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How to Protect Your Roof After Installing Solar Panels

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Our previous blog addressed the challenges the Seattle climate poses when protecting your roof’s warranty and how to overcome them. We will build on that in this blog by discussing the risk you take on when installing solar panels. And, in standard DAPrDAN fashion, we will offer solutions. Enjoy. 

The risk of installing solar panels on your roof

The Pacific Northwest climate is conducive to organic growth, like moss and algae, forming on your roof. The moisture, limited sunlight, and plethora of vegetation make for an environment that requires vigilance to prevent unsightly growth and damage to your roof. This greenhouse effect compounds when you install solar panels on your roof. They block the already-scarce UV rays from reaching your roof and trap the abundance of moisture, exacerbating the formation of organic growth. If unaddressed, this organic growth will lead to long-term damage to your roof, void your roof’s warranty, and ultimately require premature roof replacement.

We won’t repeat the details of how costly roof replacement can be (again, see our previous blog). Suffice it to say, most homeowners who install solar panels do so because they want to save money on increasing energy costs while benefiting the environment. Regarding the cost savings you anticipate by improving energy efficiency with solar panels, neglecting the growth that forms underneath them will lead to more cost (and headache) than the money you save by having solar panels. Roof replacement is never easy or cheap, assuming you’ve voided your warranty, which you will have done without properly addressing growth on your roof. This replacement is more complex and expensive when you have to uninstall solar panels (not to mention reinstalling them). 

Fortunately, the steps required to protect your roof, solar panels, and warranty are not nearly as complex as the hassle and cost you incur by neglecting growth beneath your solar panels.

The solution for protecting your roof after installing solar panels

Maintenance is your antidote to the risks of installing solar panels in the Pacific Northwest. A proper maintenance plan provided by experienced professionals (you know who that is ;)) will keep your roof in like-new condition and protect your warranty, even with solar panels installed. DAPrDAN’s recommended roof maintenance plan with solar panels is nearly the same as maintenance without solar panels:

  • Every 3 to 6 months, we clear away fallen debris before it can decompose (this is also a good time for us to clean your gutters). 

  • At least once a year (six months is ideal), we apply zinc oxide across your roof to create an unfriendly environment for moss spores to grow. This does not remove existing moss but prevents new moss growth. Additionally, this does not address algae. 

  • Annually, we soft wash your roof to remove organic growth like moss or algae. 

  • And while we’re at it, we’ll also wash your solar panels, the benefits of which we’ll expound upon shortly. We recommend 1-2 solar panel washes per year if you don’t have trees near your home. If you have trees nearby, 3-4 times per year is recommended. 

So, how do we wash a roof covered with solar panels? No, we do not remove them. To effectively deliver our solution across an entire slanted roof, we flood the top of the roof and let the solution roll down the roof, removing and preventing organic growth at its root. For flat roofs, we spray underneath the solar panels using long poles and 25psi pressure, which is the equivalent of your standard garden hose’s pressure. Whether your roof is slanted or flat, our methods lead to minimal waste. 

If you’ve had solar panels for a while and have yet to have your roof washed, don’t worry. DAPrDAN can restore your roof to like-new condition and enroll you in a maintenance plan to prevent voiding your roof’s warranty and later replacing it.

The additional benefit of cleaning solar panels

According to a Google study, cleaning your solar panels every 8-12 months increases energy efficiency by 30-40%, so we recommend making this service part of your maintenance plan. Google’s study notes that mother nature will take care of washing solar panels on slanted roofs. While this works in arid Mountain View, CA, it doesn’t apply in the Pacific Northwest. Rain and a slanted roof will not prevent algae growth on your solar panels. If you have skylights and solar panels, you can test right now if you’re missing out on any solar generating capacity. Look up at your skylights. If you see organic growth, you can trust the same is on your solar panels and reducing your solar panel ROI.

To keep your roof in like-new condition, prevent its replacement, and maximize the ROI of your solar panels, contact DAPrDAN today.

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