Thinking of installing a solar panel on your rooftop? That’s a step in the right direction. A solar panel generates clean energy, safeguards the environment, and helps keep your electricity bills low. But before you get there, you must avoid some common installation loopholes.
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Up to 80% of all solar panels are installed on flat or sloped roofs. Compared to any other part of your house, roofs get the most unobstructed sun. Without stable, professional installation though, solar panels can contribute to damaged or leaky roofing, leading to hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in emergency repair costs.
To get the most out of your solar panel while still protecting your roof, this article offers some 4 common installation problems that you should avoid.
Mistake #1 – Installing new solar panels on an aged roof
The typical solar panel can generate power for up to 20 years and might have a warranty that lasts this long. That said, you do not want to install new solar panels on aged roofing that might need to be replaced in about 10 years. To start with, your Power Purchase Agreement (Warranty) will be nullified after you dismount the installation during roof repair or replacement.
As a rule of the thumb, solar panels should only be installed on a roofing that will last as long. Some cool roofing membrane or metal roofing can last more than 20 years and are thus ideal for supporting a solar array.
Mistake #2 – Interrupting water flow
All roofing systems are designed to allow water flow away from the building. Solar panels should be installed with this in mind. Otherwise, proper drainage of water will be interrupted, sometimes even resulting in a roofing leak. Ballast materials could also escape and lead to clogged drains. Repairing a roofing system happens to be extra difficult when there’s a solar system installed. It’s best that you take steps to install your panels the best way and avoid future problems with drainage.
Mistake #3 – Not having a proper maintenance plan
Over time, your solar panels will be covered with dust. Proper maintenance is required to keep them working at maximum efficiency. Your solar panels should be installed in such a way that there’s room for maintenance and easy inspections.
Installers are always coming up with new mountings for solar panels. Make sure you discuss future maintenance with your installation technician.
Without maintenance, small problems become big ones.
Mistake #4 – Not knowing the limits of your roofing
Don’t make the mistake of treating your roofing like a construction site.
Most roofing systems are stable and durable, but not without their limits. Solar installers should take extra care not to drag panels or racks across the roof. Any installation equipment that can harm the roofing system should be used very carefully.
If there are any debris after the installation, this should be cleared, rest they clog drainage and cause all sorts of nagging problems.
Unless you’re equipped with the skills to install solar panels yourself, you should work with a professional installer who can do a thorough, professional and clean job. This is a great way to make sure that you get maximum value from your solar energy installation, but also minimize the risk of future, expensive repairs.