Should I repair or replace my roof before having solar installed?

There are three main factors to consider — age, condition and cost.

  1. Age: If your roof is less than 12 to 15 years old, it’s probably fine.
  2. Condition: Check for red flags, both inside and out.
    – Signs of water damage (leaks or stains) on your ceiling
    – Outside light coming through the roof
    – Broken, cracked or missing shingles
    – Shingle granules in the gutters
  3. Cost: The cost of repairing or replacing a roof varies depending on the material of the roof surface and where you live. Weather, such as snow load or rain amount, may be a factor in determining replacement cost.

A general rule of thumb is if your roof needs to be replaced within five years, you should consider doing it before installing solar panels. Removing and reinstalling solar panels to replace the roof generally come with an extra cost. This can be prevented if you repair the roof prior to installing your solar system.

Roof Repair
house solar panels

What components make up a solar system?

There are three main components to a solar system: panels, inverters and meters.

Solar panels contain solar cells. Solar cells, sometimes called photovoltaic cells, convert the energy of the sun into electricity. Most solar cells are made of some form of silicon. Panels also contain metal conductor strips and antireflective coating. Wiring and hardware to attach panels to the roof are also part of your entire solar system.

Solar panels generate Direct Current (DC). But almost everything you use in your house – TV, computer, refrigerator and such – runs on Alternating Current (AC). That’s why solar systems require an inverter. Inverters convert DC power generated by solar panels into AC power that fuels your house. If allowed by your utility, excess AC energy can be fed back into your local grid.

Solar systems utilize two types of meters. Your solar power company will provide a solar meter to collect and upload your system’s production data. Your utility company will provide a net meter to measure the energy you consume and, in applicable markets, the energy you send back to the electric grid. This give-and-take relationship between your solar system and the utility grid is called net metering.

In addition to the three main components, some systems may also include a battery storage system. By adding a battery, your system will power your home during the day and send excess energy to the battery to be used at night. Unlike solar-only systems, it will continue producing and storing energy during a power outage when the electric grid is down so you can keep your most needed lights and appliances on.

The amount of power available during a power outage is limited, depending on the loads connected and the customer usage during a power outage.

What happens at night or when it is cloudy outside?

Solar systems convert sunlight into energy, so you definitely need the sun’s rays to make that happen. Weather conditions, the season of the year and time of day all have an impact on how much energy your system generates. On cloudy or foggy days when your production is less, or at night when your system isn’t producing at all, your home will be powered by energy from the electric grid. Interconnection of your system to the grid makes this possible.

Dark Night
energy grid

What if my solar system generates more power than I am using at any given time?

In most cases, if your solar system generates more energy than your home needs at any given time, the excess energy will flow back to the electric grid. Your utility company may provide you with a credit for energy you send back to it.

There are a few exceptions, however. For example, customers in states that have placed a cap on net metering, those households may be limited in the amount of energy they can export to the grid, as well as any credit received for it. In addition, homeowners whose solar systems have a battery component are then able to store excess energy for future use and “load shaving” for peak times during the day when their systems aren’t generating power needed at that particular time, rather than export it to the power grid.

What is net-metering and how does it effect my utility bill?

Your solar system will provide most of the power your home needs. During cloudy or foggy days, there will be low production and at night, the system won’t produce energy. If you have a battery connected to your solar system, you may receive power from it when your system is not producing; thereby reducing the amount of power you need from the grid.

However, whether you have a battery or not, your system will be connected to your utility company’s electric grid to supply electricity during the times your system isn’t producing enough on its own or the battery is depleted. This is known as interconnection, and it allows for the bidirectional transmission of energy between your home and the electric grid.

Net metering is the concept of measuring both the energy you receive from the grid, as well as any excess energy your system produces and sends back to it. Your utility company will supply your net meter to keep track of what you consume from and export to the grid. You may receive credit for exported energy to help offset the cost of what you consume.

Solar Meter

Will I have power during a blackout?

Your Empire Energy Solutions solar or solar + battery system is grid-tied, which means it is connected to the electric grid. A solar-only system cannot operate independently of the electric grid and will shut down when the grid isn’t working. This means you won’t have any power for your home during a grid outage.

This is normally to keep the line workers safe when doing repair work on the grid since there can’t be any live power flowing through the lines. Solar-only systems can’t produce any energy.

Unlike solar-only systems, a solar + battery system will continue producing and storing energy during a power outage, when the electric grid is down, so you can keep your most needed lights and appliances on. Please call us to get more information regarding a Solar + Battery System design.

The amount of power available during a power outage is limited, depending on the loads connected and the customer usage during a power outage.

Will solar panels damage my roof or cause leaks?

A racking system mounts the panels, and any gaps resulting from installation are sealed. Coverings, such as flashing, may be required. The integrity of your roof will be as preserved as it was before installation.

However, in the event the installation of the solar panels causes any leaks or damage to your roof, Empire Energy Solutions will work with our installation partners to ensure that all repairs are made according to our roof warranty.

Solar Roof

Will solar panels last longer than my roof?

The average life expectancy of a roof varies greatly depending on what your roof is made of and the climate you live in, so it could be anywhere from 12-35 years. Residential solar panels typically come with a warranty of 20-25 years, but panels can last more than 40 years.

Will you put a lien on my home?

No, we (The Finance Company) will not put a lien on your home. However, if you are selling a home or securing financing using your home as colateral, there may be conditions that require the removal of a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filing before the home can be sold or the financing process is completed. UCC laws are established to regulate the sales of personal property and other business transactions. For example, when a lender gives a car loan to a person buying a car, both parties sign a UCC-1 form. The form is filed by the lender and the title is kept by the lender until the loan is paid off.

The UCC-1 filing should not impact your ability to sell your home as it will be removed and refiled under the new title owner’s name. However, it’s important that you contact us as soon as you think you will be selling (or transferring) your home as the UCC removal process may take a few weeks. Also, minimal removal fees may apply in most jurisdictions and customers are responsible for these. The sale of a home is the most common scenario where the UCC-1 filing will need to be removed in advance. However, this applies also to any process that may affect your home’s title with the county. For example, if you decide to secure a second mortgage on the home on which the solar system is installed, we will also need to remove the UCC filing before you can do so.

Cash payments for Solar systems require no UCC-1.

Home Lien
Home For Sale

What if I want or need to relocate my system to a new home?

In the process of selling your home, we are more than happy to speak with the new homebuyer so that we can explain to them the benefits of solar. Otherwise, we will be happy to work with you to relocate the solar system to your new home, as long as your new home is within the same utility district.

Please keep in mind that there are costs associated with this move and your system design will and can change due to the different dynamics of the new roof at the new home.

Do my solar panels need regular maintenance or inspections? What if I see an issue when I do an inspection?

Solar panels are extremely durable and built to withstand the elements. While solar panels don’t typically need regular maintenance, it’s always good to keep an eye out.

You know your solar system the best because you see it every day! We recommend you do a regular visual inspection of your solar panels from the ground. Look for things like weeds, wasps, and anything else that seems out of place.

It’s also important keep the area around your solar system free and clear. You should regularly trim trees or shrubs that grow near your solar panels. As new foliage grows around your solar panels, your solar production may be negatively impacted by new shade.

If you have any additional concerns about your panels, please don’t hesitate to call us @ 909-632-1222.

house solar panels