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What You Need to Know Before Installing
Roof-Mounted Solar Panels

Published: 05/27/2021

Going solar comes with so many perks. And considering today’s high cost of living and climate worries, it’s turning into more of an essential than a luxury. If you’re ready to cut down your energy bills and reduce your dependence on your utility provider, you’ll first need to look at your roof.

Roof-mounting solar panels requires your roof to meet a few conditions. Let’s go over what those are, and how you can ensure your roof is ready for solar.

roof mounted solar panels

You’ll Need an Inspection

First and foremost, you’ll need to have a professional go up to your rooftop and perform a thorough inspection. Solar panels and their mounting racks are fairly heavy pieces of equipment that will put quite a load on your roof’s overall structure. An inspection can determine if your roof is in good enough condition to bear that weight, or if some repairs are in order.

Professional inspections will always include an evaluation of your roof’s surface and the attic. Looking at the latter helps contractors spot any structural issues that aren’t apparent from the outside.

Your Roof May be Too Damaged or Too Old

It’s also possible that an inspection may reveal that your roof is so degraded it needs a complete replacement. This is often the case when a roof has reached the end of its lifespan. For standard asphalt roofs, that can be as little as 20 years.

Because solar panels are built to last up to 25 years, a roof that is set to expire before that time isn’t an ideal foundation. Getting a new installation will allow you to start fresh, with roofing and solar cells that can live out the rest of their lives together.

Choosing the Right Roofing Material

Roofing that’s the most suitable for solar has a high degree of strength and durability. It should have a low need for repairs, and should also make it easy for racking systems to be attached to the roof. Moreover, it will need to last at least as long as the panels, so going with the cheapest asphalt shingles isn’t going to work.

While a variety of roof types can perform well enough, standing seam metal roofing is the best for supporting solar panels. Not only does it have a lifespan of up to 50 years, its ridged structure allows mounting brackets to be clamped directly onto the vertical ribs, avoiding any need to drill holes into the roofing surface. This minimizes the opportunity for leaks to develop.

No matter what material you choose, it’s worth noting that your color selection can also help enhance your home’s energy efficiency. The lighter the hue, the better the roof will be at reflecting heat. This will help you double up on your rooftop’s power reducing properties.

Creating a Suitable Surface

In order to mount panels on your roof, you’ll need to have enough clear space to accommodate the entire spread. The average solar system takes up an area of about 335-405 square feet.

This area will need to be clear of any rooftop accessories such as vents, satellites, antennas, and drainage crickets (depending on their height and configuration). If any such items are interrupting what should be a clean slate for your solar array, you will need to talk to a roofing specialist about relocating them.

Clearing Sunlight Obstructions

Your solar panels won’t meet their energy-producing potential if they’re receiving too much shade throughout the day. Trees, hillside shrubs, and any other features that block the sun for too long must be trimmed or removed.

If you have branches that directly overhang your rooftop, extra care should be taken to protect it from damage. The blow of a fallen branch can really thwart your effort to create a solar-ready rooftop.

Get Expert Help Preparing Your Roof for Solar

AKVM can address all of your needs when it comes to readying your rooftop for solar panels. We perform zero-cost inspections that assess the quality and longevity of your roof. Our specialists have the training and experience to properly identify problems that could get in the way of your solar setup.

At the end of every inspection, we provide a detailed estimate for the best-value solution, giving you all of the information you need regarding cost, timeline, and the nature of the work. We can help you figure out exactly what measures need to be taken, whether they’re just simple repairs or a whole new roof installation. Contact us today to schedule your risk-free inspection.

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