Endless sunshine in most states across the country continues to make solar energy an enticing proposal for property owners. Currently, thousands of property owners in Arizona have already installed solar energy systems, and those who haven’t are probably contemplating mounting solar panels on roof as soon as possible. This is because solar energy promises to reduce energy bills or eliminate them entirely.
Over the years, solar energy technology has seen incredible technological advancements, most of which have helped reduce the overall cost of the necessary equipment. Today, mounting solar panels on roof is also a powerful way to generate sufficient electricity for both residential and commercial properties without increasing the overall impact on the environment.
There are essential factors to consider before you start mounting solar panels on roof. Understanding the different factors involved in solar energy projects is a good idea. To help you decide whether solar energy is the right option for your property, we have listed ten essential factors you must consider before buying and installing rooftop solar panels.
1. Your roof’s condition
Before you consider installing rooftop solar panels, first check your current roof condition. If you realize that you require a new roof or part of your existing roof is damaged, it probably isn’t a good idea to install the solar panels right away. First, hire a contractor to inspect your roof and take care of the necessary repairs before mounting solar panels on roof.
This way, you will not need to pay additional money to dismantle your roof and then put it up again in the future. Remember, a good solar panel system can last 20 years to 30 years or more. You need a structurally sturdy roof that can support the entire PV system for that long.
Another essential aspect to consider is your roof’s warranty compared to the solar energy system’s warranty. Suppose you have a PV system expected to last for 20 years or more and a roof that will only last between 15 to 18 years. In that case, you may need to dismantle and put up your roof again before the expiration of the solar system warranty. It is, therefore, essential to match both roofing and solar panel installation projects in terms of their lifetime to optimize the resources you need to invest.
2. The shape of your roof
Both residential and commercial properties’ roofs come in various shapes and sizes. Prior to mounting solar panels on roof, ensure that you have sufficient space for the PV system. If you do not have enough space, there is a good chance you will not get an optimum return on your investment, or you will need additional space to install the solar panels.
3. The direction of your roof slope
PV panels require a specific placement (with regard to the direction of sunshine) to maximize sunshine exposure and generate the maximum amount of electricity. For this reason, mounting solar panels on roof is a task for professionals who can carefully analyze the specific direction to which your roof’s slope faces. This is one of the aspects that could affect the total amount of sunshine your solar panels will get and ultimately affect their output.
4. The total weight your roof can handle
Mounting solar panels on roof increases the overall weight of your property’s roof structure. If the weight of the PV panels is too much for your roof to handle, the chances are that it will collapse. This is dangerous for people living on that property, not to mention the cost of cleaning up the property and replacing the roof. Just contact a professional to evaluate your roof and determine whether it can support the weight of both solar panels and the installers.
5. The impact of rainwater
Whenever it rains, water runs down your roof into the gutter system and probably away from your property. During solar panel installation, equipment like wire harnesses and PV panel racking can prevent a considerable amount of water from draining properly. In some cases, part of the solar system equipment can force the water to move in the wrong direction, creating leaks and other roofing issues. These issues will require timely repairs, which means the PV panels may need to be removed during repairs.
To prevent such issues, it is essential to work with an experienced solar installation contractor who can identify the possibility of improper drainage. The contractor can create an effective plan to ensure that the entire process of mounting solar panels on roof doesn’t affect the water runoff.
6. Nature’s surprises
An essential part of solar energy system maintenance is dealing with severe weather surprises such as hurricanes, lightning storms, and hail. Such weather elements can potentially damage your solar panels. For this reason, it is recommended to have the right insurance policy to cover damage from harsh weather conditions, mainly if you live in a region prone to hurricanes and lightning storms.
7. Getting connected to the grid
In addition to the shape, structural integrity, and orientation of your roof, it’s essential to consider how you will connect your solar energy system to the power grid. Before you get connected to a local utility, you must answer the following questions;
- How long will it take the solar installer or utility company to get you hooked up to the grid?
- Are there fees to be paid?
- Will utility companies credit you for the generated electricity?
- If so, when will you be credited for the total amount of electricity generated?
To fully understand the specific requirements for getting hooked to the grid and whether or not there are fees to be paid, it is recommended to consult with a local solar installation company. The contractor will also give you accurate information on the net-metering before mounting solar panels on roof and installing the other system components.
8. Comparing your options
Before you sign an agreement with a local solar installation company, first do your homework. Choosing the first solar energy company you come across might sound like an easy way to install your long-awaited solar panel system. But this may not work well for you. Not all installers out there can complete the process of mounting solar panels on roof effectively. So, shop around and request quotes from different solar contractors. Get more information about these service providers and ensure you hire a solar panel installation company that offers excellent customer service.
9. Hire a contractor or DIY solar installation?
The process of mounting solar panels on roof is both an electrical project and a home improvement project. For this reason, PV system installation is not a DIY project. You need to look for the right contractor and ensure they have the right credentials. For instance, you can ask about whether they are licensed to install and maintain solar energy systems in your state.
Choosing the right contractor that offers a reasonable warranty for both solar system equipment and the installation process is your best bet. Sure, solar energy systems require minimal maintenance. But if something stops working, you will need an experienced contractor to evaluate the entire system and fix the issue under warranty. So, leave the process of mounting solar panels on roof to experts.
10. Can I install the cheapest solar panels?
Cheaper PV panels rarely translate to cost-effective solar energy systems. Though green energy technology has significantly dropped in terms of cost over the past decade, acquiring the cheapest solar paneling and other solar system equipment may not be the best investment. This is because such products may be manufactured in a way that makes them less effective or less durable, and this could impact the overall future financial savings.
The scariest part is that poor quality solar system components can be dangerous, resulting in electricity-related hazards. The last thing any homeowner wants is to have a fire start in your property just because you bought low-quality solar energy system components. This doesn’t mean you should always purchase the most expensive solar panels in the market. Instead, work with a local solar installation company to buy and install a high-quality solar system without breaking your bank.
Consult with an expert before mounting solar panels on roof
Generally, the entire process of mounting solar panels on roof is complicated. It would be best if you worked with an experienced contractor who can evaluate the current condition of your roof and determine whether or not it needs repair or replacement. The contractor will also help you determine the number of solar panels you need, the specific components you must purchase, and whether or not mounting solar panels on roof is a viable investment option.