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Will Commercial Rooftop Solar Installations Prolong the Life of Your Roof?

By February 14, 2023Blog, News
Aerial view of solar arrays on the roofs of buildings in a school campus surrounded by green landscaping and neighborhoods.

Commercial solar systems harvest energy from the sun and produce electricity, which is super efficient and helps companies to save money on utility bills.

But do commercial rooftop solar installations damage the roof or prolong its life? Let’s find out.

Do Solar Panel Systems Damage Your Roof While Installation?

Solar company engineer in a yellow hardhat testing a commercial solar panel on the roof of a commercial building.

Well, as long as your solar panel systems are professionally installed, they will not damage the infrastructure and exterior of your roof. If you have hired skilled and qualified experts and your roof is well-maintained, and in good condition, there will be no risk of the impacting roof.

To install solar panels, experts will drill holes in your roof to anchor and mount the panels accurately. These holes are lag bolts, which help keep solar panels in place and are strong enough to withstand the environmental elements for a great time. While making holes in the outer layer of your roof might not look like a great idea, this is an important process to keep your system intact to the roof to prevent damaging solar panels as well as the roof.

After installing solar panels, installers will cover the lag bolts with flashing to prevent structural damage on the roof. Flashing is a thin roll of plastic or moisture-resistant metal that seals off the wind, moisture, and other outer elements and completely closes the hole. It will also help prevent water from seeping into your roof.

Keep in mind that if your roof is old and needs to repair or replacement, you will need to remove solar panels to repair it and then install the system back. Wondering how long your roof can last?

  • Composite shingles: 20 to 50 years
  • Asphalt shingles: 15 to 30 years
  • Wood shingles: 30 to 40 years
  • Modified shingles: 30 years
  • Concrete tiles: 50 years
  • Clay tiles: 50 years
  • Copper roofs: 60-plus years
  • Metal roofs: 50 years

If your roofs have been for more than the times mentioned above, it’s better to get them checked professionally before installing solar panels and systems.

Can Solar Panels Prolong the Life of Roof?

Closeup view of rows of solar panels on a warehouse roof with green hills in the background.

Cooling Effects

Solar panel system installed on the roof usually covers the entire surface. The harsh sun rays fall on solar panels instead of the roof, keeping it cool. Since the solar system completely absorbs sunlight, no rays will fall on the roof.

However, there is enough space between the roof and the panels, which allows airflow to cool the roof underneath the panels. In fact, experts indicate that commercial rooftop solar installations can reduce more than 35% temperature of the inside of the property. Since they act as shade, this system will keep roofs safer from falling debris and limbs.

Poor Weather Conditions

Harsh weather conditions like hail, snow, and excessive rain and wind can affect roof structure over the years. When the solar system is on the roof, they act as a protection layer to block severe weather elements to some extent. This way, you can protect the roof and increase its life expectancy without repairing and replacing it.

No Major Holes

Many commercial property owners are skeptical about the solar system because they think it will need excessive holes that can lead to shingle or leak damage. But solar panels can be installed with a roof clamp system or ballasted racking system that doesn’t require any holes.

You can opt for the type of solar system that requires experts to bolt into roof rafters. Also, if you hire highly professional people, you don’t need to worry about any holes that can damage your roof. These experts have experience and know what practices lead to water leaks into the attic and ensure to avoid them. They assess the roof’s condition before taking any steps, so you don’t need to worry about anything.

Some companies also opt for clamping systems that allow installation without even drilling one hole. This way, the roof warranty will be avoided, and there will be no worries about the leak.

Preparing Your Roof for Solar Installation

Have you decided to get a commercial solar panel system? In that case, hire experts to inspect your roof. A professional can check the condition of your roof. They will look for signs of dry rot, leaks, or weaknesses, and if they find one, you need to repair your roof first.

You can find two types of roofing contractors: roofing companies and independent roofing contractors. While both can offer you quality and promising work, roofing companies are more responsible, reliable, and experienced. They offer you high-standard services to ensure you don’t face any problems in the future.

They are also great for larger jobs like commercial solar panel systems, as they are fully equipped, have resources, and are skilled to complete the task successfully. To hire the best commercial rooftop solar installation expert, you need to verify their license, learn about their experience, and ask for references.

Commercial Rooftop Solar Installations Process

Two solar company workers on the roof of a commercial building working on solar panels.

Commercial rooftop solar installations can cost you hefty money. It can even take months to repair, prepare, and install a solar system. Here are the general steps that your hired expert will take to install your desired solar panel system.

Choosing Solar Equipment

There are two main pieces of equipment that you need to choose from- inverters and panels. Your expert will give you recommendations to help you choose the right option. It’s best to research which type of commercial solar system will work for you.

Most solar installation companies have different solar products to offer, while some outsource the solar products and install them for you. Make sure to confirm whether your selected company produces solar panels or gives the contract to others.

Assessing Roof Condition

When you sign the contract with the company, they will visit your property to assess the structural condition as well as the appearance of your roof. Experts will check whether your roof can hold the system’s weight and check the function of your circuit breaker. If your roof is structurally safe and can tolerate the weight, the professional will move to the next step of installation. But if not, first, they will repair the roof to make it strong enough to handle the solar panel weight.

Complete the Paperwork

You also need to complete the paperwork before starting the actual installation process. Generally, the installation company will deal with all the paperwork for you. But it’s crucial to learn what is being filed, why, and where.

They will also guide you in filling out local building restrictions and permits paperwork. The commercial solar system should meet a specific fire-resistant rating. When the paperwork is completed and approved, the contractor will start the ordering process of the equipment. This might take some while, as the solar system might be customized to install easily on your type of roof.

Leave the Work to the Experts

The solar panel installation process will take a couple of weeks or months, depending on your requirements and needs. First, the experts will prepare your roof for installation and ensure it’s ready for installation.

After that, there will start with installing electrical wiring. This can take a few days. Racking is then installed on the roof to support panels. Lastly, experts will connect your inverters to solar panels.

Testing Process

Commercial solar system owners should know that their system needs to be approved by the local government official before they start using it. Your commercial solar panel company will ensure to get it approved before connecting the system to the grid.

If the inspector finds any electric code violations or faulty wiring, they will not approve it. So, hiring a highly experienced team who can outperform themselves to prevent any inspection issues is important. Also, if you get approved, your local electrical company will send a representative to connect the system to the grid.

The commercial solar company will test the solar system for some days to ensure that it produces electricity and that every part of the system works. In case there is any issue, they will try to fix it. While the entire testing and approving process can take weeks, you need to use your solar system smoothly for years without getting it repaired or replaced.

Get Commercial Solar Panels System by Coldwell Solar

Looking for the best experts in the market for the commercial rooftop solar installation process? Coldwell Solar can help you in this case. We are a highly experienced and skilled team, fully equipped to support and help you. So, contact us if you want to protect your roof through solar panel installation.


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