What Rooftop Solar Panels May Conceal

It’s fairly easy to cursorily inspect an asphalt tile roof from the ground, if it is not covered with snow and you have 20:20 clear vision. However, this disregards what rooftop solar panels may conceal on closer inspection. We consider some aspects a solar panel salesperson may not know.

Solar Panels Are in The Eye of The Beholder

A solar panel salesperson (and their client) often imagines the finished product when seen from the upper surface. An experienced roofer, on the other hand  wonders what’s going on beneath the shiny exterior. Much of this has to do with the age and condition of the asphalt tiles.

Potential Damage to Aging Shingles

Asphalt shingles age over time due to pounding hail and ultraviolet light pouring down. Over time the sheets dry out, curl on the outer edges, sometimes imperceptibly crack, and even split. This effect is usually more severe on the roof side receiving the most sunshine!

Even the best solar panel installer applies pressure to those shingles as they screw their mounting brackets down. This may even be the ‘last straw’ causing a tile to crack. Unfortunately, the panels cover over these weak points. It’s in the nature of the design!

Rooftop Solar Panels May Conceal Aging

Meanwhile the shingles continue to dry out naturally behind the solar panels. These become warm in daytime speeding the process. Any half-decent shingle expert will tell you aging shingles require annual inspections … but the question is how?

Solar panels are not shingles’ friends at the best of times because the brackets screw down tightly into the timber deck behind. The people who make three-tab shingles simply do not allow for this. Thicker dimensional shingles should endure better.

Does This Mean the End of Solar Panels?

No not at all. Renewable energy, particularly solar power is rapidly joining the Canadian lifestyle! We just need to consider whether an aging shingle roof needs strengthening or replacing first.

We are not solar panel installers. However, we are confident the industry is working hard to develop solutions. The Valiant Exteriors team recommends discussing the issues we mentioned with a preferred installer, and asking them how they resolve these potential problems.

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Solar Panels on Roof (Pujanak BY Public Domain)