Homeowners who are considering going solar may not know that it may be necessary to replace their roof before installing a solar system. This is an especially serious concern for homes 20 to 30 years old, with roofs nearing the end of their lifespans. Rooftop repairs and replacements can be a pretty big setback for anyone going solar, as they aren’t exactly cheap.
Fortunately, there is no requirement for a roof replacement before you go solar. In fact, even if your roof does need major repairs, homeowners have options when it comes to getting a solar system onto their property.
Roof-mounted solar panels can work on just about any type of roof on a home.
If your roof is in good shape, then the good news is you will very likely not need to replace your roof at all. Most modern roofing materials are compatible with solar panels, with some being more accommodating of panels (and workers walking over them) than others.
Asphalt shingle roofing, or composite roofing, is one of the most common types of roofing in the US today. Installing solar panels on this type of roofing is relatively easy, as it doesn’t require removing shingles in order to fasten the panel mounts to the rafters.
Clay tile roofing is also quite common. Solar panel mounts are generally not fastened to the rafters through the tile. Installers must instead remove tiles to make room for the solar mounting racks, which tend to be raised higher off the surface of the roof to account for the remaining tiles. This does make installing a solar system on these types of roofs more labor intensive, and therefore more expensive.
Standing-seam metal roofs are some of the most durable roofs, and they are also incredibly easy to mount panels on using a series of clamps. Most metal roofs are considered to be extremely compatible with solar panel installations.
Wooden roofs of all kinds are technically compatible with solar panel installations. However, depending on your local regulations, you may not be allowed to install a solar system on this type of roof due to fire risks. Even a ‘safe’ installation still involves electricity passing dangerously close to a potential fire hazard. If local regulations prevent you from mounting panels to wooden roofs, you can still get a solar system, but you will have to mount it in your backyard or elsewhere.
Solar panel mounts come in many varieties, so unless there are major problems with the integrity of your roof, or having a wooden roof, there is a rooftop mounting solution for almost any home.
If your roof is too small to mount many panels, or needs serious work, you can still get a solar system for your home!
Depending on your home’s energy needs, you will need a certain number of solar panels to offset your usage. These will of course take up quite a bit of real estate on your roof, and not every home can accommodate this. Or, it may be that your home’s roof isn’t in a suitable condition for a roof-mounted system, or you simply don’t want to impact the sightlines of your home’s roof. Fortunately, you don’t need to put some or even all your panels on the roof thanks to some alternative mounting options.
Ground mounted solar panels
Solar farms use large arrays of panels suspended off the ground via mounting racks. You can do much the same on your own property if you have the space for it. In fact, you can plan for a much larger system than the roof of your home would allow for! Some systems are permanently fixed into place on the ground. Others are designed to be moved seasonally, based on changes in the sun’s overall position in the sky.
Pole-mounted solar panels
A more sophisticated solution is to mount solar panels on poles. These can raise the panels higher off the ground, possibly negating anything that could physically block sunlight from hitting them. Some of these systems include tracking sensors that automatically adjust the position of the panels in order to collect as much sunlight as possible. This is a more sophisticated solution, which can drive up the cost of installation. However, it’s hard to beat the results, and there is something cool about arrays of pole-mounted solar panels adjusting themselves throughout the day.
If you have a secondary structure on your property, like a supply shed, barn, or greenhouse, these can be excellent alternative mounts for a solar system. Some homeowners even build solar sheds specifically for their system, or to augment a system that is already in place.
There may also be different mounting points on your home itself. If you have a shaded patio, the overhang might be a possible location for more panels. However, this does depend heavily on the orientation of the patio, and you need have it pass an inspection to ensure the overhang can support the extra weight.
You should still take care of any issues your roof has before you mount a solar system.
Getting roof mounted solar panels is an investment strategy that can save you money on energy bills, and increase the value of your home. Because of this, if you’re considering a solar system, it’s important to get your roof inspected right away. Our solar technicians are always happy to evaluate your roof and answer any questions you might have.
It’s better to identify and resolve problems up front, and it can be less expensive in the long run. It costs money to have panels removed and reinstalled, so by taking care of issues with your roof before going solar, you’ll have fewer expenses to worry about in the future.
If you’re considering getting a solar power system and want to make sure your roof is ready, call Capital City Solar today! We can assess your roof for any potential issues and see if it’s able to mount the solar panels your system will need.