While solar energy legislation in Indiana has gone through some major changes in the past year, the demand for solar installation in both commercial and residential applications continues to grow.
Solar data from Indiana’s 2018 Q1 report states that 33,714 homes in the state are currently powered by solar, producing 295.76 MW of power (about 0.40% of the state’s electricity). The amount of solar energy is expected to grow 525 MW over the next 5 years. Between now and 2022, you may find yourself as part of the movement toward renewable energy in Indiana.
About 80 percent of solar installations are done on flat or sloped roofs where sunlight is unobstructed and power lines are nearby. It’s important to understand how a solar setup may affect the integrity of your roof and vice versa.
If you’re considering switching to solar, here are some things you should know.
Don’t install new panels on an old roof
Many solar panels are rated to generate power for 20-30 years. Installing a solar array on a roof that has less than a decade of life left is simply a poor investment choice. Depending on the age and condition of your roof, this may mean starting the process years in advance by repairing or replacing your roof entirely before hiring a solar installer.
Choose a reputable solar installer
A qualified solar installer will know how to properly care for a roof. They will know what kind of repair needs to be completed, how much weight your roof can bear, and the equipment best suited for the type of roof you have. Read reviews from trusted sources about the quality of prospective solar installers before making a choice.
Solar panels won’t make holes in your roof
While some penetration of your roof is necessary (initially) to attach photovoltaic mounting racks, these are specifically designed to stop water leakage. Around each hole, special flashing is installed to help water flow away from the watertight seal made with high-grade silicone.
Protecting your roof warranty
Different solar installers have various standards for maintaining roof warranties. A qualified installer should make a guarantee that your roof is not damaged by the installation or your warranty is voided.
Solar arrays can provide added protection
Protection from the sun provided by solar arrays is a huge bonus. Arrays cut cooling costs by providing clean, renewable energy as well as keeping the roof itself cooler, 5 degrees cooler in some cases. Solar panels also protect your roof from damaging UV rays that weaken many roofs.
When it comes to hail, rain, and other severe weather threats, solar panels can actually increase the life of your roof, acting as a barrier from Mother Nature.
The Bottom Line
There’s no reason to be concerned about roof damage caused by solar array installation as long as you choose a reputable installer that understands the importance of roof maintenance. Having a regular inspection plan in place is still important for maintaining the life of your roof and solar panels.
In the end, solar panels are a wise investment towards an imminent future of clean energy and a longer life for your roof.