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Listen Up: A Roofer's Perspective on Solar

The most cost-effective place to install solar — thermal systems, pool systems or PV — is on a home's rooftop. Whether it's on an existing home or new construction, it's critical to make sure that the equipment is installed securely (so it won't blow away in high winds), and that the roof mounts will not cause any leaks. Unfortunately, these two goals are not easy to achieve over the 25+ year lifespan of common rooftop materials — including composition shingles, tiles, wood shakes, metal and rolled-out roofing.

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Our industry has adopted a number of best practices to maximize the durability of roof penetrations, including attachments to rafters, flashings, stainless steel and aluminum components, and fasteners that are designed for hot/wet/cold roof conditions. But these best practices are not always followed, resulting in roof leaks and potential hazards from loosened solar panels. 

If these roof leaks happen, it's usually a roofer who is called in to repair the damage. Long-time roofers have seen just about everything. Perhaps more importantly, they have good advice for the solar industry into ways to attach solar panels on various roof types properly. My guest on this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is Tom Sparling, general manager of Cal-Pac roofing. Tom has been working with residential roofs and solar for 25+ years. Please join me as Tom "tells it like it is" on the rooftop, and opines on the best ways to install rooftop solar panels safely and securely.

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