If you’re looking to invest in a new roof, you may be wondering whether to install solar panels at the same time. According to recent predictions, over 1 in 7 homeowners in the US will have solar panels on their roofs by 2030 – an impressive stat driven by the environmental and economic benefits of solar energy. So, what factors should you consider before pairing a new roof with solar panels? We’ve put together a quick guide to installing new roofs and solar panels to ensure you make the right decision based on your circumstances.
What are the benefits of installing solar panels with a new roof?
For many homeowners, installing solar panels at the same time as a new roof can reduce cost, effort, and stress. Here are a few benefits to expect from a combined project:
- Cost savings: Installing solar panels and a new roof at the same time allows you to combine labor, equipment, and installation costs. At the same time, solar energy could reduce your energy bills by lowering your reliance on grid-supplied energy. If you’ve always liked the idea of gaining energy independence by investing in solar panels, it makes sense to take the plunge when it’s time to install a new roof.
- Roof integrity and esthetics: Installing solar panels alongside a new roof allows construction workers to optimize the structure for solar panels. As well as placing the solar array in the perfect spot to capture as much sunlight as possible, installers can maximize the structural and esthetic appeal of the roof. Retrofitting solar panels onto an older roof, on the other hand, may be trickier and prone to issues such as leaks and cracks.
- Warranty alignment: Having both the roof and the solar panels under similar warranty periods ensures all roof components are protected within a given timeframe. If an issue arises with any component, you won’t have to bear the full brunt of repair costs.
- A streamlined permitting process: Obtaining permits for solar and roof installations can be a lengthy and complex process, depending on local regulations. When you install both components at once, you can streamline this process by treating the project as a single, cohesive effort.
- Increased property value: Houses with expertly integrated roofs and solar panels tend to have higher property values and may sell faster than homes with older features. After all, an increasing number of buyers view solar panels as a hugely attractive technology that will help them prepare for an uncertain future and quickly shifting energy market.
- Financial incentives: Many homeowners receive financial incentives, such as feed-in tariffs, tax rebates, and tax credits as rewards for adopting solar energy. While solar panels may incur a high initial cost, they’re likely to pay for themselves in the long run.
What to consider before combining the two projects
Although installing solar panels comes with a host of benefits, it may not suit everyone. If you’re struggling to decide whether solar panels are worth the investment, we encourage you to consider the following questions:
- Do both projects suit my budget?: Solar panels tend to cost several thousands of dollars per home. At the same time, installing a new roof is also likely to take a substantial chunk out of your budget. If you’re struggling to come up with enough money but are determined to install solar panels, you may wish to consider leasing the solar panel system or using a financing option such as a solar loan or power purchase agreement (PPA).
- Roof suitability: You must ensure your chosen roof is capable of supporting solar panels in terms of their weight and orientation. For some homeowners, this consideration forces them to compromise on the style and esthetic of their new roof. If you’re set on a particular kind of roof that doesn’t suit solar panels, you may need to abandon your plans to combine both projects.
- Technology compatibility: Similarly, you must ensure your new roofing materials are compatible with solar technologies.
Potential drawbacks of installing a roof and solar panels separately
While you may be tempted to delay installing solar panels by a few months or years after fitting your new roof, it’s worth considering the potential drawbacks. The following disadvantages could mean you end up regretting your decision not to combine both projects:
- Increased costs: Treating your roof and solar panel installations as separate projects will mean you pay twice for both labor and potential roof modifications.
- Roof damage: Pre-existing roofs tend to be more delicate and less suited to the installation of heavy solar panels. Installing both at the same time will ensure both are installed without issue.
- Mismatched warranties: Booking your roof and solar panel projects at different times will likely result in warranties that cover different periods. If damage occurs outside one of the warranties, you could end up paying significant repair costs.
Questions to ask when deciding whether to combine projects
So, now you know some of the main factors that will affect your decision to combine your roof and solar panel projects, what questions should you ask before moving forward with your plans? Key questions could include:
- Is my roof due for replacement or repairs? – If your roof is already in poor condition, combining both projects could make financial sense. If your existing is relatively new, on the other hand, it may not be cost-effective to replace it immediately. In this case, you should assess the suitability of the roof for solar panels.
- What solar incentives and rebates are available in your area? – If you’re concerned about the cost of purchasing solar panels at the same time as a new roof, it’s worth investigating the availability of incentives that could make simultaneous installation more financially viable.
- Are there any issues regarding shading on the property? – Assess whether there are any buildings, trees, or other obstructions that could cast shadows on your solar panels. In some cases, you may need to consider how the shading will impact the efficiency of solar energy capture.
- What are your personal needs and goals? – If you’re keen to start reducing your carbon footprint, it makes sense to invest in solar as soon as possible. On the other hand, you may wish to postpone either of the installations until you’re in a more financially secure position.
- Will your local climate affect your roofing and solar panels? – If you live in an area with frequent storms and harsh weather conditions, you may need a robust new roof before you’re able to install solar panels.
- What are the local regulations regarding both projects? – You or your contractor must assess whether any restrictions or zoning codes could affect the viability of your projects.
Remember to consult the professionals
If you’re still feeling a little unsure about whether to install solar panels at the same time as a new roof, don’t fret. A skilled contractor will be able to guide you in the right direction by assessing:
- The structural integrity of your roof and its suitability for supporting heavy solar panels.
- Any potential issues or risks that could crop up during the installation process.
- The best placement for your solar panels, in accordance with the shading patterns around your property.
- Any local regulations you’ll need to follow.
- What roofing materials will best accommodate solar panels.
You should remember to look for a reputable contractor who can provide references and has experience installing both roofs and solar panels.
The bottom line: Think carefully about your individual circumstances
Every homeowner has different needs and circumstances. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of installing solar panels at the same time as a new roof. Remember – the benefits of installing solar panels are often felt in the longer term as you start to save money on your energy bills and do your bit for the environment. As the renewables revolution continues to grow, adopting the solar trend early could boost the price of your property and provide you with greater energy security in future.
Book a consultation with Woodiwiss Roofing today!
Are you ready to kickstart a roofing project and install a shiny new set of solar panels? The experts at Woodiwiss Roofing are here to help. Once you’ve researched local solar incentives and conducted your initial research, don’t hesitate to contact our experts for a comprehensive consultation. Our friendly experts will assess the best course of action based on your needs and goals.