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Solar Roof Repairs: Repairs to roofs with Solar Panels

A poorly designed and installed solar PV system can cause terrible damage to roofs, which over time can allow moisture to enter and further damage the structure of buildings. Cracked tiles, poor flashing work, damaged underlay, battens and rafters, use of incorrect fixings, poor installation methods, there's a lot that can and has gone wrong when installing solar panels onto roofs. If you have a problem with your roof where solar panels have been installed we can help.

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Solar panels installed onto tiled roofs

The most popular method of installing solar panels onto tiled roofs is by using roof hooks. The hooks are screwed directly into the roof rafters. Once the hooks are installed aluminium rails are secured onto the hooks, the solar panels are then secured to the rails using clamps.

What can go wrong?

Damaged underlay/felt: In the process of installing the hooks, roof tiles need to be removed in order to access the rafters. Exposed underlay is very easy to damage/tear, a dropped tile, hook or tool or a moments lack of concentration where someone missteps, slips or misses the rafter with a misplaced screw could very easily result in the underlay tearing.

Replacing/repairing damaged underlay means removing a lot more roof tiles as well as battens and turns the solar installation into a much bigger and more time consuming job. A job which many solar installers might not be equiped to carry out, maybe they don't carry spare roofing materials with them or maybe given tears are often hidden with tiles installed above, they don't consider it to be important enough to rectify at the time.

Damaged underlay doesn't necessarily results in leaks but it does leave the roof vulnerable to water ingress should there also be damaged/worn tiles higher up the roof.

Solar Roof Hooks

Broken Roof Tiles: There are some roofs where you can almost guarantee that some roof tiles will be broken in the process of installing the solar panels. Older roofs and particularly roofs comprising of the small clay rosemary type tiles you just can't apply any weight to without some breaking.

If the installer isn't prepared for this in advance with spares, then it might be a temptation to hide the broken tiles under the panels or just leave them. A broken tile reduces the integrity of the roof and allows space for water to get in. Coupled with damaged, non existent or poorly installed felt, the water will then have a path to get into the house.

Poorly installed hooks: When installed correctly, the middle section of a roof hook rests neatly between two courses of tiles. Without applying any pressure/weight to the tile below and avoiding the tile above from sticking up.

The way this is best achieved is to adjust the hook to the right height for the lower tile allowing for the weight of the PV array before screwing the hook in and by grinding a notch out of the tile above. The objective being to put all the roof tiles back so everything integrates just as it was to start with, with all of the weight applied directly to the rafter.

We sometimes find that this preparation hasn't always been done or that the wrong sized or incorrectly adjusted hooks have been used. Broken tiles directly underneath roof hooks is something we find often. The integrity of the roof in terms of leaks is then dependent on the integrity of the underlay underneath.

Solar panels installed onto slate roofs

The structure of a slate roof introduces more considerations and materials than you would find with a tiled roof but our preferred installation method is similar using hooks, with the same considerations and potential issues that we find with the tiled roofs outlined above. However, in addition, given that slates are thin and installed in double layers, they need to be treated a little differently as we outline below, also what we often find with slate roofs where solar panels have been installed is the use of hanger bolts such as the one pictured.

What can go wrong?

Hanger Bolts: Hanger Bolts are typically used on corrugated roofs, comprised of large fibre cement sheets such as those that you might find on an agricutural building. However we also find these have been commonly used to install solar panels onto slate roofs.

Hanger Bolts

The use of hanger bolts on a slate roof is asking for problems, to access the rafter the installer will need to drill through two courses of slates. This saves a significant amount of time and materials but it also introduces multiple potential points of water ingress (everywhere a bolt has been installed). The weathertightness being dependent on the weatherproofing around the bolt. Should the weatherproofing around the bolt fail there will then be a direct route for water to get into the roof, the benefits of a slate roof where multiple slates overlap being lost.

Flashings: To access the rafter on a slate roof at least three slates (often more) need to be removed. As roof hooks are thicker than the slates, the slates are cut around the hook before being reinstalled and additional flashings installed over the hook and under the upper course of slates to maintain the double overlap at all points.

Solar Panel Removal and Reinstallation

If you are planning to re-roof your property or to carry out other major works that affect the solar PV system, including changing the system design or moving panels to a new location. We will be very happy to work with you and your roofers/builders to ensure that the solar part is as cost effective and hassle free as possible. We are already well known and have worked with many local roofers and builders on projects like this and will be pleased to work with more. We can carry out as much or as little of the works as is required and timings can be scheduled to fit in with the works being carried out on-site. Systems are tested and safely isolated before removal and retested before recommissioning after reinstallation.

