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How Are Solar Panels Installed on a Roof. On roof solar panels

How Are Solar Panels Installed on a Roof. On roof solar panels

    Is My Roof Strong Enough for Solar Panels?

    Installing a solar system on your roof is a great way to take advantage of underused space. While roofs provide the obvious benefits of keeping us safe and dry, we can’t use them for much else. With a solar system, however, you can use the space to create cost-free and emissions-free electricity.

    If you’re considering installing a solar system, you may be questioning whether or not your roof can actually support the additional weight. That’s a valid concern, and we’re here to help.

    How Much Do Roof-Mounted Solar Panels Weigh?

    When it comes to the exact weight of a solar panel, it will vary from brand to brand and model to model. While solar panels are not extremely heavy, they’re built solid to withstand all kinds of environmental pressures.

    Most 60-cell PV solar panels are somewhere in the range of 35 to 45 pounds, with the majority settling around the middle of this range at 40 pounds. This weight is spread out over the full surface area of the panel. At roughly 5.5 feet by 3.25 feet, a solar panel ends up being around 2.3 pounds per square feet.

    72-cell panels will weigh a few more pounds, but because the weight is spread out over a larger surface area, the weight-per-square-foot is about the same. The average weight of a 72-cell solar panel is just over 50 pounds. With a rough dimension of 6.6 feet by 3.25 feet, which ends up being 2.4 pounds per square feet.

    Typically, either 60-cell or 72-cell solar panels are used for residential solar installations, but only 72-cell panels will be used on commercial installations.

    At Paradise Energy, we offer our customers three brands of solar panels we’ve found to be the best combination of performance, quality, manufacturer warranties, and cost. These panel manufacturers are AXITEC Solar, Hanwha Q CELLS, and LG Solar. Here’s a quick look at how much these manufacturers’ 60-cell and 72-cell solar panels weigh:

    Solar Panel Brand Size Total Weight of Panel Weight per Sq. Ft.
    AXITEC Solar 60-Cell 40.8 pounds 2.28 pounds
    AXITEC Solar 72-Cell 51.8 pounds 2.39 pounds
    Q-Cells 60-Cell 43.9 pounds 2.27 pounds
    Q-Cells 72-Cell 51.8 pounds 2.39 pounds
    LG Solar 60-Cell 38.6 pounds 2.08 pounds
    LG Solar 72-Cell 44.8 pounds 2.01 pounds

    LG Solar offers the lightest options and they are among the industry leaders in efficiency and quality. However, they will be one of the more expensive options.

    In addition to the solar panels themselves, there will also be mounting equipment installed on your roof to ensure the panels stay in place. This racking adds a small amount of weight to the solar system.

    Can Your Roof Support the Added Weight of Solar Panels?

    In the vast majority of solar installations, let’s say 95%, the existing roof can adequately handle the additional weight of the roof-mounted solar system.

    However, we need to be sure your roof falls within that 95%. To do this, a third-party architect or structural engineer will evaluate your building and the solar system that’s been designed for your property. If they find that the roof can adequately support the weight of the panels, they’ll provide a certified letter stating their approval.

    If they find that the roof cannot support the added weight, they’ll recommend what changes need to be made in order to safely install the panels. These could include things like repairing or replacing the roof or adding additional support to the rafters or beams

    You and your solar installer will review these changes to see if they fit your goals for the project. If they do, the changes will be made and the revamped structure will be reevaluated. If the structural engineer deems the structure safe, they’ll give their letter of approval and the solar installation can start.

    How Will the Weight of Snow on Your Panels Impact Your Roof?

    The next question for those of us that live in areas with heavy snow storms is what about the added weight of snow? You can rest assured the structural engineers will take into consideration the average snowfall amounts for your area when they evaluate your structure and the proposed solar system.

    Your solar panels and roof will not be affected by snowfall except for rare extreme cases. Solar panels are assigned a pressure rating that measures the amount of pressure a panel can handle before the added weight will hurt the panels. This rating is 5,000 or more Pascals (Pa) for most panels, which allows for the accumulation of two to four feet of snow.

    Pro tip: We do not recommend cleaning snow off your panels. Here’s how to take care of snow on your panels.

    What Will the Panels Do to Your Roof?

    As long as a structural engineer signs off on your solar system, you can trust that the panels overhead are safely mounted to the roof and will not have adverse effects on your roof or building.

