You’re finally considering going solar on your home, but do you need a brand new roof before installing solar panels? There are a few items to account for when considering if you need to replace your roof before switching to solar: the roof’s age, its condition, and the costs involved for repairs or replacement.
Do you absolutely need a new roof just because you are installing solar panels? No – but from a financial perspective it is smart to keep these three conditions in mind before making the investment.
Provided there’s enough space and sun, solar can be installed on any roof. Even though a typical solar panel only weighs around 40 lbs., overtime a damaged or weak roof can end up sagging a little under the added weight of solar panels. Sagging can mean cracks and leaks, which leads to dry rot and plenty of other issues. Is it worth the risk? Definitely not.
The Condition of Your Roof
You can spot some easy signs of age before hopping on a ladder. First, check if there are any leaks or stains in the attic or walls. If you energy costs have gone up in recent years, it may be worth it to see if it’s due to excessive ventilation. From the outside you can check to see if there’s any mildew, or if their are dark “dirty-looking” spots on the roof.
It’s good to know the warranty on your roof and how many remaining years you have left before needing to replace the shingles. If you are near the replacement time, then you need to get this taken care of before officially installing solar panels.
Yes, this does cost more at first – but it would cost even more in labor to remove the solar panels in order to replace or repair your roof after the solar panels are installed.
Having solar panels on your home will actually reduce some of the wear on the shingles. Solar panels block rain and protect the roof from years of consistent sunlight. Though, unless you plan to get solar powered roofing tiles (photovoltaic shingles), solar panels are not a replacement for your roof. Photovoltaic shingles are known as “BIPV” or Building Integrated Photovoltaic tiles.
The Solar Timeline Explained
Modern solar panels come with 20-25 year warranties, guaranteeing that the panels will produce at least 80% of the rated power after 25 years of use.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) performed tests on today’s more common solar panels, and determined that the degradation of the panel is less than 0.4% for panels made after the year 2000.
The cause for solar panel degradation is typically due to the extremes of weather conditions, depending on where you are living. For example, panels in extremely hot climates will have higher UV exposure, and conversely, cold climates, snow, or heavy winds will do just as much damage. In moderate climates, degradation rates can be as low as 0.2% per year – retaining 96% of the solar panels production capabilities after 20 years.
So if you’re about five or more years away from a roof replacement, go ahead and add solar panels. But don’t be afraid to take precautions – you will get your money back with what you save from switching to solar power!
If you still aren’t sure about the condition of your roof or just want to learn more, Contact Us today to set up a FREE consultation.
About Southern Current
Southern Current is proud to be one of the top solar installers in the Southeast, with hundreds of installations across South Carolina. There’s never been a more affordable time to create your own energy! Contact us to request information about a solar panel installation for your home or business and see how much you can save with solar.