1- What material is the top layer of the roof?
Roofs are made of several layers of materials, and the top layer is the easiest to assess and one of the key elements for solar installation. The most common materials are asphalt shingles, cedar shingles, metal, or tile. Anything other than a “pitched” asphalt roof will cause solar installation problems.
2- What is the current roof warranty, how many years are left on the warranty, and what is the age of the roof?
This looks like 3 questions, but they are all related because they all relate to time. It’s important to remember that a solar installation will last 20 to 40 years. If the homeowner has an older roof with a shorter warranty, they will soon face the large expense of pulling the system and replacing the roof with a modern roofing system. Older roofing warranties range between 15 to 30 years. Luckily, over the last decade, warranties have been considered lifetime and are usually set at 50 years. If your homeowner has a 50-year warranty and the roof was installed in the last ten years, they probably will not need a new roof!
3- How many layers of shingles are on the roof?
Even if the homeowner has a 50-year warranty or wants to put the solar on an older roof and take their chances, it is unsafe to put solar on the roof if there are more than 2 layers. In most cases, building codes require completely removing the existing shingles when there is more than one layer. If you install solar on more than 2 layers, your company will be liable once issues occur.4-
4- Are there any water leaks in the existing roof or other damage?
Even if the homeowner has a 50-year warranty or wants to put the solar on an older roof and take their chances, it is unsafe to put solar on the roof if there are more than 2 layers. In most cases, building codes require completely removing the existing shingles when there is more than one layer. If you install solar on more than 2 layers, your company will be liable once issues occur.
Now that you know what to look for, what happens if you need to replace or fix a roof?
At Roofs for Solar, we understand that solar companies are designed to sell solar, not roofing. That’s why we offer contracting and project management services to help residential solar companies manage the roofing component of their installations.
Replacing the roof while completing a solar installation can benefit homeowners and save your company money. Homeowners can include the roofing in the financing, and most, if not all, of the roofing costs, will benefit from the Federal and State Renewable incentive programs. Also, you will avoid being liable for future roof replacements. By addressing roofing issues early in the sales process, you can protect your sale, customer, and company.
We’ve worked with some of the largest companies in solar, including SunPower, and know firsthand the damage that can be done when a solar salesperson fails to consider the impact of a poor roof. We want to protect your company from costly O&M claims, including total roof and system replacement.
If you have any questions or need more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.