If you’re considering installing solar panels on your roof, then it’s essential to know about the potential issues that could arise. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most common problems with installing solar panels on your roof and offer tips for handling them when they come up. We’ll also go over what to do before installation to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Things to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels
Going solar is not as straightforward as it sounds. Before jumping into solar panel installation at home, there are some significant considerations to go over before committing to such an investment. You may face a plethora of problems if you begin installation before covering all your bases. Here are some of the most important things to think about before taking the steps towards solar panels on your roof.
1 – How Old is Your Roof?
Roofs aren’t built to last forever, neither are solar panels. The industry standard for solar panels is to last around 25 to 30 years, depending on maintenance, wear and tear, and other factors.
If your roof is already 15 to 20 years old, requiring replacement in a few years, it might not be ideal to install your new solar panels on an old roof. Consider replacing your roof before doing so, or figure out other options to incorporate solar panels in your home.
2 – What Type of Roof Do You Have?
There are some types of roofing materials that are not ideal for solar panel installation. For example, asphalt, metal, and tile shingles work great with solar panel installation without damaging the shingles or roof. On the other hand, slate, wood, and clay tiles are not ideal roofs for solar panels.
3 – Does Your Roof Need Repairs?
Solar panels are pretty heavy, and installation requires large brackets to be put in place. Putting them on a roof in need of serious repair is a bad idea and can cause further damage. If your solar installation company deems the state of your roof not suitable for solar panels installation, you might be looking at extra costs to make repairs before proceeding.
4 – How High is Your Roof’s Slope?
The angle of your roof is another thing to consider before installation. If the slope on your roof isn’t ideal for solar panels, then it might not be great for you either. A very high pitch can affect how well the panels can be installed and create more shadows that prevent complete sun absorption. Flat roofs can also cause issues with solar panel installation and may require more extensive brackets or stands to tilt the solar panels.
5 – Is Your Roof South-Facing?
To maximize efficiency, solar panels should be facing south to get 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If your roof doesn’t face in that direction or has too many trees to get the best sunlight exposure on your home’s southern side, then it might not be ideal for the installation of solar panels.
6 – Do You Have a Lot of Overhanging Trees?
If you have any trees on your property that are close to the roof or overhang it, then there might not be enough sunlight exposure for optimal performance. Try trimming some of the larger branches if possible so that your panels can get more direct sunlight.
7 – How Much Energy Does Your Home Need?
According to the EIA, the average annual electricity usage in the United States is 10,715 kWh per household or nearly 900 kWh per month. This number can change depending on your home’s size, how many people live there, and monthly usage. Your utility bill should be able to tell you your average kWh.
On average, one solar panel produces around 30kWh per month, which would take 30 panels to match the national average of 900 kWh. Of course, this number depends on how much sunlight is absorbed and how much wattage that ends up producing, but it’s a good ballpark estimate.
8 – Can Your Home Hold the Weight of Solar Panels?
One solar panel weighs around 40 lbs, which can be quite heavy as you add more and more. Your roof already has the weight of your shingles or roofing materials, and adding more on top of it can be detrimental to your home’s structure if it’s not sound enough to withhold the weight. Consider reinforcing areas where you are installing solar panels to alleviate some of the burden.
9 – How Will You Finance Your Solar Panels?
The average cost of solar panel installation on a 2,000 square foot home can range anywhere from $12,000 to $40,000+. That is one hefty price tag, especially if you’re facing any roof repairs or replacement before you install your panels.
You must have a solid plan for financing your solar roof and not get your head underwater. Your solar panels will take a while to pay back in energy savings what you put into it, if ever, so don’t assume you’ll make your money back right away. Some contractors may offer financing options for those who qualify, so look into that as you shop around.
10 – Is Solar Recommended for Your State?
Not every state gives homeowners the same benefits for installing solar. There is always the federal tax credit that people can file for, but at a state level, it varies greatly. This variance is often due to net metering. Net metering is a method of billing homeowners only for their net usage and crediting them back any overage energy they don’t use or contribute to the local grid network.
Some states offer great net metering options and benefits. In contrast, others make it very difficult to connect to the grid or access any state-wide benefits such as state tax credits or utility rebates. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council created a handy map to determine which states scored highly in net metering and those which failed. Consider this before installing your solar panels.
11 – How Much Money Can You Actually Save?
Solar panels won’t save you as much money as they cost to install. However, it’s an investment, and if it’s the right one for you, then go for it! But don’t expect your energy bill to be significantly lower just because of solar.
The average person could see a 30% reduction in their electric bills by using renewable energy sources such as solar, but it may take some time to get there.
12 – Have You Found a Trustworthy (Experienced) Contractor?
Anytime you get roofing work or any home services, it’s critical you do your research to find a good, reputable contractor who is highly experienced, licensed, and insured to install solar panels. A bad contractor can lead to issues down the road from poor workmanship and cause leaks, damage, or less-than-ideal solar performance. Take your time to read through reviews and vet your local contractors.
13 – Do They Offer Solar Panel Warranties?
In addition to choosing a reputable solar roofing team, you’ll want to make sure they include both manufacturer and workmanship warranties on your new solar roof.
Depending on the manufacturer they use for the solar panels, you could get a great, long-standing warranty or something that won’t uphold your panels for their lifespan. A good contractor will always include a workmanship warranty that covers any issues due to poor installation or faulty workmanship.
14 – Have You Researched the Best Solar Brands?
If you rather research solar companies first, you can find the best manufacturers with the best warranties and then locate a contractor installing that specific panel brand. Either way, you can ensure you’re getting the best possible product and warranty protection.
15 – Are You Prepared to Maintain Your New Solar Panels?
Luckily, solar panels require very little maintenance throughout their lifespan. Most panels have been built to withstand hail, winds, and severe rainstorms. And for the most part, rainwater will clean the panels for you, so you don’t have to.
However, if you notice a lot of debris or dirt up on your roof and solar panels, it’s important to clean them or get them cleaned at least twice a year. This can be done using a hose or hiring a professional.
16 – How Will Solar Panels Affect Your Homeowners Insurance?
Your homeowner’s insurance should definitely cover your solar panels, but your premium may go up. This is because solar panels are a considerable expense, and if they ever require repair or replacement, they can cost a lot more than your average roof expenses.
What Problems With Installing Solar Panels Can Arise?
When people don’t 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 it’s 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 don’t 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!