What happens when you want to remove your roof solar panels?

madsci1016madsci1016 Registered Users Posts: 8
edited October 2019 in Solar Beginners Corner #1
Thinking about adding solar DIY style, as I'm very good with electricity and power tools. I am not confident in what happens when/if it comes time to sell my house and I want to remove the solar system. If I've screwed it into my roof, how do I remove the panels and rails and not ruin the roof? Screw the screws back in to fill the holes? Will a home inspector balk at that? Anyone have knowledge / experience of removing solar to sell the home?

My DIY system would be off grid and I would not have pulled permits, hence the need to remove it during a house sale. 

It's an asphalt shingle roof. 
Tagged:

Comments

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,658 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019 #2
    Suggest if you don't want to make it part of the home, to do a stand alone system NOT mounted to the home.

    The simple ground mounts of my cabin system were easily moved, after I sold it, in sets of 4 panels removing just a few bolts.

    The battery box and power center sat on the larger outer frame to make everything stable. Having trees behind the system made for no problems in up to 60 mph straight line winds.

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • wellbuiltwellbuilt Solar Expert Posts: 688 ✭✭✭✭
     Hi Madsci ,  it depends on how you mount the system to the roof . 
     I used the iron ridge 1000 system  I have 5/6 holes for each rail and the mounts are staggered so the weight is distributed on most of the rafters . 
     The holes are under the shingle area , but the shingle above the mount is cut around the foot  you would just replace the shingle. 
      If the shingles are old the color mite not match and they get a little harder to remove .
     It is a easy task to just unscrew the mount and replace the whole shingle .      John
    Out back  flex power one  with out back 3648 inverter fm80 charge controler  flex net  mate 16 gc215 battery’s 4425 Watts solar .
  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,854 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    A non conforming array mounted on a roof may be in violation not only of electrical codes, but may void any home insurance, if applicable. 
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Battery Bodyguard BMS 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery with Daly BMS, used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,495 ✭✭✭✭✭
    +1 on ground mounting.  As John said, it's not that big a deal to replace some shingles, but IMHO when an inspector sees signs of the (unpermitted) rooftop solar it will raise a red flag and may prompt a harder look for other issues.

    In my city place, there would be a pretty good chance I'd be forced to remove work done without a permit, and rooftop solar stands out.  At my cabin, they'd just give me a strange look if I tried to pull a permit.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • madsci1016madsci1016 Registered Users Posts: 8
    I'm in the good old boy south on unincorporated land, so i think the risk of being "caught" while i own the home is low. I'm most nervous about if/when I have to sell the house how well I'll be able to restore the roof. I did save several cases of extra shingles from the new roof I got 6 months ago, so just replacing the shingles sounds like a good option. 

    I'd much rather ground mount, but the front of my home faces the south and the wife didn't like that idea. No room in the back. 

    I've also talked to adjusters (not mine) and searched on the web. The whole "voiding home insurance" seems to be a myth, as I got back alot of responses to the effect of 'as long as it wasn't malicious/intentional to burn the house down, they don't care'.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,495 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I explicitly told my insurance company broker about the solar system in the valuation/underwrting process.  There are some conditions which would make them refuse coverage (eg I had to send them photo proof I had uninstalled an older non-WETT certified wood stove), but they were ok with the solar.

