Commitment: Readying Your Roof for Solar Panels

Dec 05, 2017
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Renewable Energy in America reports that PV solar panels cost 60% less – and that solar electrical systems cost 50% less – than in 2010. As direct costs continue to drop, there are states, like wintery Minnesota, where solar energy is economically competitive with traditional sources of energy.

Chaffee Roofing has been installing and repairing commercial and industrial roofing in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and beyond, for three generations. The family-owned company stands ready to install a state-of-the-art solar ready roof system with a warranty that can match or even exceed most warranty’s provided by solar panel company’s and installers.

To commit to receiving 25 or more years of energy from a system of solar panels that are soaking up the suns rays, you must first make sure that your roof is ready to do its part.

solar panels

  1. Is your roof in a good position to receive the suns rays?

Not all roofs are created equal; some have better lighting than others. It is possible that nearby tall buildings or towering trees may render it difficult for a solar panel system to absorb sunlight from your roof, or perhaps south-facing panels would be highly difficult to install. A trustworthy roofing or solar expert can evaluate whether your roof sits in a space where it can take in the sun’s rays.

  1. Is your roof in good shape?

Putting new solar panels on an old, tired roof system doesn’t make sense. Most solar panels are designed to last 25 or more years, about the same amount of time that a flat membrane roof system or slopped shingle roof system is designed to last. If your roof starts to leak part way through the life of your solar panels, you will likely need to remove part or all of the solar panels to fix the problem. Then, you will have to reinstall these solar panels after the roof is replaced or, at a minimum, fixed. This will reduce the amount of money that you are hoping to earn with solar. As a result, an evaluation of your roof’s longevity is essential prior to installing solar panels. An established roofing company will be able to advise you on whether to repair your roof before going solar.

  1. What kind of roof system do you have?

When your roof was installed, was it a stronger roof system? Were the shingles or membrane thicker than typical? Or, was the thinnest, cheapest, lowest quality roof system installed? If so, your roof system might not have as much life left as you think. An inexpensive 15 year roof system won’t last as long as most solar systems even if it is installed brand new. While you’re considering installing a new roof system, ask your roofing contractor what the next upgrade is. When solar is involved, a stronger roof system is always worth the extra investment.

  1. Is your structural decking strong?

Although solar panels are lighter than they used to be (80% lighter in the case of this panel, designed by an Australian company) the average roof panel will add about 40 pounds of weight to your roof, and you will likely need several to meet your energy needs. It always makes sense to have a structural engineer evaluate your building before installing a solar system.

  1. How much does your existing roof system weight?

In some cases, 2 or more layers of roofing may exist on your building. If you have a shingle roof system, this will add an average of 2.5 pounds per square foot to your roof system. In the case of a flat membrane roof system, the amount of weight each layer of roofing adds varies dramatically. For example, if ballast stone exists on your flat roof system, removing the ballast stone alone will eliminate, on average, 10 to 12 pounds per square foot. This may be a way to get

aerial shot of solar panels

As you consider whether to install solar panels on your roof, you should know that you are not alone: America is on its way to embracing solar power as a reliable source of renewable energy, with the number of our fellow Americans who work in the solar industry doubling from 2012 to 2017, to about 260,000 workers.

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