So you’re thinking that going solar is a good idea, but you’re wondering, “how does solar affect my roof?” Solar does involve penetrating your roof, but a professionally installed solar system won’t cause leaks or problems, and there is even evidence that it provides structural support in the event of hurricanes and storms. Let’s take a closer look at solar panels’ impact on your roof.
Types of Roofs that Support Solar
First things first: which types of roofs can have solar? Almost all roofs can have a solar system installed on them: metal roofs, asphalt shingle, even concrete tile Spanish-style roofs. These are all great roofs for solar! The most challenging roofs to work on are flat, non-metal roofs, including torch down and foam membrane. We look really carefully at those types of roofs before committing to install on them.
The only roofs that can’t have a solar system are flat, metal, mobile home roofs and Spanish clay tile, which is too fragile to work on. Spanish clay tile roofs are not to be confused with concrete tile roofs designed to look like Spanish clay tile, which is what 99.99% of homeowners in Florida have.
Mounting Systems for Solar
Many people are concerned about holes in their roofs from solar. You should be concerned about holes in your roof–it’s the biggest invitation for problems. There are dozens (approaching hundreds) of solar mounting systems available and not all of them are equal. That’s why at Coronado Solar we’ve standardized on a sophisticated mounting system that, when installed correctly, has no way of letting water through.
The IronRidge solar mounting system integrated with a shingled roof seals the penetration behind its entry points. We bolt into the truss or ribs of your roof, raise up that penetration above the roofline so water naturally wants to flow around it, and then put a cap over that to completely seal it. On a concrete tile roof, we replace a tile with an IronRidge molded plastic substitute with the leak-proof technology built in. For metal roofs we have a different, but just as effective solution. Beware: companies attempting to save money on mounting hardware are going to cause heartache for your home. Don’t risk it.
Solar panels in a hurricane
Another advantage of the IronRidge mounting system is that it has an incredibly high strength. Regulations require 140 mph of wind resistance, but they deliver between 150 mph and 180 mph. They also advertise 1,067 lbs of uplift force, meaning if winds get underneath the panel and lift it straight up, they would have to exceed that amount of force to motivate one of those panels to move. In reality, properly installed solar panels go a long way to protecting a roof from wind and there is plenty of video evidence of this after major hurricanes. In short: a roof with a solar system on it is more durable than the roof by itself. It’s counter-intuitive, but it’s the truth.
Replacing a roof with Solar
If you’ve got a metal roof, congratulations! The typical lifespan of a metal roof is 30 to 50 years and a solar system typically lasts 40 years. Even a concrete tile roof can last more than 30 years. But in Florida, as insurance companies continue to tighten their regulations, many are requiring homeowners to change their shingle roofs every 15 to 20 years, which means if you have a shingle roof and a solar system you’re going to have to take it down at some point.
This isn’t a scary thing, by the way. The cost of taking down your solar system and putting it back up again after a re-roof is a small percentage (less than 10%) of the money you are saving over paying your utility. By the way, if your roof needs to be changed as part of an insurance claim due to hail or storm damage, managing the solar panels is part of the expense and is covered by the insurance.
Got more questions about your roof? Reach out to us through our website or give us a call at 833-288-4786.