Installing solar panels on a flat roof is a smart and efficient way for businesses and homes to utilize solar energy. However, the installation process for flat roofs requires some special considerations that differ from traditional roofs. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of a flat roof solar system and how it can be more efficient compared to a traditional solar panel installation.
Is It Possible to Install Solar on a Flat Roofing?
A solar installation can typically be one of two types: a utility-sized solar photovoltaic system or a roof solar panel system. Flat roofs are often overlooked because solar panels can be used for any property type. Flat roof solar panels are more flexible than those installed on sloped rooftops, which makes it easier to maximize the potential of your solar panels.
When installing solar panels on sloped roofs or ground-mounting them, there are different design considerations. Flat roof installations are no exception. If you are not in an area that has flat roofs, it is possible to find installers who will not install solar panels on them. Because they use a limited range of equipment and standardize their system designs, large national solar leasing agencies will not install solar on flat rooftops.
This issue can be easily resolved by asking for multiple opinions. You should compare quotes from several installers to find one who has extensive experience in designing and installing solar panels for flat roofs.
Installing Solar on a Flat Roof Is Not Easy
Whether you have an asphalt roof, a metal roofing, or a flat roof, you can install a solar system. However, it is not uncommon to encounter problems when installing a solar system. There are several common issues that can arise when installing solar panels on a flat roof.
- Solar panels installed flat against a flat roof will get dirtier as they do not fit at an angle. This can reduce production, so you may need to spend more time cleaning them.
- The sun moves eastwards across the southern sky in the U.S. and the northern hemisphere throughout the day. Southern-facing panels will produce the most energy. If you place them against a flat roof, you may lose significant output.
- Manufacturers often include clauses that will void your warranty if panels are placed flat against a flat roof. This increases the risk of water damage as water can pool on the top of the panel. This can be easily corrected by mounting solar panels on a flat roof at an angle to allow rain or other liquids to flow off.
- Flat roofs are not common for some installers, as they can save money by standardizing their system designs. If you have a flat roof, make sure you indicate this when looking at quotes from installers.
You should be able to avoid these problems if you mount solar panels on your roof at an angle and search for companies that can install solar panels.
Is It More Expensive to Put Solar Panels on a Flat Roof Than Installing Them on a House?
The labor and installation costs of a solar PV system typically account for about 10% of the total cost. This is partly due to the difficulty of climbing up steep roofs to attach solar panels and mounts. Installing a solar panel system on a flat roof is much easier than it sounds. Workers can easily move around on the roof, and most flat roofing materials can withstand wear during installation. In general, flat roof solar panels cost less than a standard sloped roof installation.
Flat roof solar panels can be installed by your solar contractor without the need for roof penetrations. A “penetration mounting” is a method of fixing the racking to the roof that holds the panels to the rooftop. This involves drilling multiple holes. Flat roofs often use a weighted mounting method (also known as a “ballast” system), which uses gravity to rest on top of your roof without drilling holes.
To maximize the electricity produced by solar panels on flat roofs, you may need to use specialized equipment. Your solar installer may use angled mounts to tilt your panels so they are exposed to the sun as much as possible. However, flat roof solar panels can be more expensive because of this.
Is It Still Possible to Use Solar Panels on a Flat Roof?
When designing solar systems for standard pitched roofs, solar installers must consider the roof angle and orientation. Solar panels should face south at an angle equal to their latitude to maximize energy production. If your roof faces east or west, your system will produce less electricity. Some roofs with slopes can also produce less electricity than others. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that solar is not worth it. These factors may reduce your total electricity production over 20 years.
Flat roofs allow for greater flexibility in solar panel design. Flat roofs can be orientsced to the south, and solar panels mounted at the right angle can maximize solar energy generation. Also, flat roof solar panels can provide better performance than those installed on sloped roofs.
Is It Safe for Solar to Be Installed on a Flat Roof?
Installing solar panels on a flat roof can make it safer, but it’s still recommended to have your solar system installed professionally instead of attempting to do it yourself.
Installing solar panels flat on your roof can increase the likelihood of water pooling and dirt accumulation. While dirt accumulation may require more maintenance than tilted panels, it’s not as serious as the risk of water pooling, which can damage your roof’s integrity. Rainwater can collect on top and around flat solar panel roofs, causing damage. This problem can be avoided by mounting your panels at an angle to your flat roof.
FAQs About Solar for Flat Roofing
Is it possible to still receive the solar tax credit for solar installations on my flat roof?
No matter if you are installing solar on a flat or sloped roof, solar incentives should still be available.
Do I require a particular type of solar rack system to install solar cells on my flat roof?
To ensure that your solar panels produce as much electricity as possible, you will most likely need to add racking.
Is a solar panel installation more difficult on a flat roof?
Not necessarily! There are some things to consider when installing a solar power plant on your flat roof.
Is it possible to combine battery storage and my flat roof solar panel?
You can put battery storage on a flat roof solar panel. Talk to your solar installer to discuss your energy storage requirements and determine the best type of solar-plus-storage system for you.
Where can I buy solar shingles for my flat roof?
Although you may be able to install solar shingles on a flat roof, they won’t work well if you don’t have the ability to mount them at an angle. Traditional mounted solar panels will produce the most energy.
Does my flat roof solar system produce more energy than a regular system?
Flat roof solar systems should produce as much energy as traditional roofs with a tilt angle. Flat roofs offer greater flexibility in system design and can be installed at the optimal angle to maximize solar output, possibly making them more efficient.
Choose a Company That Can Install Solar Panels on Flat Roofs
Local solar installers who have experience working with flat roofs are more likely to be available in areas where many such roofs exist. To get the best possible quotes, it is a good idea to request multiple quotes from different installers.
You can sign up and enter your property address, which will allow installers to see an overhead satellite image of your flat roof. Once you have signed up, you can indicate your preference for a flat roof installation to ensure that you receive quotes from qualified companies.
Get in Touch With Professional Solar Installers Today
If you’re ready to take the next step towards a sustainable future with solar energy, ESD Solar is here to help. Our team of experienced professionals can guide you through the process of designing and installing a solar system that meets your needs and fits your budget. We use only the highest quality equipment and ensure that every installation is done to the highest standards.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make the switch to solar.