We thank Grid City Energy, a local Long Island solar panels installer, for answering the following frequently asked question:
"If My Roof Is Old, Does it Make Sense To Get Solar Panels Installed On Them?"
For the purposes of installing solar, we consider an old roof one in which over 50% of the warranty period has elapsed. This means the roof has been exposed to good amounts of sunlight. For example, a 15 year old roof with a 20 year warranty which was under a shading object like a tree will have more life than a 15 year old roof that has been exposed to sunlight. Only a detailed inspection by a solar energy installation professional will be able to determine whether a roof is really fit for a solar installation. There are different types of roofing materials and they have their own type of life span. Each home exterior must be judged on a case by case basis.
It's important to point out that solar panels actually protect the surface of the roof by blocking sunlight. However the portions of the roof not covered by the panels will continue to erode as they normally do. In some cases a flat roof can be painted with Anti reflective coating to reflect sunlight if not fully covered but this cannot be done with shingle.
Another important aspect we consider is the layering quality of the home exterior. In some cases a customer who needs a new roof will add a second or third layer of roofing material rather than removing the layers which are older and are rotting beneath it. If installed on, this can create leaks and roof warranty issues down the road. In some cases, a roof can be brand new but the rafters and supports beneath it are not strong enough to support the existing roof plus the solar panels due to weight and snow/wind loads.
Going solar, especially in our hometown of Long Island, will also often require new snow guards and Squirrel Guard/Critter Guard/Bird Barrier. This is probably true in the Brooklyn, Queens and the boroughs as well but is extra relevant to Nassau & Suffolk where shingle homes dominate and quiet neighborhoods attract animals and birds. Solar panels can slide off of a roof in one shot dropping hundreds of lbs of snow as you exit your home/business. Snow guards installed on the roof and integrated into the system can prevent the snow avalanching off of the roof surface. Squirrel Guards/Critter Guard/Bird Barrier are a metal mesh that is installed around the perimeter of the system to keep pests away from solar critical components. Squirrels, birds and other rodents wreak havoc on systems causing damage by eating wires and building nests. These repairs are a nightmare to fix because solar panels are not meant to be removed for 25 years. Many of the components used to connect panels to a roof are one time use only. Replacement of such components is imminent if a panel were needed to be moved as a result of rodent damage. In some circumstances, the damage can be systemic affecting multiple panels. In some cases its only one panel is affected. Either way
It is evident that there is no magic answer and a lot to consider when installing the panels. We can assure you that companies like Grid City Energy will work with each individual customer on a case by case basis to diagnose the factors affecting your unique solar experience and will custom tailor a solution. They surely will take into consideration that you may have just repaired your roof for the long haul.
What better way to save money then to avoid buying a new roof using advanced Roof Savers Long Island repair techniques and then "topping it off" with some cost cutting Solar Panels.
By: David Bar of Grid City Energy; under the leadership of a NABCEP Certified Professional which is the highest credential achievement in the Solar Industry.
Grid City Energy 375 Pearsall Ave, Cedarhurst, NY 11516 516-308-7878 gridcitysolar.com