Written by: Latest Trends

Solar Panels and Your Roof: What You Need to Know

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Thinking of installing solar panels on your existing roofing system?

Having solar panels is a huge and long-term investment. That’s why you have to make sure that you’re roofing system and its location is suitable for this renewable energy source.

Solar Panels and Your Roofing System

Solar panels offer tons of benefits. It’s no longer surprising to have many people investing in one. But how do you ensure that your roof is ready for this transformation? Connect with your roofing contractor to check your roofing.

Roof Condition

Solar panels have a typical operational life of 25 to 30 years. If your roof is already showing signs of wear and tear or nearing its end of life, consider replacing it first. Solar panels, while designed to be robust and durable, rely heavily on the underlying structure – your roof. A roof in poor condition can compromise the stability and safety of the panels, making them susceptible to damage from external factors like rain, wind, or even minor debris.

Adding solar panels to a roof with pre-existing issues, like leaks or weak spots, can exacerbate those problems. If this is the case, it might be a better option to directly install solar roofing rather than doing it now and replace the old roofing later.

Roof Orientation and Tilt

The sun follows a southern trajectory across the sky in the northern hemisphere. This means a roof facing south will get the most sunlight during the day.

Especially in winter, when days are shorter and the sun is lower, a south-facing roof captures more direct sunlight, countering potential energy shortfalls.

The tilt or angle of your roof determines the angle at which sun rays hit the solar panels. The ideal tilt aims to achieve a perpendicular angle between the sun and the panels at noon during an equinox.

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When sunlight hits the solar panels directly, the panels can absorb and convert the maximum amount of energy. A tilt between 15 to 40 degrees is generally recommended for most locations in the northern hemisphere, though the optimal tilt can vary based on latitude and local climate.

Roof Space

You must also check if you have enough space to accommodate the panels you plan to install. Make sure you have ample space for maintenance. This also prevents shadowing, which can reduce panel efficiency.

Roof Load-Bearing Capacity

Solar panels, though relatively lightweight, add extra weight to your roof. Never install solar panels without checking your roof’s load-bearing capacity to support the panels’ added weight, mounting equipment, and any potential snow or debris accumulation.

Roof Warranty

Installing solar panels can affect your roof’s warranty. Before installation, check the terms of your roof’s warranty to ensure that adding panels won’t void it. Some roofing companies have specific guidelines or partner solar companies, ensuring that your warranty remains intact post-installation.

Local Building Code

Every area has its own building codes and regulations concerning solar panel installations. Before adding panels, familiarize yourself with local requirements. Know what permits and inspections you should have to ensure compliance and avoid potential fines or re-installation.

Key Takeaways

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When considering solar panels, consider how current status of your roof and your home’s location. Knowing these details ensures a seamless transition to sustainable energy. You want to ensure that your decision benefits you and the environment without the hassle.

  • Check roof condition. Ensure that the roof is in optimal condition before installing panels.
  • Optimize for maximum sun exposure so know roof orientation and tilt.
  • Ensure adequate roof space for the number of panels and maintenance.
  • Check if your roof’s system can support the weight of the panels.
  • Ensure your warranty remains valid post-installation.
  • Know local building codes so you can stay compliant with local regulations to avoid potential hurdles.
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Last modified: August 22, 2023