Your rooftop provides a large area where you can harness the power of the sun using solar panels. Not all roofs are created equal, so it's necessary to work with both a roofer and solar installer to ensure your home is ready to harvest this renewable energy.

Material Concerns

Not all roofing materials are suitable for solar panels. Fortunately, three of the most common types of residential roofs do work well for an installation. These include:

  • Asphalt

  • Wood shake

  • Metal

These materials aren't easily damaged by the solar installers. They also can withstand the installation of the mounting hardware without damage or leaks. Slate and tile roofs are more likely to suffer damage from installation. These materials easily crack under weight if it isn't distributed properly. You will have to work closely with your installation technicians to determine whether roof-mounted panels are a viable option if you have a slate or tile roof.

Roof Condition

Asphalt shingles, the most common type of roof, usually require replacement every 20 to 30 years. Replacing a roof requires the removal and then the remounting of the panels. If your roof still has at least 10 years of life left in it, then it makes sense to add panels to the existing roof. If you will be replacing the roof in the next few years, you will effectively be paying for two solar installations within a short period of time.

For a roof that is more than 10 years old, have a professional inspection done by a roofer to verify that your roof is in good condition. If it needs repaired, make sure all the repairs are completed before the panel installation. It's worth it to schedule a replacement a couple of years early if your roof is reaching the end of its lifespan. Your roofer and solar installer can work together so the panels can go on as the roof is completed.

Space and Orientation

A flat roof is one of the simplest for your installer to work on, but you will need to purchase the racks to orientate the panels toward the sun. Pitched roofs may not require racks as long as the pitch is toward the available sunlight.

If your roof doesn't have adequate roof space for panels in the size you desire, consider adding on space. Building on a patio cover extension to your existing roof will provide more room for solar panels, while also shading your outdoor living areas. Make sure your roofer knows your solar intentions and the estimated weight of the panels, so they can make sure the roof is built to hold the solar system safely.

The best time to get a new roof is right before panel installation. Asphalt roofs and solar panels have a similar lifespan, so you will never need to replace one before it's time to replace the other. This also allows your roofer and solar specialist to work together for agreat canadian roof repair and design for your energy needs.