One concern amongst homeowners who are considering having solar panels fitted to their home is whether it will cause ant damage to their roof. This is a legitimate concern as none of us would want a potentially damaged roof. The reality is that solar panels can be installed without affecting the structure or water tightness of your roof as long as they are installed correctly by someone who knows what they are doing.
In order for someone to be able to install solar panels they need to be trained and qualified. There are strict requirements in order for someone to qualify to become an MCS qualified installer and installers have to go on specific solar installer training courses in order to become a qualified installer. This means that the company putting solar panels on your roof will be using properly qualified installers that know how to correctly fit and commission your solar panels system.
You would have initially approached a solar installer for either free or paid solar panels. They would have probably have checked your property on Google Maps in order to get an idea of your roof size and orientation. You can read up more about the best direction for solar panels to find out whether your house is suitable for solar.
The next step is a visit from a surveyor who will be able to determine the suitability of your roof. This means determining the direction and angle of your roof, identify any shading problems and making sure your roof can take the additional weight of the panels. From this point the number of panels that can be fitted can be determined and an installation date agreed.
So now we come to the actual installation. Scaffolding will need to be erected on the side of the house where the panels are being fitted. This enables the installers to safely access your roof area. The installers will also need access to your loft space as this is generally where the inverter is installed. The inverter is part of the solar system that transform the voltage of the panels so that the electricity can be used in your home and any surplus power feed back into the grid.
The actual panels are not directly fitted to your roof, a solar panel mounting or fixing system is used. There are several types of different system but essentially the job of the mounting system is to provide a mounting system for the panels to be fixed to. These systems are designed to easily allow the panels to be installed and to ensure that the panels are securely fitted to your roof.
Firstly some tiles are temporarily removed to get access to the wooden rafters underneath the tiles. The first part of the metal fixings that will support the metal solar panel frame are secured to the rafters. These are evenly spaced over the roof in order to spread the weight of the panels and ensure that there are no points that are under a greater downward force than other parts of the roof where the panels are going to be installed.
The metal mounting rails can then be attached to the metal fixings that were screwed into the wooden roof rafters earlier. These mounting rails are what the panels are fixed to and ensure that the panels are neatly and correctly aligned on your roof. These metal rails will be fitted at different points on the roof depending on how many panels are going to be fitted. You will not see the metal rails once the panels are fitted so it will not spoil the look of your roof. Finally the tiles that were removed earlier can be replaced. In some cases depending on the size and type of tiles some of the tiles may need to be trimmed slightly, this will not affect the look of the roof if the mounting system is ever removed as the trimmed part will be hidden by the tile above it.
Once the mounting system, tiles and wiring is all in place the panels can be fixed onto the mounting system. Using this method it means that the panels will stay firmly fixed in place and cannot be lifted off by strong winds or fall of the roof as they are not properly secured. Some roofs may need additional strengthening if a lot of panels are being fitted but this strengthening work can be done at the same time. To strengthen the roof is not a major job and usually only adds a few hundred pounds to the total cost of the job if you are paying for your panels.
Once the installation is complete your roof will be left in the same watertight and weather tight condition as it was before the panels were installed. Always check that your installer is properly certified and that they have a separate insurance policy covering your roof. This means that should any problems occur in the future and the installation company is not longer trading then you can still claim under the policy.
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For every kWp of solar panels you install you could be earning up to £500 a year. That means a 3kWp system could earn you up to £1,500 a year for 25 years.
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