    Your roof should not leak, assuming the solar panels are installed according to industry-standards. Solar panels can be installed on all types of roofs. Depending on your roofing type, penetrations may or may not be necessary. If roof penetrations are required, extra care will be taken to prevent any leaks.

    For asphalt shingles, a piece of flashing is installed beneath the shingle so the lag bolt can be set into the rafter with no potential for leaking.

    For corrugated steel roofs, a specifically designed bracket with the same galvanized roofing screws used by roofers in the installation of the roof is used to mount the panels.

    For standing seam roofs, no roof penetrations are required. Instead, the panels will be held in place with a clamp that attaches right to the roof’s seam.

    For flat roofs, you can opt for a ballast roof mount, which uses the weight of cinder blocks to hold the panels in place. This method does not require roof penetration either.

    How Long Will My Roof Last with Solar?

    When it comes to the longevity of your roof below a solar system, solar panels should not have an adverse effect. They may actually have a positive effect. If you have a warranty on your roof, your solar installer should double-check with your roof contractor and/or manufacturer to ensure the solar attachments won’t void your warranty.

    The solar panels will be installed a few inches above your roof and can act as shields for the roof, bearing the brunt of the elements, from rain to hail to snow. This may help extend the lifespan of the roof.

    Solar panels are meant to weather the elements, and manufacturers back this claim up with generous warranties. All solar panels should be guaranteed against specific weather occurrences, like hail up to a certain size and winds up to a certain speed.

    However, solar panels aren’t indestructible. Superstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes can produce extreme weather that falls outside of the manufacturer’s warranty. In this case, your insurance should cover damage to the solar system.

    Are Solar Panels Safe on My Roof?

    Solar panels can be safely and securely installed on the vast majority of roofs without the need for additional support. However, no solar system should be installed without an architect or structural engineer first evaluating the proposed system and the structural integrity of the building.

    Once they have signed off on your installation, you can rest assured that the solar panels won’t interfere with the long-term health of your roof or cause any leaking.

    How Are Solar Panels Installed on a Roof?

    Solar panels are a great way to generate clean, local energy and reduce your electricity bills. But, before you can start reaping the benefits of solar power, you need to get the panels and other equipment all set up. How are solar panels installed on a roof and what to expect from this process?

    The solar system installation may seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and preparation, it can be a straightforward process.

    Whether you are a homeowner looking to make the switch to solar energy or a contractor interested in expanding your services, this guide will give you a clear understanding of the installation process. So, let’s get started and learn all you need to know.

    Good reasons why to install solar panels on a roof

    Mounting solar panels on a roof has several advantages over setting them up on the ground. Here are a few of them to help you decide whether this is an option that would work for your property.

    Space utilization: Roof-mounted solar panels make use of otherwise unused space and do not take any valuable yard space.

    Aesthetics: Rooftop solar systems are less visible and blend in better with the surrounding environment compared to ground-mounted systems.

    Protection: The solar system is better protected from potential damage caused by weather, animals, or people.

    Improved energy production: Solar panels receive more direct sunlight. The risk of shading is also smaller.

    Making the decision whether roof mounted panels are the best option, depends on specific characteristics of your house and property. You should also consider the size and orientation of the roof, the available space, local zoning regulations, and your home’s energy needs in relation to the available solar irradiation.

    How are solar panels installed on a roof step by step

    Preparing for the installation of a rooftop solar system requires planning and calculating ahead of time. You have to calculate your annual energy consumption, assess the condition of your roof, and select a suitable solar system. It then continues by hiring a professional installer and reviewing your financing options.

    Here are the key steps when preparing for a solar panel roof installation.

    #1 The initial assessment of your roof

    You need to assess the condition of your roof and make sure it can support the weight of the panels. Check for any signs of damage and verify that the roof is structurally sound.

    Here are the key steps to conducting a roof assessment:

    • Check the age and condition of your roof: Check the age and overall condition of your roof to be certain that it is suitable for a solar panel installation. If your roof is older or in a poor condition, it may need to be repaired or even replaced beforehand.
    • Measure the size and angle of your roof: Measure the size and angle of your roof to determine the optimal placement for the solar panels. This information will define the number of panels your roof could sustain, and will affect the maximum amount of energy you can get from solar.
    • Check for shade: Look for areas of your roof that are shaded by trees, buildings, or other obstructions. Shade can significantly reduce the performance of your solar panels, so it is important to identify any potential spots with shade and make adjustments if necessary.
    • Evaluate the structural integrity of your roof: You may need a professional roofing contractor for this step. Your roof needs to support the additional weight of the panels. A professional contractor should assess the strength of the roof and determine if any additional support is needed.
    • Consult with a solar installer: Now is time to call a professional solar installer to discuss the specifics. In many cases, solar installation companies offer a detailed assessment of the roof as a part of their work.

