Are Solar Panels Bad for Your Roof?


Are you looking to decrease your home’s carbon footprint? Then, consider installing solar panels on the roof. Besides being environmentally friendly, installing solar panels can help you access federal solar tax credit.

Switching to solar panels and other renewable energy sources can help reduce your home’s greenhouse gas emissions by a significant amount. Solar energy is also a free natural resource. Many homeowners report a considerable decrease in their monthly energy expenditure after installing solar panels, which also reduces their carbon footprint.

Most homeowners wonder how solar panels affect their roofs. If you are considering installing solar panels on your home’s roof, contact experienced roofing contractors to learn more about how the panels can affect your roof.

Read more to learn the difference between solar.

Can Solar Panels Cause Roof Damage?

Solar panels shouldn’t damage your roof’s aesthetics or structural integrity when installed correctly. You should contact a qualified and licensed professional to ensure the roof’s structural integrity and durability.

Solar panel installers often drill holes in the roof to anchor and mount the equipment. They usually use lag bolts, which are tough enough to hold solar panels securely.

Although the thought of an installer drilling holes into your roof may seem daunting, it is part of the process of solar panel mounting to ensure secure installation.

Flashing helps conceal the lag bolts and prevents water damage to the roof after installing the panels. A thin roll of weather-resistant metal or plastic flashing seals the openings and protects against rain, wind, and other weather elements.

Many people are reluctant to install solar panels because they fear damaging their roofs. If you need to repair or replace the roof after a few years, you must remove the panels, repair the roof, and then reinstall the new roof.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Roof?

Without solar panels, a roof’s longevity primarily depends on the shingles’ quality. Below is an overview of how long different types of the roof last:

  • Composite shingles: 20 to 50 years
  • Asphalt shingles: 15 to 30 years
  • Wood shingles: 30 to 40 years
  • Modified shingles: 30 years
  • Concrete tiles: 50 years
  • Clay tiles: 50 years
  • Metal roofs: 50 years
  • Copper roofs: 60 years or more

Can Solar Panels Make a Roof Last Longer?

Yes. Solar panels offer a wide range of benefits, including prolonging the longevity of your roof. Below are some of the top ways that solar panels protect your roof.

Cooling Effects of Solar Panels

The solar panels help shield the roof from the sun’s heat because they are located above the roof. They absorb the sunlight that would otherwise fall directly onto the roof. Installers usually leave a gap between the solar panels and the roof, allowing air to circulate underneath the panels.

Solar panels protect the roof from falling branches and debris. According to recent studies, they can reduce a home’s internal temperature by as much as 35%.

roofing contractors can help you install solar panels

Protection from Bad Weather

Years of exposure to the weather elements like snow, hail, or even just a lot of wind and rain may cause severe damage to a roof. Adding solar panels to a roof creates a barrier that helps slow down the impact of strong winds and rain, preventing damage to the roof and extending its useful life.

No Large Holes on the Roof

Homeowners often worry that they’ll get leaks or shingle damage if they poke holes in their roofs too often. Homeowners should realize that solar panels can be installed without drilling holes in the roof when using a ballasted racking system or a roof clamp system.

Some solar panel installation systems require bolting into the roof’s rafters. However, if you choose a competent solar panel installer, you won’t have to worry about water leaks into the attic.

Our seasoned roofers and solar panel installers can help ensure your roof warranty isn’t voided during installation. Most modern solar panel installation methods don’t require drilling any holes in the roof.

Will Your Roof Support the Extra Weight of the Solar Panels?

Most existing roofs can handle the additional weight of installing a roof-mounted solar system. But installers must inspect your roof and ascertain its structural integrity before installation.

An independent architect or structural engineer will inspect your building and the solar array that is to be installed to ensure everything is set. They will issue an approval certificate if the roof is strong enough to hold the panels.

If the roof cannot handle the extra weight, they will suggest what you must do to ensure the panels are installed without incident. These measures may involve fixing the roof, replacing it, or fortifying the rafters and beams.

Discussing these modifications with your solar installer helps determine if they meet your needs and expectations. It will help you make adjustments and rework the framework for assessment.

How the Weight of Snow on Panels Affects the Roof

Structural engineers and roofers consider the average snowfall amounts in your area when inspecting the roof structure and the proposed solar system. Your solar panels and roof won’t feel the effects of snowfall except during rare extreme storms.

Solar panels have a pressure rating that measures the maximum pressure they can hold before getting damaged. Most panels have a rating of over 5,000 Pascals (PA). This can support snow accumulation up to two to four feet.

Preparing for Solar Panel Installation 

Your roof must be ready for the job before the solar installer can start their work. Because the installer will work directly on the roof’s surface, you should always have your roofing expert check it out first.

The contractor will inspect the roof for any signs of damage, such as missing or loose tiles or shingles, cracked or broken flashing, or standing water. After installation, they will clear and prepare the gutters for any weather.

Your roofing contractor will maintain or repair the roof to limit the damage. Repairing roof damage before installing solar panels might help avert more severe problems in the future.

A professional roofer near you can help you determine if the roof will hold the panels without damage. Whether your roof can hold the weight of solar panels depends on varying factors.

Contact Roofing Professionals in Greenville, SC

If you need roof repairs, a pre-solar installation inspection, or any other roofing services in and around Greenville, SC, please contact Lanier Roofing at (864) 990-4836 to schedule an inspection and get a free estimate.

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