You’ve decided that it’s time to install a solar panel for you to benefit as much as colleagues, friends, family and other people do. But where do you really begin with the process before just hopping into every possible solar panel store? Let us assist you...
Your largest home energy expense is heating and cooling. Installing solar panels could reduce your energy costs with added benefits such as lower utility bills, higher home value and you’re creating a more efficient home and a healthier planet.
Even though more homeowners consider installing solar panels, a lot of concerns still exist about whether the roof trusses will accommodate and support a solar panel system. Before you draw up the blueprint do an energy audit first. This will calculate the amount of solar energy you need to produce to break even the amount you use.
It’s important to ensure that your roof trusses are going to be strong enough take the added weight of the solar panel (also known as PV or thermal) system. You must be prepared for another estimated 14kgs to the dead load of the roof and bear in mind that it will be mounted to one side of the roof. This could cause unbalancing if the roof truss structure is unsecured.
But this is only one concern. Kelbrick’s Roof Trusses touches on the main concerns with possible points to look out for before installing a solar panel.
General Concerns about Roof Trusses and Solar Panels
- Was my roof designed to carry the extra weight of solar panel?
This is the most important question you must ask yourself and if in doubt revert it to a Structural Engineer, Roof Inspector or manufacturer. Very important is that when you put on a new roof is to inform the manufacturer of the kind of solar panel system you want to install, for the designer of the roof to make provision therefore.
- Will the solar panels cause my roof to leak?
If your roof is old or in a poor condition, it would be best to consult a licenced roofing inspector to determine if you need to replace the roof before installing a solar panel. You wouldn’t want to remove and reinstall the solar panels if that’s the case. It can be done, but financially not advisable.
- Is my roof strong enough?
First, ensure that your roof has a ‘solar window’ – the ability to absorb sunbeams and is not covered in shade most of the day. If you live in a rented department or a multi-unit building, consider a shared or community solar. As already mentioned most solar panels add an extra 14kgs to your roof. Most modern roofs are designed to carry an extra load of at least 100kgs per square metre.
- Will the solar system damage my roof or cause it to break?
When your roof is assessed and strong enough and the solar panels are installed the solar panels will help protect your roof from wear and damage. Solar panels are durable and sturdy with a 20 to 25-year guarantee. It can withstand hail and extreme weather conditions and help block ultraviolet rays.
- Is my roof large enough for solar panels?
This depends on the size of the array you want to be installed. If you doubt that your roof is large enough, you can always consider other possible locations. Even though the roof is the most common and best location, solar panels could also be installed as shade awnings, ground mounts, poles, a detached garage or the ground
- What type of roof do I need to install a solar panel system
Solar panels can be installed on any type of roof. The type of roof is not as important as the strength of the roof composite and tile. Concrete Tiles, IBR or Corrugated Sheeting roofs are ideal with minimal complexity. It would be best to consult both the solar installation constructor and the licenced roofing inspector at the same time.