    Based on the information you gathered during the inspection, you should select the solar equipment. Solar panels come in various sizes, efficiencies and capacities. Good quality solar panels are more likely to match your expectations and protect your roof than lower grade ones.

    solar, panels, installed, roof

    Once the initial assessment is over, it is time to FOCUS on what happens next, and that is shortly before the team comes to mount your solar panels.

    #2 What should you do prior to the scheduled installation time?

    Before the installation of solar panels on your roof takes place, there are a few things you should do to help. These are:

    • Clear the work area: Make sure the area around your roof is clear of any obstacles that might hinder the work. Remove furniture from your balcony, potted plants, or other items from the area where they could stay in the way.
    • Secure any loose items: Check if any loose items on your roof, such as tiles or shingles, are secure. This will help to reduce the risk of damage during the installation.
    • Disconnect electrical devices: If you have any electrical devices, for example air conditioner, that are connected to the roof, you should disconnect them before the team arrives. This will help to reduce the risk of electrical shock.
    • Review the installation plan: Review the installation plan provided by the solar contractor one more time. Be prepared. Make sure you understand the process and any potential impacts on your property.
    • Communicate with neighbors: If you live in a shared building or your roof is visible from neighboring properties, you should communicate with your neighbors about the upcoming installation to avoid any misunderstandings or future disputes.

    By taking these steps before the work begins, you will prevent any unexpected events that would make the installation more difficult.

    Now comes the second stage, the moment when the installation team arrives and proceeds with mounting the solar equipment.

    #3 The installation process of the solar panels and other equipment

    With the arrival of the installation team, the process of mounting solar panels is underway. The following steps typically occur:

    Introduction and safety briefing: The installation team will introduce themselves and conduct a safety briefing to explain the risks and measures they will take before installing the panels.

    Layout and design: The technicians will lay out the design of the solar system and confirm the placement of the panels on your rooftop. They will take into account any shading issues, structural considerations, and other factors that affect the performance of the system.

    Preparing the roof: They will prepare the roof by cleaning and securing any loose tiles or shingles. That is if there are any that have not been secured prior to their arrival.

    Installing mounting hardware: Mounting hardware like brackets and rails is used to securely attach the panels to the roof. This hardware is typically installed using roof-friendly materials, such as silicone sealants or stainless-steel fasteners.

    Mounting the panels: The process of the actual installation of the solar panels is the next step. At this moment, each panel gets attached to the supports. The technicians also connect the wiring and install an inverter. Solar panels will be adjusted to optimize their exposure to the sun.

    Connecting the panels to the electrical system: The panels must be connected to the electrical system in order to generate electricity. This is being done with electrical wires that connect the panels to an inverter and then to the electrical panel.

    Testing and commissioning: Once the panels are installed, the installation team will test how the system works. They will also commission the system and finalize any necessary connections.

    Monitoring performance: At this stage, it is important to monitor the performance of the solar system to be sure that everything runs smoothly. Performance monitoring systems serve this purpose. They track the amount of electricity generated as well as any issues that arise in the future.

    Cleaning up and final inspection: The work crew will clean up the work area and conduct a final inspection to review their work.

    As you can see, this is a fairly complex process, which is a reason why it is recommended to work with a qualified contractor who has experience with this type of installation. In addition, local building codes and regulations must be followed, and any necessary permits should be obtained prior starting the installation.

    Mounting solar panels on a roof without drilling

    It is possible to attach solar panels without drilling holes into your roof by using adhesive or clamp-based mounting systems. These systems use specially designed brackets and clamps that hold the panels on the roof without puncturing it. The work begins by:

    • Choosing the right adhesive or clamp-based mounting system: Look for a mounting system that is specifically designed for your roof type, such as tile, metal, or asphalt shingle.
    • Cleaning the roof: Clean the roof to ensure that the adhesive or clamps have a clean surface to adhere to.
    • Installing the brackets or clamps: Install the brackets or clamps on the roof according to the manufacturer’s instructions and secure them with adhesive, screws, or clamps.
    • Attaching the panels: Once the brackets or clamps are in place, attach the panels to the mounting system.
    • Connecting the panels to the electrical system: Connect the panels to the electrical system, including the inverter and electrical panel.

