5 considerations for installing metal roofs to support solar panel investment
As the first state in the nation to require all new homes to have solar power, California’s recent decision may have American homeowners consider other roofing options, according to the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), a leading non-profit trade organization.
“California’s leadership is a giant step forward to bring solar power into the mainstream for all homeowners, no matter where they live,” Renee Ramey, the group’s executive director, said in a release. “The return on a residential roof-mounted solar investment is only as good as the quality and longevity of the roof where it’s installed.”
When California’s solar standards take effect in two years, it will save consumers an estimated $80 on monthly heating, cooling and lighting bills, according to the California Energy Commission. The organization adds that a positive long-term return on the investment that is predicted to easily offset the higher cost of installing solar.
Despite the benefits of producing rooftop electricity, the MRA warns that those savings can be wiped out if the roof underneath the solar system fails. That’s because repairing or replacing a roof — in addition to the substantial extra labor costs of removing and reinstalling a solar panel system — can be expensive.
For homeowners and builders looking to protect their solar system investment, the MRA suggests the following:
· Think long term. Metal roofs greatly reduce the risk of a roof failing before a solar panel system does. The estimated lifespan of solar panels is typically about 20 to 25 years while metal roofs last for 50-plus years, two or three times the average lifespan of other types of roofing materials.
· Start with a strong base. Metal is exceptionally strong and durable, able to support the weight of heavy solar systems by using a simple attachment and clip solution that does not require drilling holes into the roof or the need for self-ballasted systems, reducing the possibility of roofing failures and potential leaks.
· Maximize the energy savings. Considered “cool roofs,” metal offers additional energy efficiency benefits, especially combined with solar. Even basic, unpainted metal roofs will reflect more solar radiation than asphalt, which typically absorbs and holds heat. Metal roofs with special coatings deliver high total solar reflectance and high infrared emittance, keeping homes cool and saving energy by re-emitting most of what solar radiation is absorbed.
· Reduce environmental impacts even more. Metal can be 100 percent recycled rather than dumped into a landfill at the end of its life. It reduces long-term maintenance by naturally resisting moss and fungus, cutting down on the need for strong chemical treatments.
· Consider all-season climate conditions. In extreme climate conditions, metal stands up to hurricane-force winds, severe rain and hailstorms and heavy snowfall.