Warning – Solar Installations and Your Roof

Before any installations take effect, follow this important steps to save stress and money.

Warning about solar installations and your roof.

While a solar installation on your roof this days is the best to save energy and help the environment one important thing to consider is your roof. Before you have your solar system installed ask your contractor about the roof, what about the roof, what is going to happen if your roof leaks and you already spent a lot of money putting your solar system, what if those leaks are located under your solar system is your contractor going to come and un install the system so the roofing contractor can take care of your leaks or if not, are you ready to pay another solar contractor to uninstall the system so the roofing contractor can take care of your leaks?

Be careful and always ask this questions so you minimize the money you spent after your system is installed and working for you. The best thing to do is find a roofing contractor and fix the area where the solar system is going to be installed and ask for a warranty on any repairs, plus let the roofing contractor interact, talk with the solar contractor, one of the reasons is the solar cells always requires steel pipes and roof pipes to hold the new solar system attach to the roof, and no one than a roofing contractor that can take care of your roof.

Many roofs have solar systems, solar cells installed on the roof. The bad thing is that the solar contractor never told the home owner about the condition of the roof, and one thing is because they do not want the home owner to refuse their contract or sometimes they do not want the home owner to worried about the roof, but many times they just want to complete their work get their check and go. While many roofs are old and they need to be replace is not going to be a good idea to installed a new solar system on your roof and then later on have to un installed the system because no one told you that the roof needed to be replace before any solar installations took effect. Even if you have a new roof there always going to be roof penetrations, holes going to your roof to attach the new solar system, the best thing to do is call a roofing contractor before any installations take effect.

Colorado Solar Installations

There are over 200 solar installation companies in the state of Colorado. In the first six months of 2010 they competed for a little over 1,000 installations statewide. Solar industry professionals have been quoted as saying that “less than 20” of the companies currently installing residential solar energy systems in the state of Colorado follow best practices. In short, these are dangerous waters for unwary consumers.

Solar is an Investment
A typical integrated residential solar installation in Colorado amounts to a $25,000 investment (out of pocket costs vary but can be as little as $12,000 after incentives, rebates and tax credits). To get a very rough estimate the cost of a solar installation take the average monthly KWH times 12(months in year) and then multiply that number by $3 per kilowatt of solar module creation.

Example: If we use XCEL’s number the average Colorado home uses 650KWH per month the calculation would be: 650 x 12 x $3 = $23,400. Note: The $3 per kilowatt hour figure represents a significant drop over the past two years.

Over the life of the system the rate of return of a well planned, professionally installed solar installation is between 5 – 12% depending a variety of factors (including orientation, mounting and demographics). However, if that system is not properly installed or uses poor quality components the ROI can quickly become negative.

Why use a Solar Quote System
Residential Colorado solar investors should research solar installers to determine professional affiliations (often paid for), number of years in business, capabilities, and feedback from previous customers. After obtaining the information for 30 or so companies the potential customer could then filter out those with less than stellar credentials. But, who really has time to research thirty plus companies?

Thankfully, the research has already been done. Many solar industry professionals recognized early on that ensuring that consumers got value for their money was essential to the growth of the industry. A few of these pioneers developed a comprehensive list of fully credentialed solar installers and then placed them in a playing field where they competed only on price. This competitive bid system provides consumers with piece of mind regarding both the quality of the solar company and the price of the system.

Competitive quotes are provided free for consumers. Installers, who must first pass rigorous requirements, pay for the privilege of bidding on projects. If industry professional want to bid on the projects they must be adhere to a high level of professionalism and integrity.

Buy Local When Choosing a Solar Installer Or Contractor

I am sure you have heard the words, “buy local,” when referring to locally grown food.  This motto is transferable to all other goods and services.  A locally owned business is more likely to produce income, jobs and tax receipts for a given community over many generations. 

As adoption for solar energy systems grows, your options for choosing a solar panel installer are increasing.  I want to first describe the major types of solar installers and then talk about why it makes sense to contract from a local solar panel installer. 

1. Solar Panel Manufacturers – Their business is primarily manufacturing panels, but they also bid on utility-scale photovoltaic projects. Solar Panel Manufacturers are well suited for larger projects since they can supply the panels directly and eliminate the middleman, reducing overall system costs.

2. National Solar Installers – National players usually operate in multiple states across the country, with many having their national headquarters in California.  National Solar Installers tend to handle the largest volume of installations per year.

3. Regional or Locally-owned Solar Installers – This group specializes in only solar installations for a certain local area usually designated by state. 

4. Other Contractors – The largest group of solar contractors are those that offer solar panel installations as  part of their portfolio, but specialize in something else – many are electricians, roofers, door and window contractors, or general contractors.

Why Buy Local?

  • Local contractors are better acquainted with the local weather conditions and how to design a system to fit those requirements.
  • A PV installer that is based in your area will be more familiar with regional permitting rules and electric codes reducing design errors, speeding up time to installation, and providing the best overall service.
  • Statistics show that buying from independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business,  will infuse three times as much money in your region’s economy, strengthening the economic foundation of your community.
  • Locally owned contractors tend to make more local purchases requiring less transportation.  This reduces congestion and transportation-related emissions.
  • Small businesses hire locally and will support green jobs where you live.
  • A local installer will help you maximize the incentives for your solar projects because they have a greater awareness of different rebates, tax credits and exemptions, loan programs, SRECs, etc.