If you’re one of the many Southern California homeowners thinking about saving money by going solar, you may be wondering if your roof is compatible for panel installation. There are few insurmountable problems roofs present to solar installations. Here are five questions to ask yourself before meeting with a consultant to calculate your energy savings.
1. How old is my shingle roof?
Roofing shingles are comprised of several layers of asphalt and fiberglass topped with gravel. It’s an extremely common material for homes and, in fact, very favorable for residential solar installations. The challenge comes when your composition shingle roof is 25 years old or more. Shingles expand and contract with seasonal temperature fluctuations, wearing down over time to expose the fiberglass and shed the gravel layer. In mild cases, the solution is as simple as replacing a few tiles. In drastic cases, however, you may need to re-shingle your roof before solar panels can be safely installed.
2. Is my roof clay tile?
Clay tile poses a bigger challenge than aged composition shingles, as breakage is more common and potentially a considerable added expense. At a minimum you will want a solar company whose installations are highly rated by clients, but even then you may be better off reroofing the area of your home where your panels will be mounted before installing your panels.
3. Do I have a lot of tree coverage?
The biggest barrier a roof may pose to your solar installation isn’t the roof at all—it’s your trees! Because solar panels derive their energy from the sun’s rays, anything impeding direct sunlight reduces the output you can expect from your solar panels. The obvious choice is to reduce the foliage or remove it completely—but be sure your solar provider is accounting for shading when providing your savings quote. In some cases, contracts may need to be amended to account for the reduced energy production stemming from your trees (pun definitely intended).
4. How steep is the pitch of my roof?
Roofs with a pitch greater than 45 degrees typically yield lower production because access to sunlight is diminished by the angle. The most heavily-sloped roofs are usually found in areas that experience snowfall. These areas typically have tree coverage as well, which is one more consideration for energy output. Safety, however, should not be an issue for either your panels or the contractors installing them. Good panels are engineered to safely mount to roofs with 60-degree pitches, and installers will take care to be strapped in when working on such homes.
5. Does my roof have adequate drainage?
Adding solar to your roof means that you now have a mini electricity plant above your home, and while solar panels, all system components and installation techniques account for water and weather, it’s still wise to avoid unnecessary complications by making sure rain, snow, and other elements can drain away effectively. Flat roofs, found most commonly in desert locales, have a tendency to pool water when not properly drained, which creates the potential for weak spots, leaks and damage that may be exacerbated by the added weight of solar panels.
A good solar company can help you answer any of these questions with no trouble. While it’s rare that a roof can prevent someone from switching to solar, answering these questions ahead of time will ensure that you’re properly prepared to act if you get a solar savings quote you find favorable. Be sure to work with a Riverside County solar panel installation and service provider that guarantees its installations with a strong warranty.For more information or to find out if your roof qualifies for making the switch to solar, call SunPower® by Precis today by dialing (951) 800-7926 and ask to receive a free quote!