Things to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof


An increasing number of people are considering solar-powered systems for their homes and businesses. This is not surprising since the technology has advanced considerably and it brings a range of benefits. Installing solar panels allows you to generate electricity in an environmentally friendly way. And with the cost of the equipment lower than it was in previous years, it can be a sensible investment. You may even benefit from tax credits.

Things to Consider when Installing Solar Panels

It’s important to note that not every roof is ideal for solar panels. Before you move ahead with your installation, there are several features of your roof that you need to consider.

The Age and Condition of Your Roof

Modern solar photovoltaic panels are designed to last for 25 to 30 years. Their energy-generating capacity decreases only minimally from one year to the next. You, therefore, need to consider whether your roof is likely to be as durable as the panels.

If you have a new architectural asphalt roof, it will likely last for about 20 years. Solar panels would be a good investment in this case. However, if you have 3-tab shingles and your roof is already five years old or older, you should think twice. It’s likely that the solar panels will last a lot longer than the roof.

Two men installing solar panels on a roof.

Meanwhile, if your roof is damaged, installing solar panels is not a good idea. Instead, you should talk to a roofing contractor in Greenville, SC about repairing or replacing the roof. Taking this step means you won’t have to remove the panels in short order and then replace them. You don’t want to waste time, effort, and money.

Whether Your Roof Can Handle the Added Weight

Placing solar panels on your roof will increase the amount of weight on the underlying structure. If the solar panels are too heavy, the roof could collapse. If you have two layers of shingles or more, the roof frame may not be able to bear anything else. Similarly, if the roof sheathing is damaged or old, you’ll also have problems. The roof may not be able to withstand the weight of both shingles and solar panels. That’s why it’s best to have the entire roof structure inspected by a professional before you commit to getting panels. You may need to have your roof reinforced before you can begin generating your own electricity. Another solution may be to replace your asphalt roof with a lighter standing seam metal roof which will last longer.

The Angle and Span of Your Roof

To justify an investment in solar energy, your roof needs to be adequately exposed to the sun. You also need to have a large enough surface area to generate the energy you require. It is generally agreed that it’s best to have the roof surface facing south with few obstructions. A west-facing roof may also be able to generate enough capacity. You must consider the energy demands of your home and how much power you want to sell back to the grid.

Where Water Flowing Off Your Roof Will Go

Typically, rainwater runs into the gutters and away from your home. However, when you have solar panels, they’ll come with equipment that can prevent the flow of water. The wire harnesses and racking can even take the water away from the gutters, creating leaks and other issues. To repair these problems, the panels would have to be removed. Save yourself the trouble and ensure you ask a professional about how the flow of water is likely to be affected.

The Quality of the Solar Panels You’re Considering

While the cost of solar panels has decreased, the cheapest models are usually of poor quality. Not only are they likely to be less durable, but they can be dangerous. You don’t want to create a safety hazard on such an integral part of your building. Fires on the roof can threaten your entire home so you need to take this seriously. Do proper research before you decide to choose a low-cost brand or model of solar panels for your roof.

Contact Lanier Roofing to Discuss the Condition of Your Roof

If it’s been some time since your roof was inspected, call us today. While solar panels can bring about significant benefits, you need to ensure that your roof can handle them.  Contact the Greenville, SC roofing contractors at Lanier Roofing for a professional inspection. We will identify any problems with the roof and let you know if repair or replacement is best. Call us today for a free estimate.

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