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Can You Put Solar Panels on An Older Roof?

We previously mentioned that some houses just aren’t a perfect fit for solar PV arrays. And it’s a shame, because with solar leasing options available, a solar PV array could save you money each month on your electric bills without costing you a penny upfront.

Because of your electric bill savings, you won’t feel the monthly payments, either. Instead of paying your local power company, you’ll just pay your solar leasing company and they’ll take care of it all — including equipment repair and maintenance!

But there’s one thing a solar leasing company can’t do. (Can we say “unfortunately” again?) That’s pay for a new roof. So here’s where you need to do some math to figure out if the time is right for you to invest in solar energy or not.

Consider this: Solar PV arrays can last up to 25 years, while most roofs are designed to last 35 to 40 years.

You can put a solar array on an older roof, but you’ll need to pay for removal and re-installation of your array if your roof needs to be replaced before your solar panels wear out. If you have a 30-year-old roof with some life left in it, most solar installers would recommend waiting until your roof wears out to install your solar PV array, or your solar panels will outlast the roof.

On the other hand, if your roof is about ready to fall down, isn’t that a great time to lower your electric bills by putting a solar PV array on a brand new roof? Roofs aren’t cheap — whether you have to finance the roofing installation or pay for it out of your home emergency fund, it will be nice to know your electric bills will go down with your new solar PV array. And remember, solar leasing allows you to enjoy the cost savings benefits of a solar array with no money down…that’s even more savings and less to worry about.

So here’s the short answer to the question: Can you put a solar array on an older roof?

You certainly can, but it’s not recommended. The time to install an array is when your roof is less than 10 years old, that way your solar panels won’t outlast your roof. If you’re currently in the market for a new roof, consider going solar at the same time, so you can lower your electric bills and protect your new roof.

Post Written by
A full-time freelance writer, Dawn frequently covers energy efficiency, green living, and topics like LED lighting and whole home control systems for a number of blogs and technology trade magazines. Dawn is proud to live in New York as the state vies to beat out New Jersey as the East coast top dog of solar energy and is waiting for the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate legislation to pass before installing solar panels on her Long Island home.

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