    Some roof types may not be suitable for adhesive or clamp-based mounting systems, and it may be necessary to use drilling to secure the panels. Additionally, building codes and regulations must be checked whether this type of attachment is allowed.

    Are the non-drill mounting systems safe?

    Mounting solar panels on a roof without drilling is possible with certain types of mounting systems, such as those that use adhesive or ballast weights to hold the panels in place. However, these systems may not be suitable for all roofs, and may not be as secure or durable as systems that use drilled-in mounting hardware.

    Adhesive mounting systems are less durable over time and may not be able to withstand strong winds or heavy snow loads. Ballast-weighted systems are a more durable, but they are more difficult to install and require more roof space to accommodate the weights.

    Drilled-in mounting systems are generally considered to be the most secure option. These systems use brackets or clamps that are attached to the roof structure with screws or bolts, providing a stable and secure attachment for the panels.

    How close to the edge of a roof solar panels go?

    The exact distance from the edge of a roof depends on a variety of factors. They consider the weight of the panels, the strength and durability of the roof, the wind load capacity of the roof, and local building codes and regulations.

    In some areas, local building codes may have specific requirements regarding the minimum distance from the edge.

    However, the recommended distance of 2 to 4 feet from the edge of the roof is a commonly used industry standard that has been established.

    This distance provides a margin of safety to help ensure that the panels are stable and secure. It also prevents any damage to the panels or roof over time.

    Installing solar panels on a roof cost estimate

    The cost of installing roof-based solar panels can vary greatly. The final price depends on the size of the solar system, the type of roof, your location, and some other factors. But here is a rough estimate of the costs involved in the process.

    #1 Site assessment

    A site assessment typically costs between 0 to 500 and it starts with a professional installer inspecting your roof and electrical system to determine the feasibility of the installation. How much you will pay depends on the agreement with your contractor and their terms and conditions.

    #2 Equipment and materials

    This includes the cost of the panels, inverter, mounting system, electrical wiring, and other materials that are needed to set everything up. The cost can range from 3,000 to 10,000 or more, depending on the size of the system.

    Labor typically makes up a significant portion of the overall cost. Based on the size and complexity of the installation, labor costs can range from 1,500 to 10,000.

    #4 Permits and inspections

    Building permits and inspections can cost several hundred dollars. The amount varies depending on the location.

    #5 Net Metering and interconnection

    If you plan to connect the solar panels to the electrical grid and use net metering, you may have to pay a fee to the utility company. This fee can range from 100 to 1,000.As you can see, the final costs can vary by a few thousand dollars. For this reason, it is recommended to get quotes from different installers in your area to get your local price range. There may be various incentives and tax credits available that can help reduce the overall cost so you’ll have to check what options are available in your region.

    Problems with solar panels on a roof?

    Installing solar panels on a roof can come with several potential problems that could happen if some part of the process is neglected. These include:

    • Roof damage: If the panels are not installed correctly, they can damage the roof and cause leaks.
    • Incorrect installation: Improper installation of the panels or mounting system can result in electrical problems, reduced efficiency, or even panel failure.
    • Incompatible roof type: Certain roof types, such as flat roofs or roofs with limited space, may not be suitable for solar panel installation.
    • Shading issues: If the roof is shaded by trees or nearby buildings, the panels may not be able to generate as much energy as they would have if they were in direct sunlight.
    • Age of roof: If the roof is old or in poor condition, it may not be able to support the weight of the panels. The roof may need to be replaced before the panels are installed.
    • Weather damage: Solar panels can sustain damage during extreme weather conditions. High winds, hail, or heavy snow could change the output of your solar system.
    • Maintenance and repairs: Solar panels and other components of the system may need to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced eventually. This is a part that adds to the cost of owning and operating the system.

    You should work with a qualified solar installer who has experience in residential solar energy to help to minimize these potential problems. Additionally, a good warranty and insurance coverage can provide protection against damage and other issues that may arise over time.

    The Cost of Solar Panels: Is It Worth It?

    Do the benefits of solar panels outweigh their costs?

    Nathaniel Riley brings 28 years of experience in financial services, including merger-arbitrage trading, hedge funds, and alternative investments.

