Solar panels installation on metal roofs
Installing Solar Panels on Metal Roofing
While many solar panel installers are most familiar with shingle or tile roofing, metal roofs can provide a challenge when installing these cutting-edge energy solutions. If your metal roof has a standing seam roof, things can be a lot more simple. Panel mounts can just clamp right onto the seam with no problems, but it can be challenging if your roof is trapezoidal or corrugated, since the panels will have to be attached directly to the roofing structure. Waterproofing will also be a top concern as well since flashing can’t be slid underneath.
Choosing the Right Mounting System
The main thing to keep in mind when installing solar panels to uneven metal roofing is that there is no single solution to this issue. There are a huge variety of manufacturers out there, all of which offer various solutions. Some companies, for instance, offer mounting brackets which attach to the peaks of your roof’s corrugated ridges. Other solutions attach to the valleys, while still other systems create a raised bracket upon which the solar panel can rest. For trapezoidal metal roofs, there are solutions which attach to your roofing structure in the flat surface between peaks. This particular type of installation makes it much easier to weatherproof it since a standard EPDM washer can create a seal without using extra sealant.
Understanding and Inspecting Your Metal Roofing
After you’ve decided upon a mounting system, it’s time to get up and begin the actual installation. This process requires some structural analysis of your roof before you begin. Make sure you know what type of metal you’re working with and its specific weight capacity. Lighter metals may require reinforcement before you add any additional weight in the form of solar panels and you’re also going to want to keep an eye out for any corroded or damaged areas. Even with this knowledge in mind, it’s important to always take safety precautions when working on a roof, so be sure to use a fall protection anchor which is compatible with your roof type.
Some additional tips to keep in mind during this process include installing rails at a 90-degree angle to the seams. This increases the strength of the installation. Also take into consideration what’s beneath your mounting system. There may be foam insulation, for instance, which could get crushed, so you may want to aim for placing your installation above the roll insulation found under cross beams. Using self-drilling screws is another time-saver, since these typically have a waterproofing gasket on them. You may need professional help in this regard to find the proper screw length. You also want to always consider the lifespan of your roof. If your roof is beginning to show its age, this might not be the best time to install solar panels. Re-roofing your home becomes substantially harder once you’ve installed these panels, so try to get all your repairs out of the way before beginning this project. While solar panels and metal roofing can be a bit challenging, adding both of these high-end products to your home can dramatically improve your quality of life.