How to Prepare Your Roof for Solar Panel Installation
Adding solar panels to your home can be a great way to reduce your utility costs and make a positive impact on the environment. Of course, unless you have enough land to install a solar array, the most obvious place to install solar panels is on your roof. Before you take this step, though, it's important to ensure that your roof is up to the task so that you can enjoy reliable power from your solar array for years to come.
Ensure Proper Drainage
Although solar panels can handle all types of weather, it's not good for them to sit for long periods of time in standing water. Therefore, it's vital to check your roof's drainage to make sure that any water that falls on your roof will quickly drain away. This is especially important if your home has a flat roof, since it doesn't have the advantage of a pitch to help it drain. No matter which type of roof you have, though, it's important to check your gutters to ensure they can properly remove water.
Check Roof Integrity
A large array of solar panels will add quite a bit of weight to your roof. Therefore, you need to make sure that your roof structure can support this extra weight. If you have roofing materials such as asphalt shingles and plywood sheathing, it's important to check for water damage to these materials before you begin installation of your solar array. If you notice any weak spots, you will need to work to replace these materials before installation can begin.
Go With a New Roof
Once your solar panels are installed, it will be very difficult to do any sort of repairs to your roof. Therefore, if you have an older roof, it's a good idea to have it replaced entirely before you install solar panels. If you install a new roof at the same time as you install new solar panels, they should both have about the same lifespan, leading to ease of maintenance and fewer problems.
Take Some Measurements
While solar panels are a great way to provide power to your home, it's important to understand exactly what type of benefits you can expect to receive from installing solar panels. The best way to do this is to measure your roof to determine how many solar panels can be installed on your roof. If you have a large, uninterrupted roof, you'll be able to install plenty of solar panels that will make your investment worthwhile.
Solar panels represent a major upfront investment. Therefore, it's important to keep the big picture in mind when you decide to make this investment. If you only plan to stay in your current home for a few years, this investment might not be worth it. However, if the home you're in now is your "forever home," then it makes sense to power your home with solar energy.