    ​Somer G. Anderson is CPA, doctor of accounting, and an accounting and finance professor who has been working in the accounting and finance industries for more than 20 years. Her expertise covers a wide range of accounting, corporate finance, taxes, lending, and personal finance areas.

    Skylar Clarine is a fact-checker and expert in personal finance with a range of experience including veterinary technology and film studies.

    What Is Solar Power for the Home?

    Homeowners who install solar power systems can receive numerous benefits: lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints, and potentially higher home values. But these benefits typically come with significant installation and maintenance costs and the magnitude of the gains can vary widely from one house to another.

    This article will help homeowners make the financial calculations required to determine the viability of solar power in their homes.

    Key Takeaways

    • Those seeking to go green may want to consider equipping their home with solar panels.
    • Not only is solar power good for the environment, but you can earn money selling back excess power to the grid.
    • While costs have come down over the past years, installation and maintenance of solar panels can be quite expensive.
    • Solar panels are best suited for homes that receive ample sun exposure throughout the year.
    • Before committing to solar power, be sure to understand both the social and economic factors.

    Understanding Solar Power

    In principle, working out whether it makes financial sense to install solar power for your home is simple. You will need to calculate:

    • The cost of a solar power system
    • How much energy it will produce
    • What you would otherwise pay for the same amount of energy
    • How many years it will take for your upfront investment to pay for itself in saved energy costs
    • Whether the system will pay for itself in five years

    If it does and you have the upfront capital, it’s probably a great idea. If you’ll have to wait longer for savings or take out a loan to afford the system, you’ll need to think the decision through carefully.

    In practice, however, things are not this simple. There is a large variation in each of these factors, and that can make the costs and benefits of installing solar power for two homes—even if they are neighbors—radically different.

    There are some tools that can help, though. Solar Reviews offer a calculator that will quickly provide you with representative costs and savings for a solar power system in every part of the U.S. Calculators like this are a good place to start if you are new to solar energy and want to understand the basic cost model.

    In the rest of this article, we’ll take you through each of the key factors you should consider when calculating the costs and potential savings of solar power for your home.

    solar, panels, installed, roof

    Before getting solar panels, get quotes from several reputable installers to compare.

    The Cost of Solar Power for Homeowners

    First, let’s look at the cost of installing a solar power system for your home. The average, upfront cost of a residential solar power system is between 3,500 and 16,000.

    Why the huge range of costs? Well, a lot of the variation depends on the size of the system you’d like to install and the type of panels you want to use. Whatever system you use, keep in mind that solar power is capital intensive and the main cost of owning a system comes upfront when buying the equipment. The solar module will almost certainly represent the largest single component of the overall expense.

    There are some additional costs, as well. Other equipment necessary for installation includes an inverter (to turn the direct current produced by the panel into the alternating current used by household appliances), metering equipment (if it is necessary to see how much power is produced), and various housing components along with cables and wiring gear. Some homeowners also consider battery storage. Historically, batteries have been prohibitively expensive and unnecessary if the utility pays for excess electricity that is fed into the grid (see below). The installation labor cost must also be factored in.

    In addition to installation costs, there are some further costs associated with operating and maintaining a PV solar array. Aside from cleaning the panels regularly, inverters and batteries (if installed) generally need replacement after several years of use.


    While the above costs are relatively straightforward—often a solar installation company can quote a price for these for a homeowner—determining subsidies available from the government and/or your local utility can prove more of a challenge. Government incentives change often, but historically, the U.S. government has allowed a tax credit of up to 30% of the system’s cost.

    details on incentive programs in the U.S., including programs within each state, can be found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables Efficiency (DSIRE) website. In other countries, such information is often available on government or solar advocacy websites. Homeowners should also check with their local utility company to see whether it offers financial incentives for solar installation and to determine what its policy is for grid interconnection and for selling excess power into the grid.

    97.7 gigawatts

    The U.S. installed 19.2 gigawatts of solar PV capacity in 2020 to reach 97.7 GWdc of total installed capacity, enough to power 17.7 million American homes.

    Calculating Your Energy Production

    The second factor you’ll need to consider in your calculations is the amount of energy your system will produce and when it will do that. This can be a very complicated calculation to make, even for experienced solar engineers. However, let’s run through the basics.

