Should I install solar panels on my house when the roof is replaced?

Answered by Brett Kulina ~ October 18, 2012 ~ No Comments

It is time for a new residential roof and we want to go as green as possible. Is it overkill to install solar panels at the same time as installing metal roofing? We currently have the old fashioned asphalt roofing.

Beth - Nashville, Tenn.

Brett Kulina

Beth, most residential solar arrays are attached on top of a home's finished roofing, so it's likely that your new metal roof will need to be completed prior to the installation of any solar panels. Of course, there is a benefit of knowing your solar panel array layout before the new roof is installed, because you can determine the attachment points for the panel's mounting brackets and decide the best place to install the wiring harness, which will run from the solar panels to your home's electrical panel.

Your rooftop-mounted solar panels will most likely be attached to aluminum mounting brackets, which should run parallel to the ridge line of your home's roof. The panels' mounting brackets should be securely attached to some underlying roof framing members, but should also be positioned on risers, which creates the needed space for the panel's wiring and micro-inverters. These risers also allow rain water to freely flow beneath the mounting brackets into your home's gutter system.

More importantly, you need to make sure that the solar power system that you choose is sized and designed for your home's location and power needs. Solar panels can be a worthwhile investment, but you need to hire a knowledgeable designer and installer so that you know that your money has been well spent. The solar panel industry seems to be constantly changing, so it is well worth it to hire someone who is familiar with the latest panel technology, available tax credits, as well as possible grants and rebates from your local utility company.

Once there is a design and layout in hand for your new solar array, then your roof installer can review the plans to make sure that the new metal roof will easily accommodate the installation of the solar panels. Likewise, you can have the designer of your solar array review the new roof plans, which should help ferret out any potential problems prior to the panel's installation. Remember, your home's roof pitch, the location of plumbing vents, and any roof dormers or valleys can effect the final layout of your new solar array.

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