One of the best ways to increase the value of your home is by installing solar panels. Energy prices continue to grow every year, and in many cases, that can make it difficult for homeowners to keep up with their monthly bills. Installing solar panels allows you to save a lot of money over the years while also turning your home into a greener place compared to other homes that do not have solar panels installed.
However, if you have an asphalt shingle roof, it can seem like an impossible challenge that only a few companies are equipped to handle because you do not know how to install solar panels on an asphalt roof. Getting those solar panels installed onto your asphalt roof can give you the ability to save hundreds of dollars every year. Still, it is essential to know that the installation process is slightly different for this type of roof.
This article will cover all the reasons and benefits of installing solar panel arrays on asphalt rooftops. While, in theory, it may sound absurd to place solar panels meant for outside mounted on top of roofing material, you might be surprised to know that tons of benefits come with such a decision. However, before we get into those, let us discuss the benefits of installing solar panels on an asphalt roof.
Solar Panels Installation on an Asphalt Roof: 3 Primary Benefits
The benefits of installing solar panels on an asphalt roof may seem limited, but they make a lot of sense when you know why and how to install them.
1. Heat Reflectance and Long-Lasting Durability
Asphalt is known for its longevity, strength, and heat resistance. Since the roof has already been exposed to the elements for so long, the solar panels can be installed without worrying about durability. The solar panels will last longer than the asphalt because the asphalt protects them from harmful UV rays and other things that could damage them.
2. High Rooftop Accessibility for the Installing Crews
Because of the flatness of asphalt roofs, it is easier for rooftop crews to work on them. You do not have to worry about potential hazards or other issues when installing solar panels on top of an asphalt roof because there are not any significant obstacles that could potentially cause injury to your workers. Solar panels can also be installed with ease since asphalt roofs are smooth, and you can quickly learn how to install solar panels on an asphalt roof.
3. Aesthetic Appeal of the Solar Panels on Your Home’s Rooftop
Solar panels installed on asphalt roofs will help improve the look of your house. The black frames and glossy surface of the panels add to the house’s beauty while at the same time giving it a modern and contemporary look. This is particularly important if you want to sell your house to a buyer who wants a solar-powered home.
Challenges When Installing Solar Panels on Asphalt Roof
Installing solar panels on an asphalt roof is more challenging than installing them on a roof with a different material. It has to do with the fact that asphalt keeps the heat in. Heat is one of the big problems when trying to put solar panels on asphalt roofs because the heat keeps the boards from performing.
Another problem with mounting solar panels on an asphalt roof is that typically, asphalt roofs are not strong enough to support the weight of the solar panels. This means that you need to add additional support for the solar panels.
The last challenge when installing solar panels on an asphalt roof is the ventilation of your attic space. When you install solar panels, it increases heat in your attic space because they generate heat when producing energy. You need to have good ventilation, so your attic does not get too hot and does not start a fire or damage your roofing materials.
How to Install Solar Panels on Asphalt Roofs: Five-Step Guide
Step # 1
The first thing to do before installing solar panels on an asphalt roof is to make sure that the roof is in good shape. You cannot install solar panels on a damaged roof. If the roof is damaged, you will have to repair and replace the damaged parts before installing the solar panel. It is essential to have your roof inspected by a professional so that they can identify any damage and tell you what needs to be done.
Step # 2
The second step involves marking out the spots where you want to place your solar panels. This will require you to use a tape measure, chalk, and a helper who knows how to read blueprints or has construction experience. Marking out the spots for the solar panels is done by following the measurements on the blueprint you have chosen and marking off on your roof where you will be placing them. Depending on the size of your roof and how many panels you are using, this may take some time, but it is necessary to ensure that everything is placed correctly.
Step # 3
The third step involves mounting the rails on the roof’s designated spots. The rails need to be installed with precision so that they are perfectly level across the roof’s entire surface and run from one end of the house to the other.
Step # 4
The next step is installing your solar panels on asphalt shingles. You can use a drill bit about two inches long for this process. Make sure that you drill straight into the asphalt shingle, not at an angle, or you could damage it. Mark the spot where you want to install each solar panel, and then go through the steps outlined above to install the brackets. Once you have them all installed, slide your panels down into the stands and attach them with a screwdriver.
Step # 5
This last step when installing solar panels on an asphalt roof involves connecting all of your solar panels, so they work as one unit instead of individually. This means that if one meeting goes down, all others will continue producing electricity even though only some may not. To connect your solar panels, you will have to take the positive wire from the first panel and connect it to the positive wire from the second panel. Then take a new negative wire and connect it to the negative wire on the second panel. From there, take another new positive wire and connect it to the original positive wire on the first panel. Repeat this process until all of your meetings are joined together in a series. Make sure that you do not cross any wires, or you could cause a short circuit which would ruin your whole system.
