Solar Charged

The Popularity and Pitfalls of Solar Panels

Angie Lewis, Writer
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With the continuing rise of energy costs, and more environmentally conscious families, many homeowners are turning to solar panels to lower their electricity bills.

Solar panels can provide enough natural energy to power an entire household with net zero energy consumption, earn homeowners tax credits and rebates, provide immediate savings, and help the environment and, ultimately, humankind.

In a previous article, we shared some important factors contractors should consider when installing solar panels on asphalt shingles — the most important being to always reference the roofing manufacture’s guidelines to avoid voiding a homeowner’s warranty.

Solar Panel Installations on Asphalt Roofs: A Contractor’s Guide

According to Tim Graboski, owner of Tim Graboski Roofing Inc. in Deerfield Beach, FL, to be properly installed on an asphalt roof, solar panels must be mounted on racks attached to the roof deck. Graboski uses a non-penetration system called SnapNrack, but many mounting systems require roof penetration.

Paul Casseri, product manager for Atlas Roofing, stresses the importance of following panel installation instructions to the letter.

“The shingle itself is warrantied, not the installation,” he says. “Contractors need to be diligent in their installation of solar panels and make sure to follow instructions closely. The roof is a closed system and installing panels will create penetration points that must be sealed properly.”

Casseri says that contractors should always consult local building codes before installing solar panels.

For example, some codes prohibit solar panel installation on any street-facing roof plane to avoid negative effects on the home’s curb appeal. Other codes are very specific on roof deck reinforcements beneath the solar panel site.

The current age of a roof should also be taken into consideration before committing to a solar panel installation contract, Casseri adds. If a roof will need replacing within five years, both roofer and homeowner may want to wait and do both projects at the same time.

Expert Advice and Warranty Woes

For more in-depth information on solar panel installations, read the original article, “Sun Power,” in its entirety.