Are Solar Panels Bad For Your Roof?

Solar panels are one of the most rapidly growing forms of green energy. The reasons why their popularity has increased so much is that they’re flexible, easy to maintain, and require little work on your part. However, with recent reports saying that solar panels can damage your roof , it’s important for homeowners to understand what factors might be involved with this type of damage.
In many cases, the reasons behind solar panels damaging your roof have to do with installation mistakes, which can be prevented if you know what to look for when having this type of work done. In other instances however, the damage might even be caused by a leak or crack that wasn’t present originally but was created as a result of the new solar panels.
If you want to know whether or not your roof can handle a solar panel installation, here are some of the factors that might play a role in this decision. Always consult with an experienced contractor , as they’ll be able to determine what’s right for your home.

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1) Is Your Roof In Good Shape?

It’s always a good idea to have professional roofers perform an inspection on your roof before you decide to install solar panels. They can check for any previous damage and determine both the thickness and durability of your current roof. They can also determine whether or not your roof is strong enough to support the weight of both the solar panels and any additional equipment that’s needed.

2) Is Your Roof Strong Enough To Support Extra Weight?

As previously mentioned, solar panels are fairly heavy since they contain both metal and glass components. They can weigh anywhere between 40 and 60 pounds per square foot , depending on the type you’re using. If your current roof isn’t structurally strong enough to handle the extra weight, it might end up slightly distorting and creating a gap that can allow water to get underneath.
As long as your roof is made of strong material such as concrete or clay tile, it should be able to support the weight of solar panels without any problems. If you’re concerned about this however, you can always have a structural engineer check out your roof before you make any final decisions.

3) Is your roof big enough for solar panels?

The size of your solar panel system will largely depend on what your electricity needs are. For a smaller home with low energy usage, you may only need about 200 square feet of roof space. For larger family homes that have increased electricity needs, you may need more in the range of 1,000 square feet.

4) Is your roof oddly shaped?

Oddly shaped roofs can cause some problems during installation. While it’s not impossible to install solar panels on a roof with an odd shape, it does increase the difficulty and may even cause you to need additional equipment such as mounts or rails. It’s also important to note that if your panel system is too large for your home and needs to be placed on two rooftops, it’s not possible to simultaneously connect the two systems. Each system needs to be installed separately and then tied into one another.

5) What about skylights, chimneys, vents , or other protrusions?

Any type of protrusion on your roof that has an angle exceeding 30 degrees will require additional equipment and installation steps in order for solar panels to properly fit and function. These protrusions will either need to be removed or covered during the initial install. Any type of chimney, skylight, or vent that interrupts the panels also needs to be temporarily covered in order for the system to receive proper sunlight exposure.

6) Does Your Roof Face The Sun?

One of the main reasons why solar panels are so efficient at converting sunlight into energy is because they’re always exposed to direct sunlight regardless of weather conditions. However, because the angle of the sun’s rays changes depending on where it is in relation to your home, solar panels will be most efficient if they’re facing either south or west.

If you don’t have a roof that faces either of those directions, you can still benefit from having the panels installed as long as they’re installed on another part of your roof that gets plenty of sunlight. Having them face south or west is not and end all be all situation, the most important part is that you’re roof is not covered by too much shade.

Although the damage caused by solar panels has been somewhat exaggerated, it’s still important to know what type of risks might be involved with this type of work. By understanding these factors however, you’ll be able to prevent any potential problems and determine if installing solar panels is the right choice for your home.

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