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Solar Panel Bird Guard Installation

Solar Bird Guard Installationt

Pigeons, other birds and squirrels are annoying and dangerous when they decide to live under a solar PV system. Droppings on the panels shade the cells and reduce performance, droppings on connectors prematurely age and damage them, unsecured cables get bent and stretched. In general it's not a good situation for creatures to be living under a solar PV system. If they are causing problems, have damaged or risk damaging the solar PV system or the roof, you would like them removed, your system tidied up and creatures permanently prevented from gaining access underneath the panels, then we can help.

Solar Panel Bird Guard Installation

 

Solar Power System Testing, Servicing & Maintenance

Regular solar PV system testing, servicing and maintenance will extend the life of your solar PV system and ensure that solar panels are always operating safely and at their best, whilst maximising yields.

We offer complete safety and performance testing for solar PV power systems of any size. Includes panels, cables, solar inverters, isolators and mains connections.

We provide solar power system testing and maintenance services for residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural clients across Southern, South West England and the West Midlands, with specialist experience working with farmers, developers and commercial and industrial buildings owners.

Solar Power System Testing, Servicing & Maintenance

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Articles: Further Information, Calculators & Solar Inverter Fault Codes

Lots of articles, calculators and technical information including links for further reading. Covering a range of topics related to the installation and maintenance of solar photovoltaic and electrical systems in the UK.

Solar PV Information Articles

Safely Retrofitting Solar PV Roof Mounts

The things to consider before installing a retrofited solar PV system on a roof and an introduction to the type of equipment used to secure an on-roof solar PV system.

Ground Faults, Isolation Faults, RISO Faults and Insulation Resistance Faults with Solar PV Systems

After a number of years exposed to wind, rain, snow, ice and sometimes animals; solar panel systems can start to develop faults. The most common faults we find related to exposure are ground faults, isolation faults, RISO faults and insulation resistance faults. In this article we take a look at what these faults are, the possible causes and what steps are taken to identify and resolve them.

Surge Protection for UK Solar PV Systems

Recent changes to the BS7671 UK Wiring Regulations 18th Edition in the form of amendment 2 have introduced requirements and considerations for surge protection on both the AC and DC side of a solar PV System. In this article we take a look at surge protection, particularly in the context of the updated UK wiring regulations and how surge protection could best be incorporated into new and existing solar PV systems installed in the UK

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What Our Customers Say:

"Very decent with a helpful attitude and expert in the technical side and reliable too. Had to integrate with our roofers to use their scaffolding before and after their work to take down and reinstall our PV panels. Helpful scheduling. Up and running again to our satisfaction at a decent price." David Ballard, Ramsbury

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Case Studies

We've carried out Solar PV System design, installation, testing, repair and maintenance work on solar PV systems of all shapes and sizes all across the UK.

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Areas Served:

We are located in Wanborough, very close to Swindon in Wiltshire, Southern England, UK. From here we service clients within a 90 minute driving radius including the towns, cities and regions below:

Swindon: Abingdon, Aldbourne, Amesbury, Andover, Banbury, Basingstoke, Bath, Berkshire, Bicester, Blunsdon, Box, Bracknell, Bradford on Avon, Bridgwater, Bristol, Buckingham, Burford, Burnham on Sea, Calne, Camberley, Cardiff, Carterton, Cheltenham, Chippenham, Chipping Norton, Chipping Sodbury, Cirencester, Corsham, Cricklade, Devizes, Didcot, Evesham, Eynsham, Faringdon, Frome, Fleet, Glastonbury, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Henley-on-Thames, Highclere, Highworth, Hook, Hungerford, Keynsham, Kingsclere, Lambourn, Lechlade, Ledbury, Lyneham, Maidenhead, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Marshfield, Melksham, Minety, Newbury, Newport, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Pewsey, Purton, Ramsbury, Reading, Ross on Wye, Royal Wootton Bassett, Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Shalbourne, Slough, Southampton, Stow, Stratford upon Avon, Stroud, Swindon, Tewkesbury, Thatcham, Trowbridge, Wanborough, Wantage, Warminster, Weston Super Mare, Wiltshire, Winchester, Windsor, Witney, Wokingham, Worcester, Wroughton and Yate.

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