Can solar panels damage the roof?
Siobhan from Plymouth
11 February 2014
Surveys questions and answers
We’re looking at buying an eco-friendly property, and we have our eye on one which has a lot of energy saving features. It’s recently had solar panels installed, which is something that really attracted us to the property, but we’ve heard that they can damage the roof. Do you think this is something we should be concerned about? How can we find out if the solar panels have caused any damage?
Solar Panels should not damage a roof if they have been installed by an experienced installer. A surveyor will follow the trail and look for evidence of damage to the roof or water ingress in the loft.
A surveyor should also assess if he/she considers the roof structure to be capable of the increase in loading as a result of the solar panels. Most modern roofs should be able to accommodate the increase in loading. If the panels have been fixed to a roof in poor condition then it is likely that the panels would need to be removed to enable maintenance.
We strongly advise you to have a survey but If not you should check that the panels were installed by a member of MCS (Microgeneration Certification scheme). For more information see www.microgenerationcertification.org
Some lenders will not lend on some properties if the solar panels are fixed free of charge where by the installer receives the feed in tarrif (FIT) and the homeowner receives the electricity that is generated free of charge. In these cases the installing company effectively takes out a lease on the roof space of the property. It is therefore important to ensure that any such scheme meets the CML guidelines.
See the link here to The Council of Mortgage Lenders guidance:
You can also take a look at our news item detailing the warning announced by RICS about ‘rent a roof’ solar panels: https://www.reallymoving.com/property-news/solar-panels-chartered-surveyors-warning
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Hannah, 09 April 2017