Q. On our house we have a large southern facing roof and we are considering adding solar panels. Our roof is about 10 years old and appears to be in good shape. Will the solar panels damage the roof during their installation and when it’s time to replace the roofing shingles, how hard is it to remove and re-install the solar panels? — Alex of Steuben county
A. There are several types of solar systems for residential applications.
Hydronic panels are used to produce domestic hot water and involve generally only a couple of solar panels. These have plumbing piping connected to circulate a fluid to transfer the heat to your domestic hot water.
If the panels are designed to heat your home, the requirement would be several more panels and the fluid would circulate through a heat exchanger to your heating system.
If the solar panels are photovoltaic, meaning they generate electricity, they would be connected by wiring to each other then into the home.
All solar panels are connected to the roof by some sort of standoff brackets. Sometimes the angle of the solar panels needs to be increased to maximize the amount of sunlight they collect during peak operating season.
The type of solar system you install will affect how difficult it will be to remove the panels to replace the roofing. If you are close on the life of the roof probably before you install the solar it would be best to replace the roof.
Adding solar panels won’t necessarily damage your roof and some say it will help prolong the life of the roof.
Adding solar panels will affect the roof by installing mounting brackets, so how they are installed and sealed is critical to the long-term performance of your roof.
If you are installing panels on a slate, tile or metal roof, special consideration as to how they are mounted is critical.
If your roof does need to be replaced to install solar panels, the cost of the roof can be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit.