Looking at how solar panels have improved in reliability, efficiency, and price in the last decades, they seem to be a great addition to a house or business. Not only are they markedly better than they were even a few years ago, they are only getting better and cheaper in the years to come. However, adding anything to your roof can be problematic. Solar panels are complicated and potentially dangerous thanks to the electricity and the added roof stress. Because the problems vary, we’ve narrowed them down to several categories:
- Roof assessment. This is figuring out if your roof can support solar panels in the first place.
- Installation. Issues that come up during install, such as water runoff, weight, cable organization, etc.
- Maintenance. Rooftop solar will require that you spend extra time ensuring that everything is in good working order. It’s certainly more maintenance than a roof alone.
Before you have any major modification done to your home or business, an assessment is absolutely necessary. You should have a certified professional, such as a commercial contractor do this. The assessment is basically for one purpose: to find out if your building is capable of handling solar panels. There are several things that can lead to problems here.
- An already damaged roof will not be strong enough to support panels. The shingles need to be undamaged to support not only the weight of the panels, but the foot traffic during installation.
- Additionally, installation on damaged shingles will further weaken the roof. This will increase the costs of future repairs and lead to leaks and possible pest infestations. During install, the roof will have to be penetrated, which will further weaken it.
- The roof must be structurally sound enough to support the weight of the panels. Many houses and small building are not built to handle the extra weight of solar panels, or anything else on the roof.
- Does your house have the room and power capabilities do deal with solar? You will need to have cables installed with the panels to connect to the transformer and grid. If your house’s electricity is already a little sketchy, then there’s no time like the present to get that sorted.
If your roof doesn’t cut the mustard for any one of these, then don’t fret. You can always higher a construction contractor to repair, assess, and/or improve your roof. Feel free to scroll to the bottom of this article Reliable Commercial’s Contact info.
There are a few things to look out for during and after the placement of the panels themselves. Not only
- Make sure that your panels don’t further weaken the roof. We already mentioned that holes will need to be made above. Be aware of how the roof may be less strong after solar installation.
- Rainwater can become an issue. Solar panels that are hastily installed can interfere with natural water runoff. You don’t want water pooling on your roof, it can cause leaks, roof damage, and with panels, more. Water can corrode metal attachments that panels use. If water permeates wires, you can have risk of electrical shorts, and fires.
- Ensure cables are installed properly. They should avoid excessive bending (which can weaken the insulation). They should also stay out of direct sunlight, which makes wire insulation brittle over time. Finally, wires should all be clearly labeled and secured. This makes future maintenance much easier.
- The panels should be oriented properly. If your building’s roof is slanted, make sure the panels are placed in the direction that gets the most sunlight over the year.
Again, just as you want a professional to assess the roof, you also want a professional contractor to do your panel installation. This ensures that everything is safe, up-to-code, and efficient.
Following proper guidelines for installation and assessment will make maintenance far, far easier down the road.
- Preventative maintenance will help you find problem areas. Holes in the roof, damaged shingles, and weakening roof structure can be found – and fixed.
- Cleaning the panels is a must. Over time they will become covered in dust, dirt, pollen, and various other particulate.
- Wiring and electrical maintenance is another necessity. You will want your wiring inspected, various terminals tested, and your electrical output measures. This will help ensure that your panels are actually and properly sending power back to the grid. Of course, regular inspection of your wiring and electrics is good because it also helps identify shorts, broken circuits, and fire/electrocution risks.
One of the best ways to ensure your new solar panels have the right kind of post-installation treatment is to have a contract. When you have your panels put in, either by a solar company or construction contractors, you can often sign on for a maintenance plan that lasts several years. Again, feel free to contact Reliable Commercial about setting up a rooftop solar panel maintenance program.
Jump into the future with Reliable
Reliable Commercial Construction has been in the building business for over 35 years. We know the tried and true methods, and keep up on the latest developments. Don’t wait, ride the wave of renewable energy innovation with our help. Contact us for a free quote, we are happy to do rooftop inspection, wiring, rooftop renovation, and preventative maintenance. We are construction contractors based in Texas, so we can personally vouch for the sun’s force. Whether you’d like to make some money selling power back to the grid, or you’d rather just save a little on your own electrical costs, solar is a good investment in the future.