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Do I Need to Replace My Roof to Add Solar Panels?

Solar power is an efficient, environmentally friendly form of power that more and more people are incorporating into their homes each year. By adding solar panels to your home, you can cut down on your power bills while doing your part for the earth. It’s an appealing prospect, but if you’re considering adding solar panels to your home, you should know the effort required.

The fact of the matter is, you’ll likely need to replace your roof before you add solar panels to it. Most solar panels are built to last for 20 to 25 years, and removing them to repair your roof after they’re installed can be a difficult and expensive process. Unless your roof is already new, it will likely need work done on it before it comes time to replace your solar panels. That’s why we recommend ripping the Band-Aid off and replacing your roof now. It may be a bigger ordeal than you were planning to embark on, but in the long run, you’ll be thankful you did.

Get the Help of an Expert

If you try to replace your roof and add solar panels on your own, you’ll just end up in a world of hurt. This kind of roofing work is well beyond the skill set of even the handiest homeowners, so call in professionals such as Interstate Roofing before you try to do anything on your own. It’s not just the extra helping hands you need either. What you really need is their expertise.

Not all roof damage is visible at a glance, so having someone who has the experience needed to spot any problems the untrained eye might miss will be invaluable. Have a conversation with your contractor about what you’re planning to do, and they’ll be able to assess what roofing work might be necessary to make your dreams a reality. Together with their help, you can devise a plan of action for how best to proceed.

Assess the Layout of Your Roof

First and foremost, you’ll need to take stock of what you’re working with. Measure the dimensions of your roof to get an idea of how to best situate the solar array. Take a look at the environment around you and determine if anything might block light from reaching the array. You don’t want to go through the trouble of installing solar panels only to have a tree branch or your neighbor’s house stop the sunlight from reaching them.

Do what you can to mitigate any shade, trimming branches if you need to. Check to see if there are any vents, antennas, or other protrusions that might need to be moved and make plans to adjust their positions. Keep in mind that if you need to move anything connected to your HVAC or plumbing system, you may need to get in touch with a contractor to relocate it.

Start Any Necessary Repairs

Removing a solar array to repair a roof can be a pain, so it’s best to take care of any problems sooner rather than later. After you and your expert help have taken the time to analyze the situation, determine what might need to be addressed before you replace your roof and install solar panels. If you find any weak spots or damaged sections of the roof, they will need to be repaired before even attempting installation. This goes for not just problems on the exterior of the roof, but for under it as well. Water damage, leaks, or damaged rafters will also pose a problem.

A single solar panel is heavy enough, but an entire array will add a massive amount of extra weight for your roof to support. That’s why we strongly recommend you replace your roof before you install solar panels. By taking the time to replace everything first, you can be sure to address any problems now, as well as steeply reduce the odds that you’ll need to remove the array for any future repairs.

How Will You Connect to the Grid?

Unless you’re planning to replace the roof and add solar panels to a cabin out in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to need to figure out how your new array will connect to the grid. Get in touch with your utility provider and see what they’ll need from you to smoothly integrate the solar panels into your home. Are there any fees required as part of the setup? How long will it take and involved is it to get the array connected? How will you be compensated for the energy you generate, and how often?

The financial question will likely be the trickiest, as different states set different reimbursement rates depending on their outlook on solar energy. In states where the reimbursement rate is lower, you’ll need more time to see a return on investment. Everyone’s situation is unique, so take the time you need to sort out the details.

Set Yourself a New Maintenance Schedule

Once you’ve taken the time to replace your roof and add solar panels, you can’t just let them sit up there for the next few decades. As with many aspects of home care, regular maintenance is key to keeping your solar array firing on all cylinders. You’ll still have all the standard roof maintenance, of course. Unfortunately, adding a solar array can make what would be standard roof repairs quite tricky. Again, this is why we highly recommend you have your roof redone before installation.

Then set up a regular inspection with a trusted roofing company, if you don’t already have one, so that you can regularly have expert eyes to spot problems early and nip them in the bud. Solar panels can make it harder to properly drain and ventilate your roof, with the array catching and collecting debris that would ordinarily slide off your roof, so staying on top of any blockages that form is crucial. For the same reason, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any critters that might use your solar panels as a shelter. With frequent inspections, you can stay one step ahead of damages, blockages, and unwelcome neighbors, leaving you to enjoy your green energy for years to come.