Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Considerations When Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

For many houses, mounting solar panels on the rooftop makes the most sense. A rooftop installation optimizes solar collection and saves space. However, before going ahead with the installation, consider how it will affect the performance of your roof. A Cherry Hill roofing consultant can help with expert advice on maintaining your roof in good working order.

Traditional racks for holding solar panels must be secured to the infrastructure of the roof. These lightweight aluminum or stainless steel structures have rails that support the photovoltaic (PV) array. Adjustable legs hold the panels at a specific angle for solar collection and attach to feet that you must bolt into the rafters of your roof.

Each bolt hole is a potential leakage site because it compromises your roof’s waterproof seal. Making sure that each hole is properly resealed is critical to protecting your home from moisture damage. Applying flashing designed to divert water from around the bolt penetrations is a good solution.

One type of flashing designed for composition or cedar shake roofs incorporates a sleeve for the anchor bolt and a 12-by-12-inch metal flashing plate. A portion of the flat metal flashing slips beneath the row of shingles above, preventing water from seeping underneath and into the house. Another type of flashing intended for flat tile installation slips over the bolt and rests between the rack foot and roof. It is designed to replace one of the existing roof tiles.

Both of these flashing systems coordinate with the existing roofing to reseal it.

The use of polyurethane caulking around the bolt holes prior to applying the flashing adds an extra layer of moisture protection. Some roof rack manufacturers recommend using sealant alone around the bolt penetrations to block out moisture. This method is certainly less costly and quicker than flashing installation but probably not as reliable.

Many roofing contractors are highly knowledgeable about proper PV roof rack installation. Professional help in repairing the areas compromised by mounting bolts is your best bet for sealing potential leakage sites. Plenty of homeowners would rather hire a skilled roofing contractor to handle the job than tackle such a tricky project themselves.

Another option for going solar is the use of specially designed roofing tiles that are actually solar collectors. These shingles replace existing roofing and do not require mounting holes. Instead, your contractor installs them with nails, just like any other type of roofing. They are thin enough to resemble conventional shingles and contain integrated wires that connect the panels to the home’s electrical system. Solar shingles are a viable option if you want to combine reroofing with green energy production.

Whether mounting a PV array atop existing roofing or replacing ordinary materials with solar shingles, seeking the advice and help of a reputable roofing contractor gives you peace of mind. Investing in green energy should not compromise the structural integrity of your home. Taking proper measures to ensure that the roof remains watertight after solar installation is critical to the life of the structure. The roofing experts at Fortified Roofing of Cherry Hill NJ can assist you with any questions regarding a new roof or gutters.

Term & definition explained by Fortified Roofing, Cherry Hill NJ:

Down payment

A down payment is an up-front deposit for the work to be done. Beware of contractors who ask for a large sum to cover the cost of materials. Reputable firms have established accounts with manufacturers that allow them to obtain the materials they need.

Cherry Hill roofing FAQ of the day:

Should I tell the roofer who else has a bid for my job?

Unscrupulous contractors may ask you to reveal the amount of the other bids you have received, but you do not have to disclose this information. To maintain an equal playing field, keep the bids under wraps until you have reached a decision. Otherwise, a contractor may submit a bid designed to undercut the competition rather than a bid based on the actual job requirements.

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