    One of the most important considerations is the solar irradiation levels available in the home’s geographical location; in other words, how sunny it is where you live. When it comes to using solar panels, being closer to the equator is generally better, but other factors must be considered. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) produces maps for the U.S. showing solar irradiation levels and the tools on its website provide detailed solar information for specific locations within the U.S.

    Equally important is your home’s orientation: For rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects obstructing sunlight maximizes the available solar energy. If this is not available, panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house, incurring additional costs for the extra hardware and cables.

    And then you must factor in the size of your system. Solar panel size is quoted in terms of the theoretical electrical output potential in watts. However, the typical output realized for installed PV systems—known as the capacity factor—is between 15% and 30% of the theoretical output. A 3 kilowatt-hour (kWh) household system running at a 15% capacity factor would produce 3 kWh x 15% x 24 hr/day x 365 days/year = 3,942 kWh/year or roughly one-third of the typical electricity consumption of a U.S. household.

    How Much Will You Save?

    Once you know how much a solar power system will cost upfront, and how much energy it will produce, you can (theoretically) predict how much you can save in energy costs per year.

    This is another tricky calculation, however, because a lot depends on how you pay for electricity at the moment. Utilities often charge residential consumers a flat rate for electricity, regardless of the time of consumption. This means that instead of offsetting the expensive cost of peak electricity production, homeowners’ solar power systems merely offset the price they are charged for electricity, which is much closer to the average cost of power production.

    However, many utility companies in the U.S. have introduced pricing schemes that allow homeowners to be charged at different rates throughout the day in an attempt to mirror the actual cost of electricity production at different times: This means higher rates in the afternoon and lower rates at night. A PV solar array may be very beneficial in areas where this sort of time-varying rate is used since the solar power produced would offset the most costly electricity.

    Exactly how beneficial this is for a given homeowner depends on the exact timing and magnitude of the rate changes under such a plan. Similarly, utilities in some locations have pricing schemes that vary over different times of the year due to regular seasonal demand fluctuations. Those with higher rates during the summer make solar power more valuable.

    Some utilities have tiered pricing plans in which the marginal price of electricity changes as consumption rises. Under this type of plan, the benefit from a solar system can depend on the electricity use of the home; in certain areas subject to rates that increase dramatically as consumption increases, large homes (with large energy needs) may benefit most from solar arrays that offset high-cost marginal consumption.

    For some homes, it might even be possible to make money by selling solar power back to the grid. In the U.S., this is done through net metering plans, in which residential consumers use the power that they put into the grid (when the rate of electricity generation from the solar array is greater than the rate of household electricity consumption) to offset the power consumed at other times; the monthly electric bill reflects net energy consumption. The specific net metering regulations and policies vary across regions. Homeowners can refer to the DSIRE database and should also contact their local utilities to find more specific information.

    Calculating Solar Power Costs

    At this point, you will be in a position to make a final calculation, and an assessment of whether solar power makes sense for you.

    The overall cost and benefit of a solar system can theoretically be evaluated using the discounted cash flow (DCF) method. Outflows at the beginning of the project would consist of installation costs (net of subsidies) and inflows would arrive later in the form of offset electricity costs (both directly and through net metering).

    However, rather than using DCF, the viability of solar power is usually evaluated by calculating the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), then comparing it to the cost of electricity charged by the local utility. The LCOE for household solar will typically be calculated as cost/kilowatt-hour (/kWh or ¢/kWh)—the same format commonly used on electricity bills. To approximate the LCOE, one can use the following equation:

    LCOE (/kWh) = Net Present Value (NPV) of the Lifetime Cost of Ownership / Lifetime Energy Output (kWh)

    The useful life of a PV solar module is generally assumed to be 25 to 40 years. The cost of ownership includes the maintenance costs, which must be discounted to find the NPV. The LCOE can then be compared to the cost of electricity from a utility; remember, the relevant price is that which occurs during times at or near peak PV solar production.

    Is Solar Power Worth It?

    Once you’ve worked through all of these calculations, you’ll likely end up with a single number—the number of years it will take for a solar system to pay for itself in savings from your energy bills. If you live in a sunny part of the country and have high utility bills at the moment, you could be looking at a system that will reach this point in five years. Other homeowners may have to wait 10 or 20 years to reach this point.

    In other words, most homeowners will eventually see a benefit from a solar power system; it might just take decades for this to be realized. Whether it is worth installing such a system therefore often comes down to a number of much less technical factors than those we’ve listed above: how long you are going to stay in your home, the subsidies available in your area, and simply whether you want to do your bit for the environment.

