Solar Panels and Your Roof: Can They Cause Leaks?

Australian homeowners commonly ask if their rooftop solar panels will cause leaks. The short answer to this is NO. 

Leaks that happen following a rooftop solar installation rarely occur. And if it does happen, it’s easy to spot immediately after the installation process. 

Still, the possibility of roof leaks due to solar panels is here. The common reasons are: 

Incompatible roof with solar panels

When rooftop solar panels are installed, drilling into the rafters is part of the process. Although most solar panels can be installed on any residential roof, some shingle materials are not compatible with solar panels. In this case, it may need additional consideration during the planning and installation process. 

Roofs made from terra-cotta tiles and wood shingles are vulnerable to leaks and damage during rooftop solar panel installation. Therefore, we recommend you replace them with composite shingles instead—or the areas where solar panels will be installed. 

Most solar installers will not install on slate roofs due to the high risk of damage to the slate. If you do have a slate roof, discuss options with your installer about how a solar installation might be possible.

Suppose you don’t have the right type of roof for the solar panels, the reason leaks may occur is due to poor installation strategies. 

Poor installation

Another cause of roof leaks is the poor installation of rooftop solar panels. Since solar energy is booming in Australia, a growing number of contractors are trying to break into the industry. Hence, it’s easy to fall prey to inexperienced sub-contractors. Ensure that your chosen solar installer has CEC Accreditation

Old roof

Your solar retailer will often inspect your roof prior to installation – this is called a site inspection. Where a site inspection is not carried out prior to the installation, the solar installers will assess your roof for any damage. If any damage is found, the installation will not go ahead until the damage is repaired (which may be as simple as replacing a broken tile). 

They also ensure that your roof is structurally sound. In the event that it is not, the install will not proceed until the issues have been rectified. This inspection is conducted to ensure the safety of the installers and so no further damage is incurred by the installation of the panels. Failure to identify a structurally unsound roof may result in the retailer’s/installer’s insurance company not paying out for any future issues as a direct result.

Each solar panel weighs approximately 20kg, though the weight of the panels is dispersed over the length and width of the panel. This means that the weight of the panel will not, in and of itself, cause damage to your roof, thus causing leaks. In addition, the panels are not directly installed on your roof. They are mounted to mounting frames, which further disperse the weight of the panels. 

Any damage to your roof during a solar installation is most likely due to the installer walking on your roof. As such, the importance of selecting a professional solar installer is paramount. Energy Matters has done the hard work for you – we have a network of solar installers ready to provide you up to 3 quotes, completely FREE!

How to prevent water leaks from the roof when installing solar panels

An effective tip to prevent water leaks from your roof when installing solar panels is to do your homework when looking for a solar installer. Ensure they have good reviews and all the proper licensing and certifications. Also, it’s best to work with a solar installer that executes solar mapping and is up-to-date with the latest Clean Energy Regulator (CER) rooftop installation rules.

Be mindful of fly-by-night solar operations, as these are the ones that take shortcuts or fail to implement best practices when installing rooftop solar panels. 

Another thing you can do is to ensure you have any roof repairs done first. Also, if you know that you will need to replace your roof in five years, then it’s best to do it now before you have the solar panels installed. 

We understand that this might be an extra expense, but this will help prevent any problems when the panels are installed. 

Remember, the right size of solar system that is installed properly to the roof will pay for itself through energy savings in a few years’ time. Hence, what you pay upfront will be worth it in the end, thanks to the high ROI of solar panels today.

Energy Matters has over 17 years of experience in the solar industry and has helped over 40,000 Australian households in their journey to energy independence.

Complete our quick Solar Quote Quiz to receive up to 3 FREE solar quotes from trusted local installers – it’ll only take you a few minutes and is completely obligation-free.

Now is the right time to switch to sydney solar energy. We recommend seeking at least 3 solar quotes to ensure that you are getting the best deal and selecting the right solar installer in sydney whom you can trust. With this, you can guarantee a solar system in sydney that meets your energy needs.

Get a quick solar quote, or contact us today toll free on 1800 EMATTERS or email our friendly team for expert, obligation-free advice!

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