What You Need To Know Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels

Are you thinking about saving energy by investing in a solar rooftop? It’s cost-efficient and sustainable, but there are some things to know before installing one. Here’s a list of things to consider before getting solar panels for your roof. 

Does Your Roof Require Any Repair?

If your roof has been around for a while, you’ll want to repair or replace it before installing the solar panels. That’s because you may face extra costs if you change or fix your roof after installation. You’ll need to remove the solar panels, address the roof issue, and install them again! 

If you’re unsure of your roof’s condition, contact a reliable roofing contractor to take a look. With their assessment, you should be able to determine the best action for your roof.

How Much Weight Can Your Roof Take?

One of the first things you must check before getting solar panels for your roof is how much weight your roof can handle. Expect to pay heftier fees if your roof can’t take the weight! 

Generally, solar panels weigh around 2 to 4 pounds per square foot, staying within your roof’s acceptable limits. Although that might not sound a lot, this is often in concentrated amounts as contractors aim to reduce the number of roof penetration. And these point loads are crucial. 

So, before investing in solar panels, ensure your solar mounting plan fits your roof first. You can discuss this with a structural engineer for better results. 

What’s Your Roof’s Shape?

Roofs come in various sizes and shapes, so ensure yours has adequate space to accommodate the solar panels. If your roof doesn’t have enough room, you won’t get the ROI you expect. 

Rooftop of a building with three solar panels

What Direction Does Your Roof’s Slopes Face?

Solar panels need particular placements to generate the maximum amount of power. Generally, experts advise the best arrangement for solar panels is south or west. This info is essential to know before the installation begins.

How Will You Connect the Solar Panels to the Grid?

When installing solar panels, you can connect them to the grid or have them off-grid, storing the energy in batteries. Most houses have solar systems connected to the grid using the Net Metering system. It’s an incentive to give you credit on your bill for the solar array’s excess power.

Meanwhile, if you’re using an off-grid system, it won’t be connected to the utility or city electric bill. Instead, you’ll need extensive storage capacity to save solar energy.

Where Will the Excess Water Go on Your Roof?

Water will run down your roof whenever it rains, often going to the gutters and out of your house. But installing solar panels does well in preventing water from draining and flowing. The wirings and cables can block the channels or move the water in different directions, which may cause leaks and other issues. 

You’ll need to remove the solar panels on your roof before you can address those issues. So, to prevent such problems, ensure you inform your contractors of any concerns you may have regarding the drainage. They’ll be able to create an efficient plan that won’t hinder the water runoff. 

Close-up image of solar panels

Should You Consider Nature’s Never-Ending Surprises?

A part of maintaining a solar rooftop is dealing with the harsh outdoor elements. These include severe weather conditions such as hurricanes, hails, and storms. There’s a chance your solar power equipment can get damaged during these times. Although insurance can cover these damages, it’s best to consider nature’s never-ending surprises. 

Have You Shopped Around?

Before signing a contract with installers, ensure you’ve done your research. Choosing the first contractor might seem convenient and money-saving, but it’ll cost you more bills in the long run. So, if you’re keen on installing solar panels on your rooftop, shop around and get quotes from contractors. Aside from that, research these companies and ensure they’re reputable and have decent customer feedback. 

After speaking with some contractors, you’ll be happy you did! This way, you can compare different quotes, reviews, and other info—helping you make better and more informed decisions.

What to Consider When Signing a Contract?

Once you’re ready to form a contract with the solar panel installers, you need to keep an eye out for a few things, such as:

    • Financing, ownership, and performance expectations
    • Entities that may collect data on electricity production and usage
    • Businesses with access to electricity production and usage data

If none of these are apparent in the contract, ask the contractor for some clarifications. Remember, never sign anything you’re not happy with.

A woman wearing work vest and behind her are big solar panels

Do You Trust Your Contractor?

Installing a solar rooftop is a home and electrical improvement project. That’s why when you begin searching for a contractor, you must ensure they have the proper credentials and experience. For instance, you may ask them if they have legitimate accreditation from the NABCEP. 