    Pros and Cons of Solar Panels for Your Home

    Like most things, solar power has its benefits and drawbacks. At the same time, some economic costs may be defrayed by the social benefits to the environment and lowering your carbon footprint, which may be more important to you than a purely monetary evaluation.

    • Green energy that lowers your carbon footprint
    • Net metering allows you to sell back excess energy produced
    • You may be eligible for certain tax breaks
    • Installation and maintenance costs are still high
    • Solar only works when the sun is out
    • Parts of the system need to be replaced every few years
    • Some tax breaks may have expired or will be expiring

    Can a House Run on Solar Power Alone?

    Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining—when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.

    Do You Really Save Money With Solar Panels?

    Depending on where you live, it is possible that the system can pay itself back and more over time. This is because you won’t be spending as much money buying electricity from your utility. If net metering is in place, you could reduce your bills even further.

    How Much Does a Solar Panel Cost?

    have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from 11,000 to 15,000.

    How Long Will It Take To Recoup the Initial Cost?

    Depending on where you live and the size of your system it can take, on average, anywhere from 10 to 20 years to break even on a solar installation.

    The Bottom Line

    Determining whether to install a PV solar system may seem like a daunting task, but it is important to remember that such a system is a long-term investment. In many locations, solar power is a good choice from a financial perspective.

    Even if the cost of solar power is found to be marginally more expensive than electricity purchased from a utility, homeowners may wish to install solar power to avoid future potential fluctuations in energy costs, or may simply wish to look beyond their personal financial motivations and use solar for green living.

    What is the Roof Solar Panel Installation Process Like?

    Are you interested in having solar panels installed on your home’s roof?

    Using solar energy to power one’s home has only become more popular and affordable in the last several years. homeowners than ever are considering solar power, either as a backup or as their primary source of electricity. It’s a wise choice that can elevate the property value and save you money on your utility bill.

    Installing solar panels on roofs is a long and detailed process, however. From budgeting or getting a solar panels grant to hooking up the panels, it may seem like a daunting prospect. If you aren’t sure what to expect, getting solar panels might feel slightly intimidating.

    Fortunately, upgrading your home to use solar energy doesn’t have to be that complicated.

    When you work with a good solar company, getting solar panels on your roof is actually rather simple. You can sit back and relax while the pros take care of most of the details. Still, if you’re curious about the process that goes into installing solar panels, this article may help answer your questions.

    Keep reading to find out what exactly goes into getting solar panels installed.

    Why Installing Solar Panels on Roofs is Best

    Solar panels have PV cells, or photovoltaic cells, inside them. These cells are what allows a solar panel to do its job, as they capture sunlight and convert its energy into DC voltage. This is the power that gets used as electricity in your home or stored in batteries for later use.

    If you’ve ever seen a solar farm, you know solar panels don’t always have to get installed on rooftops. Large patches of ground with lots of direct sunlight can work nearly as well as rooftops for running solar panels. But rooftops are usually the most practical places for solar panels.

    Your roof probably receives a lot of direct sunlight without anything blocking it unless you live in a heavily wooded area. Just as importantly, roofs are sturdy and far away from the ground, where animals or passers-by might accidentally damage the solar cells. All the incentives that are available can help mitigate solar panel installation costs, but you still don’t want a costly repair job on your hands because your panels were in a vulnerable position.

    How to Install Solar Panels, Step-by-Step

    Solar companies attach panels to the roof using giant bolts that hold them in place. Let’s take an in-depth look at how to install solar panels on a roof.

    Determine Where to Place Solar Mounting Brackets

    The first step a solar company will take in upgrading your home with solar power is conducting a site survey. They will gather measurements from around your house and ensure solar panels are a viable choice for your home. Next, official CAD design will be completed and approved by an engineer.

    Next, the solar panel installers will need to figure out where to place the solar mounting brackets on your roof.

    The solar mounting brackets are mountings that hold the panels in place, and they look like enormous screws. They are very durable because they must be able to withstand upforce—strong gusts of wind that could rip solar panels off a roof.

    Solar mounting brackets must get fastened to the rafters under the roof. Installers will use either a stud finding device or the home’s blueprint to figure out where the rafters are. They must place the brackets at least four feet apart from one another.

    Once installers know where to put the solar mounting brackets, they can fasten them to the roof using screws.

