Patrick Crowley

Patrick Crowley
Head of Sales & Operations

Rex Kehoe

Rex Kehoe
Director of Installers

Replacing a Roof with Solar Panels

March 23, 2019

In this week’s livestream, we’re answering about a frequently asked question in the solar industry – “How do I replace my roof after going solar?” In addition, we’ll discuss the benefits around replacing your roof at the same time you go solar. 

What If I Need to Replace My Roof After I Go Solar?

In order to replace your roof, you definitely have to take off the solar panels before installing your new roof. Once re-roofing is completed, you need to again install the solar panels on the new roof. This process will incur some costs.

solar panel roof replacement

However, it is not as expensive as you might think it is. If you paid $20,000 for your solar system, you’re not going to pay $20,000 to have those solar panels removed and replaced while roofing. It is usually a few thousand dollars and in most cases, it depends on how large your solar panel system is.

Some installers, who typically do roofing work themselves, will do it free of charge without charging you on re-roofing. If you hire them, they will remove your solar panels, change your roof, and install your PV panels on the new roof.

But the important question here is – “Would you have a roofer remove your solar panel system? Or do you need a solar contractor to reinstall the solar and make sure that all the electric gates are good?”

This depends on how you take advantage of your workmanship warranty provided by the solar panel manufacturer. It is important to hire your solar company to remove your solar panel system. Remember that hiring an installer from your PV panels company to work on your home solar system would actually keep the workmanship warranty intact. It is obvious that you cannot claim the workmanship warranty if you allow a third party to handle it. 

workmanship warranty

Benefits of Hiring Solar Installers During Roofing: 

  • Solar installers provide a 10-25 years workmanship warranty. To keep that intact, it might be best to have them remove your PV system when you decide to replace your roof.
  • If you get into a contract with a solar installer, the first thing that they are going to do is come out and do a site-evaluation. They want to verify the integrity of your roof. If they notice that your roof is not in a good shape, they do not want to install on that roof because they have the workmanship warranty that’s tied to the integrity of your roof.
  • You will receive honest opinion on whether or not you need to replace your roof. We recommend having your solar installer verify the integrity of your roof and evaluate if it needs replacement. As opposed to having a roofer verify your roof, because their main revenue source is getting you to replace your roof, they will most likely have you do just that.

You Can Claim Some Roof Work in Your 30% Solar Tax Credit

For all the improvements you’re making that are necessary for solar which includes roof replacement, you’re eligible for a tax credit.

Solar Tax Credit

However, you can claim the tax credit on the roof planes that have solar on them. If you have $10,000 worth of roof work done and you’re getting solar on half of your roof, you should only be claiming credit of $1,500. It is a good idea to talk to your tax professionals to see what you’re comfortable with. But the key takeaway is that you can get the tax credit if you’re doing the roof at the same time you are switching to solar.

Re-Roof After Solar: The Cost-Benefit Analysis

One of the most common inquiries that we get a scenario where a homeowner doesn’t have a relatively new roof but doesn’t necessarily have a significantly older roof,  but they may have 5-10 years of life left in their existing roof.

solar panel roof replacement

Should I go solar now? Should I wait and live out this existing roof, and then replace that roof when we go solar?

It is a complicated scenario and deriving a conclusion is tough. For these scenarios, we’re working on coming up with a formula which when we figure out, you better plug in your own numbers to see if now is the time to do this.

There are a lot of things to consider while trying to understand this. One of the biggest things to consider: if you are to wait another 5-10 years, the 30% Federal Tax Credit may not be available for you to claim. This plays a huge part in deciding whether or not you should hold off and wait the extra 5-10 years. Because this is not about the cost of the roof, but also the cost of your solar system. To sum up, you’d lose out the 30% tax credit and within these 5-10 years that you may be waiting, in addition, you will continue to pay the high electricity costs.

Taking all these factors into consideration, we are working on coming up with a formula that can help with your decision on roofing and solar combination. You can reach out to our Energy Advisors at Pick My Solar if you have any questions related to your roof and solar combination. Our platform also provides competitive bids from top installers for you to choose.


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