    That said, I haven't had to make a claim  :#
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • madsci1016madsci1016 Registered Users Posts: 8
    Geez when I bought this house 5 years ago the insurance never even bothered to look at it. Went to a broker and he just had several companies bid on the value appraised by the county/bank and that was it. I'm the one that had to pay for a private inspection just to make sure I wasn't buying a money sink.
  • 706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 437 ✭✭✭✭
    The holes in the roof are just one problem. I found that rainwater cascaded off the panels overloading the bottom two feet of shingles causing premature leakage when I had mine on the roof. If you have room ( I do) panels on the ground can be inspected, cleaned of dirt or snow and more easily monitored for output.
    Island cottage solar system with 2400 watts of panels, 1kw facing southeast 1kw facing southwest 400watt ancient Arco's facing south.Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Outback Flexmax 80 MPPT charge controller 8 Trojan L16's. Insignia 11.5 cubic foot electric fridge. My 28th year.
  • wellbuiltwellbuilt Solar Expert Posts: 688 ✭✭✭✭
    It’s allways handy to have left over shingles to patch with , that helps but shingles fade overtime .
     No one will have a problem with a proper shingle patch .
    as far as shingle Leaking from the bottom the solarguys around here have a Transition piece
    of aluminum that is angeled so the water runs off the panels and on to the roofing with out splattering .
     My roof is steep and don’t seam to have that problem 
    Out back  flex power one  with out back 3648 inverter fm80 charge controler  flex net  mate 16 gc215 battery’s 4425 Watts solar .
  • madsci1016madsci1016 Registered Users Posts: 8
    My roof is also steep and I paid extra for "50 year" 300 lb shingles, and peel and stick self sealing underlayment. I'd hope rain water wouldn't be able to chew through that. Thanks for pointing that out though. 

    I really do wish ground was an option. There's a small area where I could do a carport like structure but the panels would be horizontal and take an efficiency hit. I read that it'll maybe be 15% less than tilted at my prime angle, so I am considering it. Just means much more building/diging. 
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,495 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My understanding (which could be wrong) is the rainwater flow accelerates the loss of granular material from the shingle surface.  When enough is gone, the lower layers are exposed and degrade mainly from UV exposure.

    I have my pv on a carport-like structure:



    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • madsci1016madsci1016 Registered Users Posts: 8
    Ooo nice that it's perpendicular to your south face. The only place I have room for this runs North-South, so I wouldn't be able to tilt like that unfortunately. But I'm at 30 deg Lat it's not killer to be horizontal ( i think) .
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,495 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The flat roofed atructure was built specifically to accomodate the solar, but is also useful as a sunroom/woodshed/deck cover.

    My panels are set quite steep mostly in an effort to shed snow.  Not likely a problem for you at 30° latitude.  A bit of tilt is desirable to get rain to wash debris, bird bombs, etc off though.  Going flatter than latitude will likely reduce winter mid-day production by a bit, but can produce earlier and later in the day much of the year to offset to some extent.

    With a flat roof and slightly tilted (eg 10-15°) panels in east-west rows, you wouldn't need much space between rows to avoid shading.  There are also ballasted rack systems sometimes used on commercial/industrial flat roofs which may be worth considering if local conditions (eg no hurricanes) allow.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • madsci1016madsci1016 Registered Users Posts: 8
    edited November 2019 #15
    Lol yeah we just got a direct hit from a Cat 5 hurricane last year, so yeah gotta think hurricanes. Though we don't get them often, that was a fluke.

    New thought is a hybrid roof/ground install. Basically tie into the fascia board along one side of the house and create a "covered walkway" of sorts down that side of the house. I can hit about 5KW of panels that way. But they would be facing due east-south-east instead of south. Any good resource to calculate the efficiency hit I 'll take because of that? 
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭✭
    PV watts calculator lets you plug in off angle/‘off azimuth PV.

    https://pvwatts.nrel.gov/

    Solar sheds/carports etc are pretty common: http://www.jc-solarhomes.com/css/installingSolarPanels.html

    tony

  • madsci1016madsci1016 Registered Users Posts: 8
    Thats useful thanks. Shows about 10% loss for not facing south nor the ideal angel which matches about what I found when I googled the crap out of it. Man it's hard to google DIY info and not get inundated with sales pitches from solar companies. 
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,495 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It will also depend on any terrain/shading to the east which might limit morning harvest when the sun is low and shadows long.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • WaterWheelWaterWheel Registered Users Posts: 340 ✭✭✭
    As far as insurance claims go when I mentioned solar install to NEC 2014 standards the insurance company didn't care.      They said the inverter ect inside the garage was covered under my personal possessions part and the ground mount panels were covered the under out side structures part of the policy.         I did raise my outside structures policy coverage a bit.

    Conext XW6848 with PDP, SCP, 80/600 controller, 60/150 controller and Conext battery monitor

    21 SW280 panels on Schletter ground mount

    48v Rolls 6CS 27P

Sign In or Register to comment.