How does solar power affect your home's roof?

Not only does solar power revolutionize your perception of your home’s energy, it also has a huge effect on your home’s roof.

 

By Erin Vaughan, Modernize.com

A lot of things happen to homeowners after they purchase solar energy systems for their homes. Not only do they receive their first surprising $0 utility bill, they also start thinking hard about the ways they use energy throughout their home. Lights left on casually while you go to work? No more!

But not only does solar power revolutionize your perception of your home’s energy, it also has a huge effect on your home’s roof as well—sometimes for better and for worse. Solar energy systems can help keep your shingles intact longer and may give you some food for thought on your next roof replacement. Here’s what you need to know about solar when it comes to your roof.

Solar Panels Could Prolong the Life of Your Shingles

Asphalt roofs may degrade over time when exposed to constant, intense UV radiation. You can think about your shingles like you do your skin—too much sunlight can cause premature damage and aging. Solar panels, on the other hand, act like a sun shade for your roof, contributing to better overall performance. That means you won’t have to repair or replace your shingles as often. Similarly, panels protect delicate asphalt shingles from damaging hail. Panels are sealed in reinforced glass that can withstand extreme weather—so that’s definitely a plus if you live in an area prone to storms.

Solar Panels May Shade Your Interiors in Summer

Panels not only shade your roof—that protection translates to your home as well. Many homeowners have remarked that their interiors feel cooler after their systems were installed, particularly in the area directly under the panels. Of course, the opposite is true in the winter, so it’s important to select the part of your roof that gets the most sun for your installation.

Solar Panels May Make Roof Replacements Slightly More Complicated

In your life before solar, when you needed a new roof, you just called up a roofing company and had them get to work. But a solar rooftop requires the system to be carefully uninstalled and stored while the roof is replaced. Typically, a solar company can do this work for you—but they may charge a small fee for the job. That’s why it’s a smart idea to consider the life of your roof and potentially have a new one installed before you spring for solar panels. That way, you’ll have ten years or more before you need to start thinking about taking your panels down.

Solar Panels Affect Your Home’s Curbside Appeal

Let’s face it—not everyone is crazy about the way solar looks. Solar panels will definitely change your home’s exterior appearance, but there are ways around it if you don’t like their look. Some alternatives? Install your panels on a garage or pergola to maintain the look and feel of your existing roof. You can also opt for vertical orientations—or even try out Tesla’s new solar tiles—to keep a sleek and modern feel. Additionally, keep in mind that consumer studies have shown that solar panels increase home property values, particularly in areas with high average utility

Solar Panels Could Cause Your Roof to Leak—Although Leaks Are Very Rare

In rare cases, a solar installation could cause leaks to form in your home’s interior. Generally, the system’s racking equipment is attached directly to your roof decking, meaning that the installer must cut into the roof to mount your panels. And as with any opening in your roof’s surface, there’s the potential for leaks to spring up around these protrusions. A solar installer should seal the openings with flashing and add a flashing pan to redirect water off of your roof—and that process makes leaks a very rare event indeed. Still, you should ask your installer how they handle leaks, and whether or not they cover these types of repairs—before you sign a contract.

Essentially, solar panels are just like any remodel, so it pays to weigh the costs and benefits before you spring for a new system. Still, with the potential to pay little to nothing for electricity and an increasingly quicker return on investment turnaround, solar is looking better and better all the time.

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