Denver Roofing: Article About Considerations Before Installing Roof Solar Panels
Installing roof solar panels is a costly investment. A quality system will pay for itself and more over time, but a home or business owner should consider carefully what kind of system is right for them and whether the time is right to make the investment. A Denver roofing contractor is familiar with installing roof mounted systems and would be able to answer many of these questions as well as to assist owners in making the right decision.
The age and condition of a roof is a critical factor in deciding to put solar panels in at all. Solar panels from quality manufacturers that are properly installed typically have long life expectancies and warranties longer than 25 years. In actuality, most solar systems are expected to last years beyond this warranty. They have no moving parts and thus experience little to no mechanical wear. Compared to most roofs, this means that the panels and the roof will have similar lifespans. Installing new panels on an old roof or one in need of repair is a waste. In a few years, more money will be needed to remove the panels because roof repair and replacement cannot be done with solar panels installed. After the roof is fixed, even more money will be needed to pay for reinstalling the panels. This can easily add up to several thousand dollars.
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Panels are best installed on a relatively new roof. They will further extend the life of the roof and expire at about the same time, decades in the future.
Not all roofs are created equal, and not all roofs are appropriate for solar installation. A roof with overly complicated roof lines and angles makes for a cumbersome, expensive and likely inefficient system. Panels are best on roof designs with large, flat faces that get plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day.
Roof load is an important and often overlooked consideration. In general, solar panels are rather light and apply only about four pounds per square foot of weight to the roof, or about as much as a second layer of heavy shingles. Modern roofs built after 1970 should easily handle evenly distributed loads much greater than that. The load from solar panels, however, is deceptively not evenly distributed. It is instead concentrated at a number of mounting points. In an effort to reduce the number of roof penetrations and possibility of leakage, most contractors will minimize the number of these points. This compounds the problem. The load capability of individual rafters and trusses is thus what is most important in analyzing a roof's ability to hold panels. Careful planning of the installation process becomes vital.