Many concerns may pop up when considering installing solar panels. One fear many homeowners have is whether or not installing a solar array will damage a home’s roof.
Solar panels will not inherently damage your home’s roof. An improper installation is the only way a roof would experience damage. When installed by a professional, there is virtually no risk of permanent problems. Many homeowners can even install the solar panels themselves, as long as they have done the proper research and received an inspection to ensure their roof is structurally sound.
Can Solar Panels Damage Your Roof?
Solar panels, if installed correctly, should not damage your roof. Professional installers should have no problem performing the installation without doing any damage. The average homeowner can DIY install a solar array with the right tools and research.
However, there is always a risk with any type of home improvement project. Panels installed by uninformed homeowners can cause damage down the line. Drilling holes incorrectly when building the frame or miscalculating the roof’s load-bearing weight limit and solar array size can compromise the integrity of your roof.
The main precaution to avoid roof damage is to make sure you know what you’re doing before attempting a DIY installation. A professional installation is advisable because you get the benefit of experience. Plus, if any damage does occur, the installer will typically be liable and covered by insurance.
Depending on the regulations where you live, you may have to go through a rigorous process of obtaining a permit and inspection, but these necessary steps could help to avoid costly damage to the roof. A solar panel inspection will help ensure they’re installed correctly and won’t have any issues in the future.
Some homeowners hesitate to install solar panels on their roofs because of the potential damage. In this case, a solar generator with portable solar panels may be a good first entry into the world of solar power.
Generators allow you to stay small and portable. You can generate enough energy to power your essential devices during a blackout or a weekend camping trip with just one or two solar panels. The setup doesn’t require permanent rooftop installation.
Will There Be Holes After Solar Panels Are Installed on Your Roof?
Most solar panel installations involve attaching mounting hardware through the roof and into the rafters. The mounting will inevitably create tiny holes in your roof. A proper installation (with the right gaskets or sealant) will not cause leaks or other issues with your roof.
If you ever decide to remove the solar panels, such as when moving to a new home, you can cover the mounting holes with a moisture-resistant sealant. You should still be able to use the same mounting hardware if you ever have to replace your solar panels.
Other holes may occur depending on the type of electrical system you are powering. Will your panels be grid-tied? Or are you off-grid with a setup like the EcoFlow Power Kits? Depending on your specific system, you may need an additional entry point to connect the solar array to an indoor electrical panel or battery bank.
Do Solar Panels Protect Your Roof?
Solar panels are surprisingly durable and can help protect your roof from inclement weather, sunlight, and other natural damage. Environmental factors contribute significantly to the weathering of roofing materials.
Sunlight is detrimental to the roof of a house. Over a few decades, roof shingles can become sun-bleached and dried out from the sun’s intensity. Once enough damage occurs, they need replacing.
Solar panels prevent this sun damage by shading the shingles. The space between the panels and the roof also allows air to travel through, acting as a natural cooling system and reducing your air conditioning bills.
Some homeowners choose to use their solar panels as a carport. This setup can protect your car while also generating electricity for your home. It’s a great option if you lack roof space or don’t have a garage for your vehicle.
How Are Solar Panels Installed On Your Roof?
Most fixed solar panels mount into the rafters of a home. The best location is the sections of your roof that face south. The sun travels across the southern sky—panels placed in the wrong areas may not receive much or any sunlight.
Mounts are typically placed every four feet, in line with the roof rafters. The mounting hardware secures the array to the rafters with stanchions (long bolts). The stanchions need sealant around the edges to prevent any leaks from occurring.
Next, the solar panels are attached to the mounting hardware. This is usually a simple installation using included mounting hardware. These steps assume you use traditional rigid solar panels for a rooftop system.
While this installation process may sound easy, it is just as easy to cause damage to your roof. Consult a more thorough installation guide before attempting this process. Or better yet, hire a professional to ensure a seamless installation.
Some mounts, especially tilting models, may involve a more complex installation. Tilting mounts follow the daily or seasonal movements of the sun.
How to Make Sure Solar Panels Are Installed on Your Roof Correctly
Failing to plan is planning to fail. This common phrase applies to DIY solar installations. Planning is the most critical step—you will likely damage your roof if you do not have a detailed plan for your rooftop solar panels.
Before installing a grid-tied rooftop solar system, you may need to obtain a permit from your local government or homeowners’ association. This is because solar systems connecting to the grid integrate with the city’s services. This permit application process is similar to what you’d go through for other residential improvements.
Once you obtain the permit, you’re ready for the installation. Take your time and measure everything twice before committing to your layout. If you become overwhelmed by the project, don’t be afraid to hire professional help.
A post-installation inspection will ensure that your solar panels are installed on your roof correctly. The assessment may involve a government official or licensed inspector checking out your system. This step makes some homeowners nervous—however, if you installed your system correctly, there is no need to worry!
An inspection may begin with your electrical system. The inspector will check the wiring, connections, and other components to ensure that there is no danger of malfunction or fire. They will check that the panels are adequately grounded with the correct wire gauges and conduit sizes.
An inspector will also check your electrical panel and the connections in your home. The AC and DC switches will need to be near your electric meter in case emergency personnel needs to access them.
If you are hiring a professional, make sure to shop around before making a choice. Consult public reviews to determine the integrity and reliability of the installation company.
Inquire with multiple businesses to determine a fair price for the job. Ask neighbors or friends for a recommendation if you know anyone who may have recently received a solar array installation.
Solar panels will not cause any damage to your roof with the proper precautions. You should do extensive research before attempting to install them yourselves.
If you don’t have the time or know-how to perform a DIY install, contact a solar professional in your area. The peace of mind that comes with a pro install is worth it!
If you need off-grid power for a tiny home and purchase one of the EcoFlow Power Kits, you can expect a simple assembly guided by our experts or done for you by authorized and reputable installers.