Rooftop Solar: Considerations Before Adding to Your Roof
As solar becomes a more effective source of energy, many homeowners will soon be considering the feasibility of adding rooftop solar panels to their home. While most of the considerations will revolve around their environmental impact and the costs involved in purchase and installation of a solar energy system, you’ll need focus on one fundamental concern: Is your roof ready for it?
You’d be surprised how heavy solar arrays can be, and some roofs aren’t up to bearing the weight. While your new solar panels may look great at first, the added load to the structure may cause bowing or dipping in the long run. If you’re unsure your home can support your solar panels, consult a structural engineer before taking on the project.
If your roof won’t buckle under the weight of a rooftop solar system, you’ll still need to be careful when installing it so as not to create other issues. Remember that your roof’s primary purpose is to provide drainage. Panels that impede drainage or allow water to pool above them can cause leaks or other issues.
Finally, be sure to include proper flashing to maintain your roofing’s seal during installation. Flashing serves as an additional barrier between you home and the elements, and is critical in providing barriers against moisture.
Rooftop solar is an environmentally friendly method to cut your energy bills, but be wary during installation: Those energy savings aren’t going to offset water damage or other structural issues that can be caused by a shoddy installation.