Solar panels are the new business and residential craze and more people jump on the bandwagon every year. Homeowners, business owners, even renters with permission from their landlords are installing solar panels to soak up all that gloriously free energy. This is only natural, solar panels have recently become both more efficient and more affordable, not to mention the increasing number of solar-friendly state and power company policies. Some people install solar just for the opportunity to reduce or eliminate their power bill, an admirable goal to be sure. Of course, no matter why you’re putting up solar panels or how many you plan to install, the first and most important thing to take care of is the health of your roof.
What Solar Panels Need From a Roof
While there are many alternative and even unusual options for where to place your solar panels, the most practical place for homeowners will usually be the roof, preferably the side facing south or southwest to catch the most possible sunlight. Solar panels aren’t immensely heavy, but they’re not made of styrofoam either and neither are the mounting frames. This means your roof needs to be clean, in good repair, and structurally sound. You also need about 200 to 400 square feet of clear space for the row of panels. This means that first, your roof needs to be assessed for suitability, then it will need a thorough inspection and probably a few minor roof repairs before installation can begin.
Pre-Solar Roof Repairs
There are several reasons why your roof needs to be in perfect repair for solar installation. The first is that the mounting frame needs to fasten securely to the roof which means that the shingles it fastens to need to be absolutely locked in to avoid any nasty detachment later on. Another good reason is that you and/or your solar installation professionals will be working on and off the roof for several hours and the last thing you want is a slip, or worse, roof and attic damage due to an improperly maintained roof. Before your installation, call a talented roof repair service to fix any lose, peeled, or storm-damaged shingles.
The Structural Inspection
After the roof repairs, your next important step is to get your roof thoroughly inspected for structural integrity. The area you’ve selected needs to be able to hold not just your weight when you’re up and moving around but the weight of the entire solar array. An unsupported or for some reason not structurally prepared area could result in the whole thing crashing down. Ask your roof repair service to take a professional look at the structural integrity of your roof. They may also be able to help you relocate inconveniently placed roof features like satellites, weather veins, and antennas. Though rooftop vents may require the additional assistance of a plumber. With your roof structural report, you can work together with your roofing and solar services to find the perfect spot to place your panels.
Solar panels are one of the greatest recent technological innovations and homeowners across the country are investing in big and small installations. Whether you’re just putting up a few panels to play with and charge cellphones off of or you’re trying to reach net-zero to cover the power consumption of your entire home, the real first step of solar panel installation is always roof repair and inspection. Here at First Impression Exteriors, we take roof safety very seriously and would be happy to help you prepare for an absolutely safe solar panel installation. From basic repairs to an in-detail structural inspection, if you’re installing solar panels in or around Minneapolis, contact us today!