Aside from that, picking a contractor you feel will be around for a while is also crucial. While there’s minimal maintenance required, if something malfunctions, you’d naturally want the same contractor to be available to repair it under warranty.

Have You Chosen the Least Expensive Option?

As tempting as lower prices are, cheap solar panels rarely equate to better return in investments. While technology has become inexpensive over the past years, investing in cheaper brands or models will cost you more in the long run. After all, they usually use low-end materials in making cheap solar panels.

Investing in low-quality solar panels is not a good idea because they have low ROI and can even affect your savings. Or worse, these low-quality solar panels may damage your home or hurt people! What you don’t want is to set ablaze your house. 

Remember to invest time and money into the right solar panels to get the best value for money. They’re guaranteed to last longer and give you a higher ROI.

Brown house rooftop with multiple solar panels

What About Warranties?

You should ensure your solar panels and other equipment are safe by securing a warranty. Having a guarantee on your solar panels gives you the legal right to demand compensation from the company responsible for any damage. 

A standard industry warranty asserts that after 20 years of use, the panels will still produce at least 80% of their rated power. Check with the company that does your solar roofing to ensure they offer a good warranty and will fix your system for free and without any trouble.

If the manufacturer gets bought or goes out of business, you should find out what will happen to your warranty.  The law requires publicly traded companies in the United States to set aside funds for warranty claims. In comparison, other firms may provide warranty insurance.

Do You Have the Right Insurance?

It is crucial that you think about getting insurance to protect yourself and your property in the event of any damage occurring during the installation process. Many issues might develop during the installation of your solar panels, and you might not even consider them until they happen. In addition, numerous regulations, rebate programs, and legal codes demand proof of insurance before any project can begin. Contacting the appropriate authorities in your state before starting a project is essential since these rules and regulations differ from one jurisdiction to the next.

Did You Take Advantage of Rebates?

The installation of a solar panel system in your home can cost around $10,000 to $30,000. The good news is that many states, cities, and solar panel companies in the US offer rebates when you decide on installing solar panels on your roof. Ask your solar installation contractor if they have rebate options before your project begins.

Overall, the government is trying to pique people’s interest in solar energy investment. Through rebates and tax credits, the Department of Energy offers savings of up to 30%. Your local electricity and utility companies may also offer discounts.

A man setting up the solar panels on the a rooftop

Can You Really DIY?

Installing solar panels is a job for certified professionals. Period. If you haven’t had any training in the installation process, a lot of things could go wrong. These are prime examples:

Wiring Problems: Solar panel installation job requires you to work with electrical equipment. If you set it up wrong, you put yourself and others at risk of hazardous electric shocks. Always have an electrician do any electrical work.

Roof damage: To install solar panels, you have to make holes in the roof. If you don’t seal these holes right, you will cause damage to your roof, which may cause leaks.

Safety Standards and Code Compliance: A licensed specialist must install solar panels to preserve the product’s warranties. These warranties will be voided if you install them yourself. You wouldn’t be eligible for compensation if you damaged the solar panels while installing or if there is a fault with the manufacturing process. In addition, if you are unaware of the building permits and other relevant rules and regulations, it will be difficult for you to comply with them. To avoid the rejection of your solar panel installation, you must carefully complete all the necessary paperwork.

Don’t Forget About Maintenance

Regular maintenance checks will ensure that your solar panels will last as long as possible and that your roof stays in good shape. It’s essential to ask your contractor about these maintenance steps before the installation begins. If you cannot keep up with the necessary maintenance, your equipment may not last as long as you’d expect.


Knowing this information beforehand can save you time, money, and effort. As a result, you’ll be able to choose the right solar panels for your rooftop, saving energy—and the environment. 

Rooftop solar panels are becoming increasingly affordable, and installing them in your home is a wise investment. Besides the obvious financial benefits, you’ll also see a reduction in your carbon impact and an improvement in your home’s resale price.

You’ve done your homework and are ready to install solar panels on your roof. Contact a reputable solar panel installation company in New York for more information about solar panel installation and upkeep.