If you are planning to install solar panels in your home or office, you ideally want to install panels in a location where you get the most unobstructed sunlight. The roof naturally becomes the most preferred location for installing solar panels. Solar installation on your roof can save you money on your electric bill, but before you buy solar panels, you need to understand the pitfalls they may cause. Solar panels can damage your roof if the installation is improper, void its warranty and compromise its thermal performance. ‘Is my roof structure safe for solar panels?’ is a very valid concern, and we are here to help you figure it out.
How Do I Know My Roof Can Support Solar Panels?
Installing solar panels on your roof is an excellent use of roof space to create cost-effective and clean energy. Generally, all types of roof structures can withstand the weight of a solar system.
With a professional solar installer like the installers at Symons Energy, you can be at peace with the possibility of significant protection from major damage from solar installations. There are some types of roof structures, roof material, and roof surfaces that are more suitable for installing panels.
To find out if your roof is suitable for mounting equipment for a solar panel, then check out some of these types of roof structures below:
The hip roof is one of Australia’s three commonly used roof styles, the hip of the roof structure is like a triangle, with the highest point in the middle created by roof rafters meeting and creating a roof pitch. The roof edge slants off the sides.
You can install south-facing panels on your roof if you get the most sunlight towards the south of your property, or you can install solar panels on both sides for equal distribution.
However, the disadvantage of installing solar panels on both roof rafters is that one roof pitch will be in the shade for a portion of the day.
The skillion roof structure is tiled roofs where the roof slopes from one end to the other. These roofs get the maximum exposure to the sun due to their expansive and open roof area.
However, the roof is in the shade for a generous portion of the day. This type of roof structure requires energy usage habits to use the electricity produced efficiently.
Flat roofs are a roof type that doesn’t have roof pitch or tilts. However, it is not ideal for installing solar panels flatly, and the flat roof gives you the opportunity to install solar panels in different directions.
For instance, using tilt frames, you can set them at an angle on your building that allows them to get maximum exposure to the sun. So whether you need to face the north direction or the south, our installers can get it done for you.
Can My Roof Handle Solar Panels?
In most solar installations, the installation of the solar system is not enough to significantly impact the structural integrity of a home’s roof. About 95% of solar installations are feasible on an existing roof.
However, we must ensure that your roof is one of the many that can withstand a solar panel installation. Install manuals or manufacturer guidelines mention the ideal type of roof needed for a solar system. However, it is still essential to know if your roof can handle solar panels.
A structural engineer will examine your building to ensure that your roof will be strong enough or whether you need a smaller system. Here are some different ways to ensure your roof is fit to support solar panels.
The ideal roof for a solar installation is a metal roof. This roof type requires no drilling and can be attached on standing seam roofs by a solar installer. It requires lesser equipment, and so the labour cost is also low.
The second most ideal roof material is asphalt shingles or composite. Asphalt shingle is very easy to drill for roof penetrations and mounting solar panels, and the installer has to remove the tiles to mount the racking frame for tiled roofs.
Materials like slate, clay, and concrete that are too fragile for an installed solar system are usually discouraged. Many homes in Australia also have wooden roofs, and this type of roof is prone to crumble and fire hazards and, thus, discouraged.
Age Of The Roof
When installing solar panels, determine the life expectancy of your roof and account for this when deciding whether to finance or lease the solar panels.
No one wants to replace their roof five years after a solar panel system has been installed. Because solar systems can last for 20 years and more, it is ideal to ensure that your roof lasts a similar duration.
Ensure Smooth Functioning Of Water Pipes On The Roof
Structural engineers can help you decide the best roof area for installing solar panels. When installing solar panels, special attention must be paid to the flow of water—from gutters, downspouts, and roof drains.
To avoid water damage to a building, solar panel installers must be careful to install racks, wiring, and ballast in a combination that allows rainwater to drain properly.
If the panels block gutters and drainpipes, rainwater backs up and causes leaks in the roof or the equipment beneath.
Are Solar Panels Too Heavy For My Roof?
If you plan to install solar panels and are unsure whether your roof can handle the added weight, worry not! Give Symons Energy a call today, and we will send over a structural engineer to help you whether your building is fit for added weight.
Usually, solar panels and mounting equipment installation is about 2 kilograms per square foot. It is essential to focus on proper weight distribution on the roof area to minimise risks.
Symons Energy is one of the leading solar panel suppliers in Australia and specialises in providing the best solar advice according to the Clean Energy Council Guidelines for installing solar panels. Call us at 1300 764 162 for a free quote!