Solar panels are growing in popularity around the United States because of their energy-saving properties and aesthetic look. Now you may have heard horror stories about solar panels and how they can damage your roof. I’m here to dispel these rumors and tell you what’s what about solar panels.
Solar panels will not ruin your roof as long as they are installed correctly. In fact, solar panels can protect your roof from the elements more efficiently than regular roofing. Solar panels will not only save you money but will offer an extra layer of protection for your roof against heat, rain, snow, and other elements.
This guide will go over everything you need to know about solar panel roofs and what to expect once you have them installed.
Two Reasons To Install Solar Panels
There are two main reasons to install solar panels in your home. We will cover these in the next sections so you are aware of how much you can benefit.
Renewable Clean Energy
Sunlight is the source of clean, pure energy. Our collective dependence on fossil fuels can be reduced by installing solar panels in our homes. Natural gas and coal are the traditional sources of electricity.
The burning of fossil fuels for electricity releases poisonous gases that are responsible for air pollution and global warming. The problem with fossil fuels isn’t just that they’re bad for the environment, they’re also finite. Therefore, the price fluctuates a lot and can go up fast.
In addition to improving public health, renewable energy is also good for the environment. There’s a lot of pollution from coal and natural gas plants. It’s possible to reduce premature mortality and health care costs by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy doesn’t require much water or pollutes the water. Besides not polluting water, solar power doesn’t strain the world’s water supply.
A heat wave or drought doesn’t stop solar power. Nuclear power, coal, and natural gas use lots of water to cool. It’s hard to generate electricity during heat waves or droughts, as we’ve seen in recent years. Electricity can be generated without water with solar power systems. As well as creating jobs, solar power is clean. Clean energy has been a U.S. priority.
Low Energy Bills
Here’s one that’s pretty cool. You’ll start saving on your energy bill right away if you live somewhere with some sun. It’s likely that you’ll generate more than you consume on warm spring days, so you can pass those savings on to yourself. During the summer, when the air conditioner is running, or on cloudy days, you can draw power from the grid.
You still get more than two hours of sunlight a day if you live somewhere cloudy, and you get about 5.5 hours a day if you live somewhere sunny.
Despite the fact that solar panels produce more energy on sunny days, they still draw energy on cloudy days. Your home will still be powered by indirect sunlight. The amount of power generated on a cloudy day is usually between 10 and 20 percent less than that produced on a sunny day.
Now you may be interested in the different ways that solar panels can be attached to a roof. I will cover these ways in the next section.
How Are The Solar Panels Attached To The Roof?
These systems use aluminum rails attached to your roof in rows. Footings attach the rails to the roof. It’s pretty common to mount solar panels on rails. They’re popular because installation crews are familiar with them.
In areas where strong forces like hurricanes can affect solar arrays, their strength can be important. High winds or heavy snow loads can make rails a great choice because of their rigidity. As an added bonus, rails provide a convenient mounting point for wires and inverter parts.
An underappreciated aspect of solar installations is wire management. It is not only ugly to have poor wire management, but it can also cause future electrical problems. When you have loose wires, the insulation wears away, exposing the wire underneath. Compared to rail-less systems, rail-based systems are more expensive and take longer to install.
Bolting Or Clamping In Place
In rail-less systems, there are no rails. Brackets and footings are used instead. It’s a lot easier to install solar panels with brackets attached to the footings.
Aluminum frames make solar panels very rigid, so they can withstand severe weather like hurricanes and hail. This feature allows rail-less systems to stay secure for decades because of the stiffness of the solar panel frame.
There’s a lot less equipment required with a rail-less installation system. Your roof will be lighter, and the installer will have less gear to haul. Installing a solar system in one day can save a lot of money since most solar installers try to minimize driving time.
Plus, rail-less systems look better because less equipment is visible. You can get a skirt that attaches to the edge of the array, making the system look smoother and hiding the gaps between the panels and the roof. This looks really smooth when combined with all-black solar panels.
It’s hard to get approval for rail-less systems in hurricane zones. Even though solar panel frames are strong, rail-based systems add extra strength, making them great for places like Florida with hurricanes. Now it is important to understand the basic protection that a solar panel can provide. I will cover these protections next.
What Protection Does A Solar Panel Give The Roof?
You also get shade from your solar panels in the summer. The ceiling of a building can be cooled by 5 degrees using solar panels. Because your roof gets less direct sun, it absorbs less heat, keeping your house cooler.
Protection From The Elements
Over the years, bad weather can damage a roof, such as snow, hail, winds, and rain. It can help protect the roof and even make it last longer than it would without solar panels since there is now a roadblock blocking out the severe weather to a certain degree.
There are some installation issues that you should be aware of. Knowing what problems to be on the lookout for can help you avoid these problems in the future.
Improper Installation Issues
Solar Panels Too Heavy For Roof
Almost all solar installations, let’s say 95%, can be handled by the existing roof. You need to make sure your roof fits in that 95%. You’ll need to hire a third-party architect or structural engineer to evaluate your home and its solar system. Getting a certified letter stating the roof is capable of supporting the panels is awesome.
It’s their job to make sure your roof can handle the added weight, so they’ll recommend what needs to be changed. The roof might need to be repaired or replaced, or the beams or rafters might need extra support
Together, you’ll review these changes and decide if they fit your goals. The revamped structure will be reevaluated if the changes are made. Solar installation can start if the structural engineer deems the building safe.
Improper Racking Job
Photovoltaic mounting systems, or solar module racks, are used to mount solar panels. Panels won’t stay in place if they’re not racked correctly. It’s important to tighten all bolts securely and follow industry standards. If you don’t anchor your panels well, they might not last.
Not Enough Solar Exposure
Taking in heat from the sun and converting it into electricity is how solar panels work. The panels have to be installed at the right angle to do this. Professionals can help guide you through this process so that you get the most use out of your panels.
People love solar panels because they’re easy to install. Once they’re installed, you shouldn’t have to spend much time maintaining them. They can be high-maintenance, however, if they don’t get installed right.
Make sure you know what you’re doing if you install your panels yourself. Don’t try to do it yourself if you don’t have the skills. Don’t do business with anyone who doesn’t guarantee their work. If you notice anything wrong with your panels, call them right away so they can fix it.
Extra Benefits Of A Solar Panel Roof
There are a couple of extra benefits that you will get with a solar panel roof. These will be covered in the sections below.
Solar Panels Will Help Keep The House Cool
Solar panels can also help keep the heat from entering your home. Because of the way solar panels work, all of the excess heat will be converted into energy, keeping the inside of your home much cooler during hotter months.
Solar Panels Can Add Value To Your Home
Solar panels are becoming way more popular among homeowners because of their energy efficiency. They can also increase the overall value of your home can go up if you have solar panels. In contrast, integrated solar panels are lower profile and won’t be an eyesore on your roof, so they’re a better investment.
Finding A Professional For Your Solar Panel Installation
You should reach out to contractors in your area who have experience with solar panel installation. They will be able to offer you the best advice for your solar panel installation. It is advised you shop around till you find a professional that matches your budget.
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.