solar panels on metal roof

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Old 03-01-14, 02:29 PM
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solar panels on metal roof

I was all set for a company to put solar PV panels on my roof. I had told the sales guy it was a metal roof, and he indicated that should not be a problem. But it was determined that they cannot install to my roof at all, even though their company has installed panels to other metal roofs in the past.

The problem is that those metal roofs are the more common ones with a smooth surface and solid color. Mine has metal shingles designed to closely resemble traditional tar shingles. So their surface is not as smooth.

The installers say they don't have a (I think the word they used was 'bolt' or something) that would properly attach the panel leg to the beam on the inside of the roof. Something about it would slip due to the nonsmooth shingle surface and that rainwater would leak through.

So do you know what kind of bolt they should look for? They claim they've asked around and don't know anyone who has this. The roofing company is Erie Construction of Toledo, OH. The solar company is Missouri Sun Solar. I'm sorry I donít know the brand name of the roof.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 09:16 AM
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My guess is that it would be some type of lag bolt. I can't think of any other bolt that would work from the outside. It's good that they saw the problem before they started the job. Do you have an accessible attic?
 
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Old 03-03-14, 09:27 AM
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What they're looking for is wood to screw them down for a frame.

All they need is to locate the rafters and plan to use pole barn screws.

Running wires are easy provided they wrap them at the opening to go down with rubber gasket material and caulk so the insulation on the wires doesn't ground out.

These days, everyone's into excuses, and not into finishing a job. I've made, wired, fixtured, & secured over 32 panels and 4 wind mills. Tell them to do their homework and finish it.
 

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Old 03-03-14, 12:42 PM
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GPM2010, Why do you think that they would avoid the job & lose the money & why would to OP want to force them if there is a possible problem?
 
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Old 03-03-14, 12:47 PM
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I would never want to 'force' a contractor to do something he wasn't comfortable with - if anything went wrong he'd be pointing the blame at you! I wonder if some type of membrane could be placed under the base to bridge the gap ??

btw - welcome to the forums Steve!
 
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Old 03-03-14, 05:40 PM
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I was thinking that if there is an accessible attic, bolts with nuts, star & lock washers could be used. Star washers go under the head of the bolt & lock washers behind the nut. There won't be any slippage then.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 08:29 AM
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These days, everyone's into excuses, and not into finishing a job. I've made, wired, fixtured, & secured over 32 panels and 4 wind mills. Tell them to do their homework and finish it.
If there is an excuse to not even START, then don't work with the person. There's a good reason for someone to not want money. If they don't have the correct bolt, or their insurance company won't insure them "coming up with something", and they are concerned enough about their reputation to tell you up front, they are doing you a great service by refusing to do the job.

If you want someone to attach heavy objects to your fancy roof in an unproven manner, that's your choice. Or maybe you can find another company with better knowledge to do it. I hope it works out for you.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 08:38 AM
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are you looking in the wrong trade ? perhaps its not roofers' work,,, at least they were upfront when they withdrew
 
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Old 03-04-14, 09:29 AM
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In a sense, it's really a plumbers' job.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 10:18 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

Yes, I have access to the attic. They went up there and as far as I know they found rafters up there that they were going to use.

They've already sent me a full refund check. I'm glad I got my money back and that they didn't start drilling before they noticed the problem. But I was going to get a $2/watt rebate from my electric company for this. That rebate ran out late last year. So I guess I will never get panels put on this roof.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 05:03 PM
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I applaud the company for saying that they couldn't do the job & giving you a refund, before a disaster occurred.
 
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Old 03-06-14, 12:06 AM
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Solar Panels

I would at least try another company. The reason I say this is because there are many companies out there, and there are many, many contractors. So one may have come across this type of roof and overcome the issue as well. I used to be a satellite TV technician and there were many jobs that they sent me on that other technicians turned down. I am not saying this is the case, but it could be that those contractors just never encountered that type of roof.

I have installed the steel shingles before and if you aren't careful with what goes on them such as a solar panel, you can crack the steel or put a dent in them. Either way, I would try another company just to see.

Just a little FYI - not sure if you are purchasing all the equiptment, but they have RENT TO OWN companies now. You don't have to have ANY money up front, and if the roof is 10 years old or less, they will come install it all, and every 10 years give you new equipment. I know this sounds too good to be true, but it is. I was offered a job as a salesman for this rent to own solar company. You have a payment every month, but if it is cheaper than what the electric bill would be, you just can't lose with it.
 
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