4 Handy Tips When Installing Solar Panels on Asphalt Roof
It is hard not to get excited about installing solar panels on your house when you are eco-friendly. But do not let all that excitement get the best of you—it is essential to follow some basic steps before you even think about going up on your roof and drilling holes in it. There are numerous factors that can prevent a solar panel installation from working correctly, including the angle of the sun at your location, the type of roofing material, and whether or not there is an attic above where the panels will be installed. These tips will help ensure that you do not run into any problems.
- The most important thing when installing solar panels on asphalt roofs is to get approval from your city’s building department. Like any other home improvement, you might need a permit for the solar panel’s installation on an asphalt roof. If it is not a structural change to your home, you will likely be able to get the permit without hiring a professional. You can contact the building department and ask what would be needed for approval and whether or not a professional is required. Once you have permission from the city, you can move on to obtaining permits from your power company if necessary.
- Solar panels work best with direct sunlight and heat from the sun. When installed directly on asphalt shingles, the panels can overheat and damage the shingles. Over time, this will cause the shingles to crack and break apart, leading to water leaks around your home, resulting in thousands of dollars in repairs.
- Asphalt shingle roofs tend to be darker in color than other roofs, so they absorb more heat than tile or slate roofs. When solar panels are installed directly onto an asphalt roof, they absorb the heat from the sun and cause the asphalt to expand. This can lead to warping of your roof and further damage that would require costly repairs and replacement of your roof materials to solve it.
- The best way to avoid any problems when installing solar panels on asphalt roofs is to use a racking system to hold them above your roof surface instead of directly on top of it. This allows you to install and remove the panels without damaging your roof.
4 Things to Avoid if You Do Not Know How to Install Solar Panels on an Asphalt Roof
Some things can be done that make solar panel installation on asphalt roofs more difficult. Here are 4 things that you should avoid when installing solar panels on asphalt roof:
- Do not install on an old asphalt shingle roof. Asphalt shingles are meant to be temporary, and they do not hold up well to the stress of a long-term system being installed over them.
- Do not install on an old asphalt shingle roof. While many of these roofs can be salvaged with new mounting hardware, it is often impossible to guarantee that the top will remain stable long enough for the solar panels’ expected life.
- Do not allow snow and ice to build upon your roof before installation. Heavy snow or ice accumulation could put unnecessary stress on your mounting system or even cause damage to your solar panels if they were already installed.
- Do not attempt to repair your existing roof during solar panel installation on an asphalt roof. Any patching or other repairs you make will likely weaken your existing structure, making it structurally unsound for the weight of solar panels.
2 Types of Solar Panels That Work Best with Asphalt Roofs
If you have an asphalt roof, you will need a solar panel that works with asphalt. There are two main types of solar panels that work with asphalt roofs: monocrystalline and polycrystalline.
Monocrystalline panels are made up of a single crystal of silicon, which is cut very precisely to get the most efficient and highest-quality results. Cutting these crystals can be quite costly, which makes these panels more expensive than others on the market.
Polycrystalline panels are made up of multiple smaller crystals, much like a rock being broken into pieces to make gravel. While not as effective as monocrystalline panels, they are far less expensive. They still produce solar power at a high rate for their cost.
Should You Hire a Professional for Installing Solar Panels on Asphalt Roof?
It is a good idea to hire a professional to install solar panels on asphalt roofs because it is dangerous to install solar panels on asphalt roofs by yourself. First, the edges of the asphalt roof are very sharp and can cause injury when you step on it. Second, if you do not adequately secure the panels to the roof, they will fall off the roof when there is a strong wind. However, installing solar panels on asphalt roofs is not too challenging if you have basic skills. If you know how to use a solar panel installation kit and a ladder, it would be a difficult job for you to learn and experiment with how to install solar panels on asphalt roofs. Moreover, the cost of solar panels can be high, but a professional installation will ensure that you get the most out of your investment while saving you time and money in the long run. An experienced company will cover all aspects of solar panel installation on asphalt roofs, helping homeowners avoid potential issues with electrical code compliance, roof structures, and leaks.
Installing solar panels in your home can make for a more environmentally friendly household, and it is also a financially savvy investment. The panels themselves might be a bit expensive at first, but they provide a lifetime of energy without draining your pocketbook once they are in place. Overall, installing solar panels on your home poses less risk than you might imagine, even with an asphalt roof. As long as you follow the proper guidelines and leave no stones unturned, it is a safe and rewarding venture to undertake. Check out the handy pre-installation checklist we made for you to understand how to install solar panels on asphalt roofs and know absolutely everything you need to make this happen.
The team at Firefly Solar is ready to answer your questions and give you a no-obligation price quote. Feel free to call us at 864-252-7858 or book a consultation online. And we’ll get in touch within 24 hours.