You’re ecstatic about the prospect of solar panels for your home. You’ve seen the savings, shopped around through local solar companies, and you’ve done your homework. But there’s one lingering question for which you might not yet have an answer – what about the holes drilled into your roof?
It’s a question that will come to you in the middle of the night – “How are those solar installers going to prevent water leakage?” You’ll desperately search for your phone, but quickly realize your friendly solar consultant, much like solar panels, is probably asleep for the night.
This is a perfectly understandable reaction to the realization that a solar installer is actually going to be drilling into your home’s roof. We’ve gotten plenty of similar frantic, last-minute calls, but I’m here to tell you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about with regards to leaks.
How Solar Installers Mount the Panels on Your Roof
It’s true – several dozen holes will be drilled into your roof (unless you have a flat roof in which case ballast mounts are used). A solar installer is going follow the optimized schematics issued by the design team and mount a framework grid of steel and aluminum on which the solar panels for your home will rest.
One misconception is that the panels are simply bolted to the roofing materials when in fact they’re elevated slightly on these metal rails. This allows for better airflow beneath the panels.
The metal rails are the things bolted to your roof. So let’s assume you have a standard asphalt shingle roof. A solar installer is going to make a very small penetration for the bolt and then apply an industrial-grade sealant to prevent any water leakage.
On top of that, they’ll install a metal flashing to further prevent the passage of water through to your rafters. Depending on the pitch of your roof, they might even install a deflecting bracket to prevent the inherently predictable water runoff from the area above the penetration.
When you’re shopping around for reputable solar companies, make sure you ask about the specifics a solar installer is going to do when mounting the panels on your roof. Also, keep in mind that – depending on your roof material – the installation could be more complex and require additional weatherproofing devices. Ceramic tiles, for example, are much more delicate than shingles.
Still have other questions about going solar? Check out some of the other articles in our learning portal and download a free copy of our solar information packet below!