If you look at all the rooftops of your neighborhood, chances are at least one of your neighbors has solar panels.
Decades ago, only people looking to get off the grid or living in remote areas used solar panels on their homes. Now, the residential use of solar panels has become more accessible than ever and is quickly becoming a great way to switch to clean energy in your home.
Solar panels capture and store energy from the sun and are often used to heat and cool the home. There are many benefits to using solar to heat and cool your home, but before the installation process begins, it helps to do a little research on what would be best for your home and what roofing and solar company would be best equipped to do the job.
Why You Should Switch to Solar
Let’s start with the basics: Why switch to solar?
A solar power system lasts up to 35 years, and in that time, you can save a lot of money on your electric bill. By installing your own solar panel system, you are creating your own grid of energy for your household to use–no more paying the electric and gas company.
Getting solar also allows you to take control of your energy usage. You can see how much energy is being stored and can distribute it the way you want, so there’s no more guessing what power source is making your electric bill so high.
For the eco-conscious consumer, solar reduces your carbon footprint and contributes to a sustainable lifestyle.
Things to Consider when Switching to Solar
So you want the benefits of solar, but what does that mean for your roof?
Though the cost of solar has drastically declined in the last decade, you should make sure to budget for the installation.
If your roof is older or close to the end of its lifetime, consider replacing it before installing solar panels. Old and damaged roofs are not ideal for solar panels, but roof replacement coupled with new solar panels will save you money in the long run, even if it is a substantial upfront expense.
What Roofs work best with Solar Panels?
Solar panels can work with almost every kind of roof, but each type of roof presents different challenges. Here is what you should consider for the solar panel installation process with these types of roof:
Asphalt Shingle Roofs
Asphalt shingle roofs are one of the most common roofs and are very compatible with solar panel systems. These roofs last up to 25 years, and should last throughout the lifetime of the solar panel system.
These roofs typically take up to three days to install depending on the complexity of the roof and the size of the house.
Another roof style very compatible with solar panel systems are metal roofs.
Metal roofs often last longer than shingle roofs with an average lifespan of 60 years. They are also extremely durable–some metal roofs have lasted over 100 years. This makes it a great candidate for solar panel installation because the roof will most likely outlive the solar panels.
Metal roofs also naturally repel heat and cold, making it especially compatible with a solar panel system for extra sustainability.
Like many other roofs, flat roofs can also pair nicely with solar panels, as long as the system is installed correctly.
Having a flat roof opens you up to more installation possibilities than that of a sloped roof. A solar panel and roofing professional should be able to point the panels in any direction that will catch the most sun throughout the day. There are also systems available that tilt and follow the sun for maximum energy capture and efficiency. Those systems are more typically seen on commercial buildings though.
Flat roofs generally have a lifespan of up to 30 years and are the choice of many retail and office spaces.
How a Roofing Company will Help
Though installing solar panels seems straightforward, the process is actually very complex and can best be handled by a professional. You should choose a professional roofing company that also specializes in solar installs or a dedicated solar installer to ensure the wiring is installed correctly and the process is executed safely.
When hiring a professional, there’s no second-guessing if your grid is up to code and working to its full potential. Your local power utility will also have to sign off on the installation for safety reasons, if you plan to keep your home tied into the power grid while also using solar. An improperly configured ‘grid-tie’ system could cause injuries to line crews in the event of a power outage. These systems must be wired correctly so that they do not backfeed into the local grid when the power’s out.
A good roofing and solar professional should be able to know all the best practices when it comes to solar installation. He or she should be able to inspect the roof and spot any red flags during the process and be able to quickly solve any issues that pop up.