How a Solar Panel Installation [Doesn’t] Affect Your Roof
Jun. 14, 2017
Posted: Wednesday, 6/14/17 @ 3pm EST
Recently, a soon-to-be wonderful customer, Paula Cantor, emailed me and said:
“Two friends of mine did not go solar (yet) because of damage it would make to the roof. One friend got an estimate, but [the solar installer] said they would have to drill huge holes in the roof of a brand-new dormer. They did not want that. Another kept hearing and reading that solar panels can damage the roof. Could you write a blog about what solar panels do to the roof, how they affect the roof, what kind of guarantees do solar companies give for new rooves, how they are attached to the roof, etc.? That would be very interesting to me and my two friends who would like to get solar, but had second thoughts.
I am getting a new roof and panels with Boston Solar, and if all goes as planned I will recommend your company. I think your blog can be helpful for people wanting it!”
First, thank you, Paula, for doing your research and choosing Boston Solar. We’re looking forward to seeing this install and hearing your feedback!
Now, let’s get to Paula’s email and answer questions about how solar panels [don’t] affect dormers, shingles, or any part of your roof.
How do you secure the solar panels to a roof? And how do you know that my roof won't leak?
Solar panel installations are comprised of various materials. Of course, you have the solar panels themselves, the racking (or mounting system) they are mounted to, the footings that are attached to the roof material and hold the racking and lag bolts to keep the footings secured to your roof. The concern from Paula’s email comes from the lag bolts being bolted onto a roof.
Boston Solar is aware of this concern, but rest assured, once a solar panel installation is complete on a home, the portion of the roof with solar is the most water resistant. The materials used are engineered with water resistance in mind. We are 100% certain there will be no leaks, which is why we offer a 10-year workmanship warrantee, meaning, if for some reason you notice an issue, we will come and fix it, no cost to you.
Let me show you in photos (and words) how we alleviate this concern during our meetings with customers:
As you can see in the installation photo below, the solar panels are flush with the roof, raised about 3-4 inches up from the roof materials. The mounting system that secures the solar panels to your roof can withstand winds more than 120 mph and the solar panels are able to withstand a hit from golf ball sized hail at 50-60 mph. It’s important that they are secured to your roof properly to ensure their durability in these extremes.
(on a side note, the racking systems we deploy in our installations are made of marine grade aluminum, so you’d never ever have to worry about corrosion either!)
The photo below illustrates racking system’s footings. They are woven into the roof material so it will continue to shed water, just like it does now.
And the big concern – the lag bolts being secured to your roof and leaks, right? As you can see in the next photo, the solar panels are secured to your roof into a rafter on the inside of your home with a 4-inch lag bolt. We flash under the shingles and use marine grade caulking to ensure a proper seal. In fact, when you look in your attic after the install, you won’t be able to tell you had solar on the outside – it will look just like it did before solar was installed. You won’t see a bunch of lag bolts drilled into your roof because they’re secured into the rafters. If there was a way for water to get in your house, when would you find out? The first time it rained, right? Well, we guarantee our workmanship for 10 years – so if it did leak, we’d be out there to fix it right away, without a charge to you.
And just to let you know, the solar industry standard for workmanship guarantee is 5 years, but we are so confident that no leaks will occur, that we made our standard 10 years.
What about my roof warranty?
Boston Solar will work with you, your roof installer and/or roof manufacturer to ensure that the solar panels do not void your roof warranty. As a solar customer myself, and someone who installed solar on a brand-new roof/home, I can tell you that I don’t have a single worry. It’s also great to know that my roof is still warrantied with a solar panel installation AND workmanship is guaranteed for 10 years.
If you still have questions about roof penetration and solar or if you’d like to get a free estimate on a solar panel installation, fill out the form on this page. You’ll meet with one of our solar consultants and they will ease your mind even more about roof damage. Have more questions? Please do not hesitate to email or call me anytime!
Director of Marketing at Boston Solar