Adding a solar array to your building is eco-friendly and can help lower your electricity bills. The most cost-effective location for this type of system is on the roof, and the industry has adopted best practices that are designed to minimize solar panel roof leaks while reaping the benefit of the sun’s energy. Stainless steel and aluminum flashings and fasteners are designed to withstand inclement weather. However, there may still be issues, especially in the cool, rainy winter months. Here are five reasons your roof may leak.
1. Insufficient Planning
Failing to take the roof age and materials into consideration majorly affect the building roof. These are the key reasons for new solar panels causing roof leaks when it rains. Drilling into the existing roofing materials is required for proper installation of most solar panel systems. While they may be set up on commercial roofs of virtually any kind, some materials don’t work as well as others, and special attention may be needed at the time of installation.
2. Inadequate Load Capacity
Modern rack systems are generally lightweight. However, depending on the number of panels, type of array and the ballast used to secure them, the weight could still be too much for your roof to handle. Some states, counties and municipalities require an engineer evaluation before approving the project to ensure the structure is sound.
3. Sub-standard Installation Methods
Poor installation is another common cause of a solar panel roof leaks. If the solar installers are new, inexperienced or not qualified roofers, they may unknowingly cause damage to the roof or leave it vulnerable to leaks when the bad weather moves in.
4. Incompatible roofing materials
If you do not have the perfect roof for solar panels, inferior or inappropriate installation techniques may be responsible for solar panel roof leaks. Make sure not to use terracotta tiles, slate, clay and timber shingles in the commercial roofing as these are susceptible to damage and leaking after installation, particularly in cold, wet weather. As the area under the solar panels won’t be visible, replacing the roofing materials with composite shingles may prevent future leaks.
5. Old or Worn Roofing Materials
It may be tempting to add a solar panel system to an older roof. If the materials need replacing, the solar array and the conduits will have to be removed. Not only is this expensive, but the panels may also be damaged upon removal, adding to the expense and causing solar panel roof leaks.
Depending on age, type and materials there are several rooftop components including rooftop supports that allow access to the panels and inadequate drainage that can also cause solar panel roof leaks.