The state of Florida was the fourth largest U.S. contributor to solar-generated megawatts in 2018. Residential and industrial solar installations are on the rise in the Sunshine State, thanks to state and federal incentives and a new awareness of sustainability among Florida residents. If you’re ready to produce solar power at your home, here are some facts about preparing your roof for solar panels.
Mechanically Speaking, Metal Roofs Are Best
A competent solar installer can attach photo voltaic panels to most roofing materials. Asphalt-composite, clay, metal, wood, and tar-and-gravel rooftops are all suitable roof coverings to handle a solar installation.
However, solar panels must be mounted on brackets. Manufacturers have designed solar-panel mounting brackets that are configured specifically for the various types of shingles, but each mounting bracket must be screwed into your roof rafters.
Because the screws penetrate the roof decking, the solar installer will apply flashing to the asphalt-composite and cedar shake shingles above the fastener point. The installer places the flashing under the previous layer of underpayment to keep water from pooling or leaking around the shingles or the bracket entry point.
With a standing-seam metal roof, you don’t have the need for extensive flashing or concerns about leaking around the mounting fasteners. The standing seams are ideal surfaces to screw in durable solar mounts. With a metal standing seam roof, you have no need to drill into the roof decking.
On a Spanish Tile Roof, Expect Higher Costs
Tile roofs are harder to work with than other roofing types when installing solar panels. If you have a tile roof in Florida, the roofing tiles are probably fastened securely to the roof surface, meaning the solar installers must individually pry off and carve tiles to make room for the solar brackets.
The installers use special brackets and flashing for tile roof solar installations. The installers lay the flashing directly on the underlayment between roofing tiles and over the bracket entry point. The same brackets are used for clay, slate, or cement tiles.
Expect to pay slightly more for a solar array installation on a Spanish-style tile roof. The shape of the tiles makes them prone to breakage when installers step on the tiles. Order extra tiles from your roofing supplier before you install your solar panels so you have extras on hand to replace broken tiles.
If Your Roof Is Worn, Repair or Replace It First
Solar panels have a long life expectancy. Solar-array manufacturers often provide 25- to 30-year warranties on their products. Solar panels often continue to work after their expected lifespan for many years, although their power output will slowly decrease over time.
You set yourself up for a lot of future hassles when you install solar panels on a roof that’s aging fast. Not only must you replace the roof in a few years, you must also pay to remove and reinstall your solar panels after the roof repair.
Repair or replace your roof before scheduling solar-panel installation. You protect your home and keep future roof disruption at a minimum when you repair or replace the roof first.
After Solar Array Installation, Property Value Increases
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), if you need a new roof before installing your solar array, that’s good news for your finances. Your new roof will be partially covered by the increase in your home’s value after you install a solar array.
The NREL estimates that each dollar you save in energy costs from your solar system translates to an increase of $20 in property value. Solar installations in hot solar-system markets, including Florida, yield even higher returns on property value estimates.
The more solar panels you install, the more your property values will increase. If you’re selling your home, installing solar panels on the roof can make your home sell up to 20 percent faster than conventional homes. When you add up all of the benefits of installing a solar installation, you can repair or replace your roof with confidence first, knowing the investment will definitely pay off.
Before Solar Is Installed, Hire Roofing Professionals
Most solar installers are not roofing experts. Hire an experienced roofing professional to replace or repair your roof before solar installations. A roofing specialist has the training and materials to secure your roof properly for good solar performance without roof issues.
Even when you’re sure your roof is in good shape, schedule a complete, professional inspection of your roof before you hire any solar installers to climb around on top of your home. You might have hidden damage from pests, storms, or falling debris that you need to repair before you can install your solar panels.
When extensive work needs done on your roof, hire a trusted roofing professional to work with your chosen solar installation crew. When you have a roofing expert on site to help the solar crew navigate your roof, you provide the solar team with the professional support they need to leave your roof in tip-top shape.
Repair or replace your aging Tampa Bay roof before you install solar panels by contacting Acoma Roofing Inc. We also conduct thorough inspections of roofs for your peace of mind.