Installing solar panels can give you access to clean energy, but it can also damage your roof if you aren't careful. Here are a few measures to ensure that your quest for alternative energy doesn't end in roof damage:
Start From Roof Design
Ideally, your preparations for solar installation should start from the design of the roof. This is because solar panels work best on certain roofs, so you should know the requirements and incorporate them in your roof design early on. For example, prior knowledge of future solar installation allows roofing contractors to maximize available roof space by properly placing roof installations such as drains, chimneys, vents and others.
Evaluate the Roof Before Installation
Even if you have superb DIY skills, you shouldn't just buy solar panels and install them on your roof. You need to evaluate the roof's load-carrying capacity, slope, age, condition and other relevant factors. For example, it wouldn't be wise to install a solar panel on an aging and deteriorated roof that may require replacing in less than five years. That wouldn't make much economic sense because solar panels last for several decades; removing and reinstalling the panels when replacing the roof is a waste of money. It might be best to wait and install them after replacing the roof.
Get a Competent Installer
Letting an unqualified person handle the installation would undo all the good work done by during the planning stage. This isn't something you should handle as a DIY project. The installer should have adequate roofing experience and understanding of your roof system. Otherwise, they may create further problems; for example, they may fail to seal the penetration points created by the solar support structure, which may lead to roof leaks.
The precautions don't stop once the panels have been installed on the roof. A roof with solar panel requires more stringent maintenance practices than a similar roof without solar panels. This is necessary to deal with roofing problems that solar panels present. For example, birds and bees may nest under the solar, the supporting structures for the panels may trap windblown debris, and the support structures may also contribute to snow or ice accumulation.
Ideally, the measures above should prevent solar-related roof damage. Deal with any teething problems before they cause serious roof damage. For example, if the panels are collecting snow and ice, look for a solution before your roof starts leaking. Consult a roofing contractor, such as David Construction, LLC, if you believe your solar panels are responsible for your roofing woes.