Here in Colorado where the sun shines on average over 300 days a year, solar panels are a great idea. They can save us money in the long run and are energy-efficient. But how does installing solar panels affect your roof? And are the benefits really what everyone says they are? Endeavor Exteriors, the best residential roofers in the Denver Metro area, explains the benefits of solar panels and how it relates to your roof in this blog post. If you’re looking for a new roof for your home or office, contact us today for a free roofing estimate!
WHAT ARE SOLAR PANELS?
Simply put, solar panels convert light energy (mostly light from the sun) into electrical energy. Solar panels are also known as photovoltaics which means, “light-electricity.”
HOW DO SOLAR PANELS WORK?
Solar panels began with the discovery that silicon, when exposed to sunlight, generates an electric charge. Solar panels are composed of many individual solar cells. Solar cells are made from silicon, phosphorous, and boron. Solar panels absorb photons from light energy, creating an electrical current. These photons hit the solar panel, disrupting electrons which get pulled into the direct electrical current (DC). An inverter then converts this to alternating current (AC), which is what we use in our homes and businesses.
Most homes have more than enough roof surface area in which to produce enough solar energy to power their homes with any excess going into a generator to store to use on cloudy days or during the night. Sometimes you can sell your excess energy to power companies on the grid, but most people just bank it for future use.
WILL INSTALLING SOLAR PANELS ON MY ROOM DAMAGE MY ROOF?
Many homeowners and business owners worry about installing solar panels on their roof. Plus, with the average age of solar panels being 35 years or more, many homeowners wonder about replacing their roof with solar panels installed. Endeavor Exteriors is here to tell you that there is no cause for worry as long as you have your solar panels installed by a reputable, licensed solar panel installer with experience in installing solar panels. That being said, we’ll review the installation process here to help you understand how solar panels are installed.
HOW ARE SOLAR PANELS INSTALLED ON ROOFS?
Solar panels sit on racks, which will require holes to be drilled into your roof to hold the racks in place. Most of the time lag bolts are used, which are heavy-duty bolts designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. There is no other way to install solar panels unless holes are drilled, which is why having an experienced solar panel expert is recommended. The size and depth of these holes will depend upon your particular roofing material.
Because you have holes in your roof, measures are taken to ensure there is no leakage. Flashing is used. Flashing is found on almost all roofs. Flashing is thin pieces of metal specifically designed to prevent water from penetrating your roof. Odds are you have flashing installed on your roof, and you’ve probably noticed this on other roofs. It’s usually always metal or plastic nailed to your roof and sealed. Sealant is also applied around the lag bolts to further prevent moisture penetration.
Another major concern of homeowners when installing solar panels on their roofs is the weight. Roofs are incredible structures, and modern roofs are built to not only withstand pounding hail and gusting winds, but also to be able to hold an incredible amount of weight. Your residential, commercial, or multifamily roof can well hold up the typical amount of solar panel weight. What about the snow? Since solar panels are almost always installed at an angle, the snow slips right off, not adding to the weight of their structure.
If you are still concerned about solar panels being installed on your roof, you can choose to have solar roof tiles or solar shingles installed on your roof, which are tiles and shingles with solar-power generating capability inbedding in the shingle or tile itself, thereby eliminating the need for any racking. This solution however would require a complete roof replacement for your home or business. Furthermore, the photovoltaic’s capability is not as good as traditional solar panels since solar shingles and tiles are relatively new technology. The cost to replace your roof and the added cost of these solar panels usually are more than most people want to spend.
A ground mount is always an option as well, which is where your solar panels sit on the ground instead of on your roof. One drawback to this is solar panels take up a lot of room so you’d need adequate space. Furthermore, if you have kids and pets, you’d have to ensure the solar panels are not harmed. If you have a flat roof, solar panels merely sit on your roof, their weight being enough.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SOLAR PANELS?
- Enables off-grid living. Off-grid living is living away from the power grid. Solar panels allow you to have your cabin in the middle of the woods away from anyone and still have modern conveniences with the electricity you generate. You won’t have to pay monstrous fees for the power company to string poles and lines to your cabin, and in the long run, you’ll save money since solar panels on average last three decades or more.
- Clean and renewable energy source. Solar panels don’t move and require little maintenance, which only adds to their environmental-friendliness. Once produced, solar panels will last with proper maintenance.
- Eliminates electric bills. Once you pay for the cost of initial set-up and installation, solar panels will begin to start saving your money as all the energy they generate is free. Think of your current electric bill and multiply that out, which could add up to thousands of dollars. You’ll never have to worry about rising electric bills with solar energy.
- Increase the value of your home. Many home buyers love the idea of solar energy (and solar energy already installed is a bonus). The cost savings and the clean energy are huge selling points for your home.
- Incentives for solar power. Many states and the federal government have incentives to install and use solar power, including tax credits.
- Longevity. Solar panels last decades without fail. You’ll always have access to this electricity for many years to come.
- Contribute to energy independence. Think if more people used solar power for their homes. This would drastically reduce our need for foreign oil and our own oil and natural gas resources.
WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF SOLAR ENERGY?
- Upfront costs. Installing solar panels can be expensive, and to have to pay for the cost upfront before you’ll see any of the cost savings from electricity produced.
- Dependent on the weather. If the sun isn’t out, like on cloudy days or at night, you’re not producing energy. Plus, in the winter, the sun is not as strong, so the energy produced is less as well.
- Storing energy is tricky. Your storage cell is only so big, but technology is improving, such as the Tesla Powerwall home solar battery. Luckily, our demand for power tends to mirror the weather (at night, we use less).
- Producing solar panels produces emissions. Nothing is completely “green and clean” when it comes to producing energy.
- Solar panels take up a lot of room. You need a lot of surface area to get the power you need.
- Solar panels don’t move when you do! You install this amazing solar power system on your roof, and then you’re relocated by your company. Technically, you can take your solar power system with you, but you probably wouldn’t want to. However, it does increase the value of your home when you sell it. And you can always install another one, especially now that your learning curse is nixed.
HOW ENDEAVOR EXTERIORS CAN HELP
Endeavor Exteriors in Denver handles all of your home exterior needs. From residential and commercial roofing installation to siding installation, we’re here to help. We offer the best customer service experience for roofing contractor in the Denver area. We utilize technology by giving you a 3D model of your home and allowing you to pick and choose roofing colors and roofing styles all on your App! No more guessing about which color or roofing material will look the best on your home. With a few pictures from you, you’ll be able to visualize your new roof. We’ll give you a free roofing estimate based off the products you choose, and then you contact us if and when you’re ready to move forward. And you get all of this for free!
Endeavor Exteriors invests in technology because we want you to be happy with your new roof. After all, you’ll have to live with it for decades probably (unless you move). You want a home that not only protects you from the elements, but one you’ll be proud to come home to after a long day at work. Endeavor Exteriors makes it our mission to give you that “homey” feeling through our superior customer roofing experience. We offer various roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles or metal roofing to meet your needs. We also offer siding installation and siding restoration, which can boost the value of your home. And if you’re looking for further cost savings, installing energy-efficient windows and doors help to keep the cool air out and the warm air in during the winter and the reverse in the summer. Our process is quick, simple, and transparent. We aim to be reliable, consistent, and committed, bringing you a superior roofing product that will last. Save time. Save money. If you live on the Front Range, contact Endeavor Exteriors today!