A good solar panel system can last you anywhere from 25 to 35 years. With the right system and maintenance, your panels can last even longer! That means decades of savings on your electricity bills.
A lot of homeowners wonder about the impact that solar panels may have on their roof.
Is my roof going to be able to hold them over time?
Should I focus on replacing my roof with solar panels or adding solar panels elsewhere on my property?
How can I coordinate both my roof replacement and solar installation at the same time?
How much will it cost for a roof replacement and solar installation?
Do tax credits and rebates apply if I get a bundle deal?
Before going solar, one of the first things you should do is evaluate your roof. However, doing so can prove more than a little confusing. Our energy experts want to help make the process as seamless as possible. Check out our guide to roof replacement and solar installation below.
Understanding Your Roof Before Replacement
A standard roof is comprised of:
- Roof Truss
- Ice and water barrier
- Wood frame
- Shingles or tiles
If any component of these layers is damaged, it can weaken the entire structure of your roof and make it a bad idea to install solar panels.
While we always recommend a professional roof inspection to identify damage, you can usually identify issues if you know what to look for. The most common types of roof damage are:
- Loose or broken tiles: Most people can easily identify this type of roof damage. Use a ladder to visually inspect your roof. Search for loose or broken tiles or shingles.
- Worn down materials: Like all things, the components of your roof will wear out over time. Examples of age damage include: bare shingles, shingle granules, and rust. As a roof ages, it becomes more fragile, and can quickly lead to more issues.
- Water damage: When any component of a roof breaks down, water damage soon follows. Things like broken tiles, worn out sealants, torn underlayments, and more, can result in water damage.
- Punctures and cracks: Trauma can crack the tiles of your roof or puncture the underlayment that is designed to keep out water. If something falls on your roof, if a roof installation is performed poorly, or even if someone walks on the wrong part of the roof, cracks or punctures can occur.
- Standing water: Your roof is designed to efficiently shunt water off its surface, using its angled design, along with flashing and gutters. If you notice standing water on your roof, that indicates that something isn’t working.
- Structural damage: On rare occasions, the supports of your roof may shift, which can present a serious danger to you and your family.
For homes with older roofs, a roof inspection is critical before installing solar panels. If you do not schedule repairs or a roof replacement, then you risk the cost of removing and reinstalling the solar panels when your roof needs attention.
You’ll Have to Remove Your Solar Panels to Replace Your Roof
There’s no way around it: your solar panels will have to come down to replace your roof. This means you’ll lose access to your renewable energy throughout the duration of your roof replacement. As a result, for several days your home will rely entirely on utility grid power. That will drive costs up, so be prepared for a higher utility bill than usual. Your power will likely go down for at least a few minutes at a time during both your panel removal and reinstallation, so be prepared for outages.
Considering the unavoidable increases in electricity bills and the added cost of panel removal and reinstallation, having to replace your roof after installing solar panels isn’t something you will want to do unless absolutely necessary.
Bundling Your Roof Replacement and Solar Installation
Sometimes additional upfront costs can actually save you in the long run. If you think you need to replace your roof before going solar, you can cut down on the costs by finding an installer that does both. This eliminates the headache of coordinating between two different vendors and can cut down on the cost.
Solar installers like NRG Clean Power offer great deals for homeowners looking to upgrade their roof and install solar. We also have the expertise to ensure you can take full advantage of federal, state and local rebates and incentives.