Preparing your roof for solar panels means removing every possible barrier to the installation. A certified professional must get onto the roof for a thorough inspection, and then perform the appropriate maintenance and adjustments before the solar panels can be installed.
1. Contact a structural engineer, architect or other certified building professional to confirm that your roof can accommodate the added weight and stress of the solar panels.
2. Inspect your roof — or invite a roofing professional to inspect your roof — for damages and potential leaks. Repair any problems, or install a whole new roof if necessary. Most solar panels are designed to work for 20 to 25 years, and the roof will need to last that long as well.
3. Measure the area of your roof. Begin at the eaves and measure the length of the roof and its width. Multiply these numbers to determine the area of the roof. A 200- to 400-square-foot area is suggested on the roof for an effective solar array.
4. Examine the trees that overhang or cast a shadow on the the building. Trim away any limbs that shade the area of the roof that will be occupied by the solar array. Contact a professional to handle large branches or tree removal, if needed.
5. Locate new positions for the roof vents, antennas, satellite dishes and any other roof fittings that may be in the way of the proposed solar array. Building codes may require that relocation of some roof vents can only be performed licensed plumbing contractor.
The structural analysis may contain recommendations for reinforcing and/or improving your roof before mounting the solar panels. The improvements help the roof handle the additional weight of the panels, including the added stress of wind uplift.
Flat roofs with enough surface area, structural support and weatherproofing membranes are ideal for solar arrays. The level surface allows you greater flexibility in choosing the angle of the panels.
Do not attempt to climb onto a sharply pitched roof. Contact us to prepare your roof instead.