Part Three: Solar Roofing 101- How Is Solar Roofing Installed?

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 by Scott Siegal

So far in this blog series, we’ve talked about the history of solar power and the benefits of having your own solar roof. In this final chapter, we’ll examine the different installation considerations in low-slope and steep-slope solar applications.

While the basic components of a solar roofing system are the same regardless of application, the installation process and the steps leading up to it depend greatly on the type of roofing system you have.

You’ll notice that the considerations outlined below are for solar panel installation. Because they cannot be positioned, solar shingles have even more stringent installation requirements.

Low-Slope Roofs

Low-slope roofs, which have pitches equal to or less than 3:12, are excellent platforms for solar power systems. The primary concern when installing PV systems on these types of roofs is weatherproofing.

  • Flashing. Because PV installations involve new roof penetrations, flashing will play a crucial role. Flashing details and procedures vary according to the type of roof: an asphalt roof uses a different flashing membrane from a single-ply EPDM roof, etc.
  • Wind resistance. Wind resistance is a huge consideration if a rack-mounted solar system is to be installed in the corner zones or at the perimeter of a low-slope roof, where wind loads are highest. Ballast can be used, although that solution isn’t as reliable against uplift as structurally attached equipment.
  • Other considerations: fire resistance, roof warranties and service life, mounting options, drainage and dirt buildup, rooftop foot traffic

Steep-Slope Roofs

Steep-sloped roofs present a bigger challenge to PV system designers and installation contractors. To ensure a code-compliant installation, these factors must be considered:

  • Usable space. How much shade your roof gets has a big effect on the amount of energy your solar roof will be able to generate. Placement will also depend on obstructions like skylights and roof vents. Also, some jurisdictions and fire departments require a setback from your roof eaves and ridge.
  • Array layout. Planning a layout is tricky because not only should it allow for maximum ease of assembly and efficiency in the use of materials, but it also needs to consider the demands of the client, architect, PV system designer, and sales team.
  • Other considerations: wind, snow, and earthquake loads, the array’s dead load, aesthetics, thermal effects, roof material

Because planning and installing a solar roof safely and to code is such a rigorous process, it is a job best left to the professionals. Remember that solar panels and shingles are promising technologies, but the only way to maximize them is to put them in the hands of a licensed, trained, and insured contractor.

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We serve the following areas

MarylandVirginiaDistrict of Columbia Our Locations:

Maggio Roofing
6476 Sligo Mill Road
Takoma Park, MD 20912