Installing Solar Panels On A Flat Roof: 4 Things To Know

May 18, 2023

With the rising cost of traditional electricity and homeowners becoming more conscious of their environmental impact, solar panels continue to grow in popularity. After all, why would you pay for electricity when you can use free, renewable energy from the sun?

It’s no wonder why more rooftops are flaunting shiny panels. However, solar panel installation requires thorough planning and consideration, particularly if you have a flat roof. This article will share a few things to consider and helpful insights when installing solar panels on a flat-roofed home.

1. Installing Panels On A Flat Roof Is Possible

Homeowners often wonder if installing panels on their flat roofs is possible. Generally, installing solar panels on a flat roof may require extra consideration, but it’s not impossible. As the solar industry continues to evolve, several installation techniques are available to accommodate all kinds of roofs.

Meanwhile, it’s essential to find reputable solar installers, like Energy Solutions LLC or similar ones, with enough experience installing panels on flat roofs. They can help you get on the right path toward successful solar panel installation and ensure the system is as efficient as those installed on traditional roofs.

2. Types Of Mounting

When installing solar panels on your flat roof, there are several types of installation methods you can choose from. Here are three popular ways of mounting panels onto your flat roof:

  • Attached

An attached mounting structure is necessary if your roof has no parapet walls. Generally, a parapet is a low wall built along the edge of your roof and helps minimize the effects of wind pressure on panels. Without it, an attached panel installation can help prevent wind damage to your panel.

  • Ballasted

This mounting type uses ballasted racks to keep the solar panels in place. With this installation method, there’ll be no anchoring or drilling, ensuring an easy and quick installation process.

  • Concrete Footing

This method uses concrete blocks as footings for the panel racking, supporting their weight. It’s often used for flat roofs with high parapets, sitting directly on the roof without any drilling on the roof surface.

Determining the most suitable way to mount your panels is essential.

3. It Comes With Several Challenges

Regardless of your roof’s orientation, slope design, or material, running into some challenges when installing solar panels is normal. Here are some unique challenges you may face when installing solar panels on your flat roof:

  • Maintenance

Installing solar panels on a flat roof requires more maintenance. They get dirtier over time since they lie flat on the surface. Without an angled installation, dirt accumulates more on the surface instead of sliding off. Since dirt accumulation reduces efficiency, routine cleaning helps to ensure maximum results.

  • Efficiency

Solar panels on a flat roof may have reduced efficiency than those installed on a sloped roof. Most solar panels face southward on a pitched roof to generate more energy through sun exposure.

However, solar panels cannot convert as much energy when laid flat on a roof, as they won’t get as much sunlight. Most solar installers add mounting equipment to install the panels at an angle and get maximum exposure.

  • Water Damage

Unlike sloped roofs that allow rainwater to drain on gutters, flat roofs often collect water in specific areas. As a result, the risk of water damage on your solar panels increases since water can pool on top of the panel and stay there. Fortunately, you can resolve this by mounting panels at an angle or using ballast to add height.

  • Voiding Warranties

Due to the increased risk of damage, most manufacturers often include clauses that void the warranty if solar panels are as-is installed on a flat roof.

Most challenges have solutions, depending on the setup.

4. Costs

The cost of solar panel installation varies. In most cases, installation on a flat roof may cost the same as a typical pitched roof, regardless of the unique challenges and different hardware used.

Since a contractor works on a flat surface, their job is comparatively more accessible and safer, which helps reduce costs. Meanwhile, the extra hardware and system to secure the panel don’t require additional construction, saving you some cash on labor costs.

Some experts claim that solar panels on flat roofs will cost more, depending on the situation. A few solar installers may charge higher on hardware and extra construction on your flat roof than traditional mounting on a pitched one. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to consult a local solar provider.

Takeaway

Solar energy can reduce electricity bills while helping the environment. However, solar panel installation isn’t as straightforward as you may think, especially if you have a flat roof. This article has provided some insights into ensuring a successful solar panel installation on your flat roof and keeping it as efficient as possible.

Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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