Installing Solar Panels: 5 Things to Pay Attention To

Written by  //  May 24, 2013  //  Energy Efficient Home  //  Comments Off on Installing Solar Panels: 5 Things to Pay Attention To

When installing your own solar equipment on your roof, you need to keep a few things in mind. It’s more involved that merely driving screws into the shingles in order to fasten the framework. Although the actual installation may be easy to some, you could inadvertently cause a severe amount of damage to your entire home if you’re not mindful of what you’re doing on the roof.

1. Support – Depending on the age of your home, your roof support beams could be nearly exceeding the amount of weight they are able to sustain. Merely walking along the roof won’t show you where a panel could be installed safely. It’s wiser to go into your attic or crawl space and ensure that the beams holding your roof onto the house can support the installation. If you’ve never inspected your structural integrity before, you could be shocked to find various places where beams have been rotted away.

2. Bolted Down – Simply driving a bolt into your roof doesn’t mean that the solar panel will be secured. If you use too short of bolts, a good storm could tear your panel right off of your roof taking a great deal of the shingles with it. Also bear in mind that any hole you put into your roof for mounting brackets needs to be accompanied by a roof sealant in order to prevent water leakage.

3. Wind – For maximum exposure, you want your solar panels to face South if you are installing them in the Northern hemisphere. However, many locations get a very strong wing that can blow from North to South on a regular basis. For areas near tornado alley, these winds can reach in excess of 75mph. Without your panels properly secured or angled standing up, the wind could pound against the panels eventually ripping them free from your roof.

4. Wiring – The bolts attaching your solar panel to your roof are not the only thing you need to worry about leaking. The actual wiring from these panels needs to find a way into your home. Even if you run these power cables under your easement, there can be a great deal of whether damage that can happen from this access point. Over time, water can cause a variety of detrimental circumstances such as rotting the frame and being responsible for mold growth within the walls. A sealant or filler should be applied after running your power cables into the home.

5. Proper Equipment – In order to save money, some people may be inclined to use fasteners and equipment that are not tailored for solar panel installation. You wouldn’t use drywall screws to build a wooden deck. Although deck screws may be long enough to attach your solar panel’s frame to your roof, they’re fairly thin and may not stand up against any kind of pressure brought from wind or even holding the weight of the panel over extended periods of time.

As with any object you install on your roof, you could damage your home to the point of paying repair crews thousands of dollars. It’s a process that everyone needs to be mindful of and pay close attention to. Without practicing proper measures for various tasks, you could very well wind up spending far more on future repairs and replacements than you would have spent paying a company to install the panels for you.

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @

About the Author

View all posts by

Comments are closed.