Top 3 Roof Issues to Address Before Installing Solar Panels

PV solar panels for residential roofs are in like never before, thanks to the fact that going solar has never been easier or more affordable.

The Price of Going Solar Has Decreased Dramatically Over the Past 10 years

In fact, in 2020, most homeowners working with small local installers are paying between $2.80 and $3.20 per watt to install a new solar panels system before the 26% solar tax credits in 2020 (22% solar INC in 2021).

The national average total cost for a typical 5kW PV solar power system is $14,800, when installed by a small local installer, before the 26% tax credits in 2020 (22% solar INC in 2021).

Did you know? In 2008, the cost of a solar power installation was $8.82 per watt.

Using the US average for a residential PV panels system size at 5 kW (5000 watts), a new solar system cost will be $10,952, after the 26% tax credits in 2020. — That’s a rather attractive price range for residential solar energy compared to the recent past.

historical cost of solar power on a per watt basis

So, should you jump on the solar bandwagon and take advantage of the 26% solar investment tax credits available to homeowners in 2020 (22% in 20201) right away, or are there other factors to consider before installing solar panels on your home?

There are several important factors to consider before calling a solar company and getting those panels up on your roof, if you want to ensure a long-lasting and regret-free solar installation:

Common Roof Problems to Watch Out For Before Going Solar

1. Roof Age

Modern PV solar panels are designed to generate power from solar energy for 25 to 30 years, with only minimal loss in annual energy-generating capacity. So the real question is whether your roof will match the longevity and durability of solar panels it will house?

Did you know? SunPower offers solar panels with degradation rates as low as 0.3% per year.

If you are like most homeowners considering going the solar route, then you probably have an architectural style asphalt roof that has recently been installed, meaning that 20 years would seem like a reasonable lifespan to expect from your roof.

However, if instead of architectural shingles, you happen to have 3-tab shingles and ythe roof is already five years old or even older, then installing solar panels may not be such a smart move for you, because chances are your solar panels will last longer than the roof itself! 😉

While solar panels can be removed to allow for re-roofing a home, that’s often too expensive to be reasonable. It’s more cost-effective to install PV panels on a roof at the time of replacement.

Pro Tip: Make sure that your roof will last the lifetime of a solar power system to avoid costly solar panel removals and re-installations to accommodate for the installation of a new “in-between” roof.

2. Excessive Roof Weight

Do you know how many layers of shingles are there up on your roof? If you have two or more layers of shingles, then your roof frame may not be strong enough to handle the weight of solar panels.

Furthermore, if your roof sheathing is old or damaged, then it may not be strong enough to withstand the weight of shingles and solar arrays. Have your roof deck and roof frame structure inspected by a qualified engineer before committing to the PV solar installation.

Did you know? One effective way to deal with the roof weight issues, is to replace the asphalt roof with a lighter-weight standing seam metal roof, which will not only last longer than asphalt, but will also help avoid having to drill any holes in order to mount the solar panels on the roof. No penetrations in the roof means that you will have a more reliable and longer lasting roof.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Enter Your Zip Code

A standing seam metal roof is an especially good option to consider if you need to have the old roof replaced anyways, before the solar panels can be installed.

3. Not Having The Right Angle or Sufficient Roof Span for Solar Exposure

You’ll want to make sure that your roof has sufficient exposure to sun and sufficient surface area to justify solar investment.

For solar installations in the northern hemisphere, you will want to have south-facing roof surface with minimum obstruction in order to ensure maximum energy-generating capacity from your solar system.

The ideal rooftop for installing solar panels is one facing south with enough slope to properly tilt the panels and enough room for them.

We recommend using the amazing Project SunRoof by Google to see if your home and its rooftop are economically suitable for going solar.

1 thought on “Top 3 Roof Issues to Address Before Installing Solar Panels”

  1. I’ve been thinking about adding solar panels to my roof for a while now. Of the things you said here, it would be a good idea to know an estimate of how much the roof weights. Solar panels aren’t the lightest thing in the world so you have to be sure that your roof can handle the extra load.

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