system uses gravity to sit atop on your roof without the need for any holes.
That being said, solar panels installed on flat roofs sometimes require specialized equipment to maximize their electricity production. Instead of laying flat solar panels on a sloped roof, your solar installer will likely use angled mounts that tilt your solar panels up so that theyre exposed to the sun for as much of the day as possible. This can sometimes result in a slightly higher price tag for your flat roof solar panel system.
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Do You Have Any Trees That Will Need To Be Removed
Trees are one of the main causes of roof damage and can also cause a lot of damage to your solar panels. Removing any overhanging tree branches will be essential before you can install your solar panels. Additionally, overhanging tree branches will shade your solar panels and keep them producing the optimal amount of electricity.
The Relationship Between Solar Panels And Roof Replacement
Why are roof repairs or replacement often necessary before the installation of solar panels? According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the average weight of a PV module is between 33 and 50 pounds. Solar panel arrays often consist of ten or more modules, which means over 300 pounds of additional strain on your roof. Even if the damage to your roof is minor, the strain of this additional load could lead to a structural failure.
Likewise, if your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, the cost of uninstalling and reinstalling the solar panels when time runs out is often much higher than proactively replacing the roof prior to installation.
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