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Solar Panels

Replacing Your Roof with Solar Panels: What you need to know

Solar panels can be a great investment for Arizona homeowners. Taking full advantage of the ample sunlight available in this region makes a lot of sense, and harnessing the energy of the sun to lower your monthly electric bill seems like a perfect solution.

But what should you do if you’re faced with replacing your roof with solar panels already installed and functioning? Avoid the most common obstacles by learning from the experiences of other Arizona residents. There are a few things you need to know about a roof replacement with solar panels, and this article will cover the five biggest questions we’ve received about this subject.

Is there a way to replace my roof without removing the solar panel installation? 

Replacing a roof with solar panels installedNo. The solar panels can’t remain in place while your Phoenix roofing contractors replace your roof with solar panels. These panels will need to be stored in a safe location and re-installed after your roof replacement is finished. Keep in mind that you’ll need to contact the solar panel installation professionals who set them up in order to have them safely removed.

Don’t expect your roof replacement workers to know how to handle solar panels safely; something could be damaged in the process, and it’s not worth the risk. In addition, you will need to make arrangements to obtain your power from the area’s electric grid during your roof replacement. 

Is it appropriate to switch roofing materials during the roof replacement?

It makes sense that some people will wish to switch their roofing materials, and the roof replacement presents an ideal opportunity to do so. For example, you might think that this is the perfect time to invest in more energy efficient roofing materials that are more durable. However, the real issue is the mounting method used; you could find that a new mounting system drives up the cost of the installation to the tune of a few thousand dollars outside of your original budget.

What if my roof replacement company won’t communicate to the solar panel installers?

The bottom line is simple: The project will go smoother if your roofing replacement team communicates with your solar panel installation company. Talk to the solar installation company about the type of mounting brackets used to ensure that the panels can be reinstalled successfully after your new roof is completed. This minor detail could make all the difference.

How can I prevent these problems before installing solar panels?

The easiest way to get around these kinds of issues is to replace the roof before you install your solar panels. This will ensure that the mounting brackets are compatible with your roofing materials right from the very first day. This option is the most successful for people who need to replace the roof anyway.

Perhaps a professional consultant advised you that the roof must be replaced within five years to avoid significant depreciation to the value of your home, for example. If there’s any way to avoid removing the solar panels by doing the roof replacement first, this will save you the most money and time. This is the preferred option, but it might not be available to every Arizona homeowner.

What are some of the other considerations to keep in mind?

Details can make all the difference in a roof replacement situation. For example, you might discover that your solar panels weren’t installed on the side of the roof facing south, which is the best position for the panels. The roof replacement creates an opportunity to review the placement of the panels to determine if they should face the south or the west side, which is preferred on multi-faceted rooftops.

  • Materials: Solar panels are compatible with a range of materials including shingles, tin, metal and wood.
  • Roof size: The size of the roof must be capable of accommodating 20 solar panels that have a 250 watt capacity. Each panel will typically require around 15 square feet, so you’ll need to calculate based on the size of the roof and the number of panels.
  • Roof age: Talk to the roof inspector to evaluate the age of your roof. Solar panels last for more than two decades, and this might complicate your decision if the roof is older than 50 years.

Final Thoughts

Contacting a roof inspector is a good idea before the replacement takes place. Evaluate the current position of the panels, the mounting brackets and other issues that might be relevant to your particular situation. Good communication is also an investment; it often lowers the cost of the project by preventing mistakes that are expensive to fix later.

Anticipate delays even if your roofers tell you that the work will only last a few days; you might end up going an entire week or longer if something goes wrong, so it’s best to have a backup plan in place for the worst-case scenario. If everything goes smoothly, you can get your solar panels reinstalled within a few days and return back to your normal routine.

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