    Thermoseal and Secure the Mounting Brackets

    To secure the solar mounting brackets to the roof, the installers will drill holes carefully into the rafters. Then they will fasten them down with screws, as mentioned earlier.

    Before sealing the screws, they will need to attach the upper and lower aluminum rails that will hold the solar panels to the mounting brackets. They should use an impact driver to fasten the bolts for maximum tightness.

    Next, the screws that hold the brackets to the rafters must be thermo-sealed. This will prevent rain from leaking in through the screw holes in the roof.

    Measure and Set Up Rails

    The next step is to measure the upper and lower rails to make sure they’re an even width apart along the entire roof. To ensure these rails are square, the installers will run a measuring tape from the upper corner of one rail to the lower opposite corner of the other. This will need to get done from both sides.

    If the measuring tape indicates that the two lengths are exactly equal, that means the rails are square and work may continue. If there’s any difference in lengths, the top and bottom rails will need readjustment.

    Once the two rails are perfectly parallel, a third rail will be installed in the middle between them. It should align perfectly with the upper and lower rails.

    Set Up Your Power System and Connect Panels

    This is the step that will bring power to your solar panels. To do it, installers will need to run wires from the solar panels to the power inverter kits, creating conductor systems. There will be one power inverter kit installed underneath each individual panel.

    Next, some 6-gauge copper grounding wire will be installed onto the converters to complete the conductor systems. These wires will need to connect each solar array together.

    solar, panels, installed, roof

    Install Solar Panels

    Last of all, the solar panels themselves are finally ready to be installed on the roof. They will be placed upon the stanchions with retaining clips screwed into the rails to keep them secure. The plug connections between the panels will need to be joined as well.

    Although this is the last step in installing solar panels on one’s roof, it’s just the beginning of the electrical work that will have to get done. The team of installers and electricians will set up an electrical meter to connect your solar panels to. They will also need to connect the wires to an electrical sub-panel.

    Some electrical upgrades may be necessary to finish setting up the new solar panel system. It’s worth noting here that you will want to find a solar company that works with licensed electricians to provide their services. Some solar panel companies subcontract parts of the work to other services, leading to uncertain results.

    Once your installers finish this process, you’ll be able to say goodbye to your electrical bill for good and enjoy natural, renewable energy from now on.

    How to Adjust Panels for Different Roof Types

    The process we described above refers specifically to installing solar panels on a standard shingle roof. For different types of roofs, the solar panel installers will have to take different steps. We’ll discuss what some of those are next.

    Tile Roofs

    In order to attach solar panels to a tile roof, installers will have to remove some of the tiles beforehand. Tile hooks with flashings will get installed on the roof to hold the panels. Afterward, the tiles the installers removed can be replaced around the new mountings.

    For Spanish-style tile roofs, it’s almost certain that some tiles will be broken in the process of solar panel installation. It’s nearly impossible to walk on a Spanish roof without breaking a few tiles, although your installation crew will take care to do as little damage as possible. This can make solar panel installation more costly for Spanish roofs.

    solar, panels, installed, roof

    Metal Roofs

    Standing-seam metal roofs are excellent settings for solar panel installation. Drilling holes into the rafters beneath the roof is completely unnecessary because mounting clamps can be fastened to the standing seam.

    Another advantage of metal roofing for solar panels is that they provide lots of empty space under the array for air to circulate. This results in more efficient performance from the panels.

    Wood Shake Roofs

    Wood shake roofs are stylish and decorative, making them an excellent option for people who want a unique-looking home. Unfortunately, they’re less ideal for installing solar panels because the wood pieces they’re made of are usually brittle. However, with the right precautions, it can still be done.

    Despite wood shake’s brittleness, the good news is that solar panel installation on a wood shake roof is very simple. Solar panel mounts can be secured underneath one layer of the shake roof, and the panels can be easily attached to the mounts from there.

    Get Solar Panels on Your Roof With Skyline Solar Power

    Now you know the steps involved in installing solar panels on roofs like yours.

    As you can see, solar panel companies can customize panels to fit virtually any home, whether you have a shingle or tile roof. Not only that but with current government incentives, it’s never been a better time to start using solar energy. When you work with Skyline Solar Power, you can start benefiting from solar soon while minimizing solar panel costs.

    Get started with our custom quote tool right now to see how easy it can be to get solar panels installed on your roof.

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