Environmental impacts and carbon footprints have been the subject of many conversations recently. We are all more keenly aware of the way our choices affect the environment. As a result, more and more people are considering adding solar panels to their homes to be more eco-conscious and bring down their energy bills.
Before you move forward with a solar panel installation project, consider the implications of placing a heavy, permanent system on your roof. Preparing your roof before you add solar panels can save you time, headaches, and money.
Here are five factors to consider before you begin a solar panel installation project:
1. What is the condition of your roof?
Before solar installation work begins, you should call a roofing contractor to perform a roof inspection. A roofing expert can verify whether your current roof deck and roof products can withstand the weight of a solar array. While on-site, they can also check your roof for other signs of damage so that you can address any minor issues before they become big problems.
2. Is your roof in need of repair?
Sometimes, it may make sense to hold off on a minor roof repair, even though that can lead to more expensive issues over time. But when you are about to install solar panels, you want to address any concern, no matter how small. Fixing it before the panels are in place will be cheaper and more manageable. You also won’t have to worry about potential damage to your expensive solar array. Repair work will be more costly if a residential roofer has to work around your energy-generating equipment because the solar panels make their job more difficult and time-consuming.
Don’t cut corners on repairs, even if you think you can get another few years out of the roof before performing the work. The time to do these projects is before installing your panels, while the work is easier and less expensive.
3. How old is your roof?
A new roof is a significant investment. As with repairs, most people want to wait as long as possible before replacing their roofs. That allows them to get the most time out of the dollars they spend on roofing. However, that can be a short-sighted approach, especially when adding solar panels. Getting an extra two or three years out of the roof doesn’t make sense if it will cost you thousands more when you do the replacement.
Replacing a roof with installed solar panels is a much more complicated process. More complicated means more expensive. A trained expert will have to remove your solar panels before the roof can be replaced, and then reinstall them on your new roofing.
It costs about $250 per panel to disconnect, remove, and reinstall each solar panel. That’s $5000 for a system of 20 panels, which is an average-sized residential solar installation. That’s before the costs of actually replacing your roof. Depending on your home, roof slope, number of panels, and other factors, your costs could be higher or lower, but solar panels will always add a significant amount to roofing costs. You also risk damage to your sensitive solar equipment and additional time living in a construction zone.
If your roof is showing signs of wear or is nearing the end of its life expectancy or warranty period, giving your solar panels a quality new roof to rest on makes sense. You can expect most solar arrays to last twenty years or more, which coincides with life expectancy for many quality roofing products. If you coordinate their installation, you’ll be less likely to have to replace the roof while your panels are still functioning.
4. What will you do while the power is out?
One of the benefits of residential solar is that you have a backup system if the energy grid goes down. That means most power outages won’t affect your home because you can rely on your own generation system. However, during the installation of your solar panels, the crew will need to turn off your power temporarily as they tie your new energy-generating capacity into your home’s system.
Consider staying with a friend during work or finding places outside your home to spend time during installation. If you can’t be away from home, talk with the workers beforehand to see if they can estimate when the power outage will occur. And if you must be home, prepare to be without power. Charge your phones, remember that your home wi-fi won’t work, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed, and open your garage door if you need access to your car.
5. What should you do to prepare for solar installation?
To prepare your home for installing solar panels, you’ll want to take many of the same steps we recommend in preparation for a new roof. Ensuring the workers have easy access to your property will prevent delays. Moving any outdoor furniture or other items will keep your belongings safe from work on the roof, and notifying neighbors of the impending project can prevent frustrations over noise and equipment parked in the street.
Solar panels can be a brilliant decision both environmentally and financially. Before undertaking a solar installation project, ensure your roof, property, and yourself are ready.