Energy efficiency is a growing desire for many – a popular way to achieve efficiency is through a solar energy system, which often comes in the form of panels installed on a roof. An important question to ask; does installing solar panels void a roof warranty?
Does my Solar Panel Installation Comply With The Roofing Manufacturer’s Requirements?
In many cases, when holes are drilled into a roof, it will void the manufacturer’s warranty. However, this isn’t always the case when it comes to the installation of solar panels as it greatly depends on the racking system that’s installed. There are a few different types of racking for solar panels:
A standard rail system is usually installed with asphalt and composite shingles. Holes are drilled into the roof rafters and rails are installed with bolts, then panels are installed on the rails. Flashing and sealants are used underneath the shingles to prevent leaking and water damage.
There are also Rail-less Mount and Shared Rail systems that can also work. The important thing is to make sure that the contractor installing your solar system is using the approved rail system for your manufacturer’s warranty standard.
If you’re getting a solar system installed by a different company, talk to your roofing contractor and ask them what is required to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty. They will probably want to know details about the waterproofing method used with your particular rail system and confirm that the roof can handle the weight added from the solar panels.
When Should you install solar panels?
Timing doesn’t always work out in your favor, but if you have the option, it’s best to install a solar system on a new roof and it’s not recommended to install it on a roof with 10 years or less of its life left. A properly installed solar system utilizes flashing and waterproofing that should last for 25 years. If your roof is old and you would like solar, it’s a good time to get both of them done!
Choose the right solar installer
Ideally, your solar installer will communicate with your roofing contractor to make sure that they follow all the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent voiding the warranty. Find an experienced installer with a good track record. Most damage to a roof or panels can be traced back to poor workmanship. Using incorrect parts, rail systems or sealants could void a warranty, but if your installer gets all of the proper information and follows the requirements of the manufacturer, you should still maintain the roofing product warranty from the manufacturer.