Can Your Roof Handle the Weight of Residential Solar Panels?

If you live in an older home and haven't had your roof inspected recently, you may be wondering if your roof is capable of supporting the weight of a solar system. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. You may also be interested in learning just how much weight a typical solar array will add to your roof and how much space they will require.

Solar panels vary in sizes and weights depending on the manufacturer, however, most panels sold in consumer markets have comparable proportions. Read on to discover how much a typical residential panel weighs compared to a commercial sized panel, and how to determine whether your roof can support the weight of a full system.


Dimensions of a Solar Panel

A single solar panel typically found on a residential property measures 65 x 39 inches, or 5.4 feet by 3.25 feet. There are 60 solar cells in each of these modules. Commercial PV modules, on the other hand, are larger, with each panel measuring around 78 × 39 inches, or 6.5 ft. by 3.25 ft. They have 72 solar cells per panel due to their larger size.

The power output of PV panels can be understood as a function of their size, the difference in dimensions, however, reveals the purpose of each system. To maximize roof space, it is recommended to choose the smaller scale panels for a home system. The longer panels are ideal for commercial buildings with vastly larger roof space.


Weight of a Typical Residential Solar Panel

When buying a PV system, it's important to know how much solar panels weigh. The simplest way to know if your roof is solid enough to bear the total weight of the system without jeopardizing your roof warranty is to determine the weight of the PV modules.

As previously stated, depending on the manufacturer, each solar panel may weigh a slightly different amount. However, on average, each 60-cell module weighs around 40 pounds. The weight of a solar power system can therefore be calculated by multiplying the number of panels required to meet your home’s energy needs by the weight of each individual panel. This will give you a good idea of how much weight will be added to your rooftop once you’ve installed your new system.


Will Your Roof Hold the Weight of a Solar System?

Over 90% of existing roofs on private homes are capable of supporting the additional weight of solar panels. If you live in an older home, you may still want to make sure yours is among the majority.

One way to establish the strength of your roof is to employ a professional to inspect it.  You could share with them the estimated weight of the solar system you are considering, and if the roof is strong enough to support the system, they'll let you know. In some cases, they will provide an approval certificate as well. If the specialist concludes that your roof isn't strong enough to sustain the solar system, they'll advise you on what you need to do to improve it.


Take Advantage of the Site Survey from DIY Solar Power

Our Services package includes a Site Survey which requires an expert to examine the physical condition of your home, with special attention on your roof. Ensure that your home is ready for installation by adding solar services from DIY Solar Power to complete your project. Not only will it help you feel confident about your roof’s condition, but the solar services package also includes, design and engineering, permits, and utility interconnection.

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