Will a Roof Last Longer if it Has Solar Panels on it?

Architects and roofing contractors design home roofs to last around 30 years, on average. How long they actually survive and how often it would need a roof tile repair depends heavily on the type of material they use. Slate roofs can last for 200 years or more while asphalt shingles may only survive for 15, but if your residential roofing contractor does any special treatment that coats the roof then it could last even longer. 

Given that roof lifespan is finite, many homeowners wonder whether adding solar panels to it could extend it. Common sense says that panels should provide additional protection against the elements. But is this idea true?

Yes, Roofs With Solar Panels Last Longer

Evidence collected so far suggests that solar panels can help roofs to last longer. As you might expect, the benefit comes from the fact that they offer an additional layer of protection. But what specifically is going on that means that your roof is likely to last longer? 

  • Protection against the sun’s rays. Solar radiation contains highly energetic UV wavelengths. These light patterns can knock atomic particles out of their original configurations, leading to changes in material properties. In the body, UV rays damage molecules that hold the DNA together. On roofs, they break down organic matter in roofing materials, cause bleaching, and drying them out.
  • Better airflow. Solar panels also improve the airflow of the roof, helping to reduce heat. Some estimates suggest that adding solar panels may reduce home temperatures by up to 35 percent. 
  • Improved protection against falling debris. Overhanging trees put roofs in danger. However, because solar panels are made of robust materials that can protect the roofing materials below, they can provide some impact protection. 
  • Better protection against weather. Finally, installing solar panels protects your roof against the weather. When it rains, hails or snows, the solar panels take the brunt of it, sparing roofing materials underneath. 

A solar contractor will be able to tell you more about the protection that solar panels offer. They’ll also talk to you about how long the panels themselves are likely to last, given the conditions.

Do Solar Panels Damage Roofs? 

Homeowners sometimes worry that solar panel installation might damage their roofs. They are right to be concerned. If a contractor doesn’t install them properly, it can cause the roof to weaken.

However, if you select a good contractor, you shouldn’t run into any of these issues. Certified and licensed technicians know how to install solar panels while preserving the integrity of the roof at the same time. 

The solar panel installation process is straightforward. Technicians begin by drilling holes into the roof and fitting mounting brackets. They then secure them in place using large bolts before moving the panels into place and clipping them on. 

Once the panels are in place, installers cover the mount bolts in flashing. This process seals out any moisture and ensures that your roof remains entirely watertight. 

It’s always best to fit solar panels to a fresh roof. If you fit them to a damaged roof, contractors will first need to remove the solar panels before carrying out repairs.