Man removing solar panels from roof of house.

Solar Panel Removal And Reinstallation: What To Expect

Jun 6, 2022

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Removing solar panels from a roof isn’t something homeowners usually need to think about often once their system is installed. There are a few situations, though, where you might have to remove the panels and hardware from the roof – or possibly remove and replace the entire photovoltaic (PV) system.

The good news: Solar panel reinstallation isn’t that different from installing solar panels, which makes this a routine task for solar company technicians.

Let’s explore the circumstances that might require removing the panels and system from a roof, and we’ll also look at timelines and costs for completing the job. Note: Some solar panels are ground-mounted, making the cost and procedures different from removing roof-mounted panels.

When Homeowners Might Need To Remove And Reinstall Solar Panels

With their long warranties and durability, solar panels can typically run with little else but the occasional cleaning. So why would you need to remove them? Below are some of the most common situations.

Roof Replacement With Solar Panels

In many cases, your solar panels are likely to outlast your roof. If you need a new roof at some point or just need some roof repairs, you might need to remove your solar panels. This will make it easier for a roofer to access the entire area.

Repairing Your PV Array

Though solar panels are durable, it’s possible for them to get damaged. Technicians probably won’t need to remove the entire solar energy system from the roof for something like a damaged panel. However, damaged racking hardware – the structure that supports the solar panels – is more likely to require your solar company to remove the system from the roof.

Fixing Equipment On Your Roof

Many other systems and equipment can be mounted on roofs – HVAC units, satellite receivers, internet cables and utility lines are just a few examples. In some cases, working on these systems might be easier with the solar panels and racking hardware removed.

Removing Leased Solar Panels

Some homeowners lease rather than own their PV systems. If their lease ends or they terminate it for another reason, they’ll have to remove the solar panels and related components. That’s also true if someone buys a home with a leased solar system and they don’t wish to take over the lease – but it’s usually up to the seller to resolve that situation.

Moving Your System To A New Home

If you’ve sold your home, you may want to move your solar panels to a new home rather than installing an entirely new system.

How Techs Remove Solar Panels And Reinstall Them

Installing solar panels is a common task for professional technicians. Removing them isn’t much different. Below, you’ll see how the process works.

Evaluating Your Home And System

Technicians will visit your home to understand what you’re trying to accomplish and how your system is mounted. They’ll also try to anticipate any potential challenges. Be sure to get them connected to any other experts who might be involved, such as HVAC technicians or roofers. If possible, try to work with your original installation company if you had a good experience with them, as they are already familiar with your system.

Removing Solar Panels From The Roof And Storing Them

If your project has a quick timeline, the solar company may be able to keep your solar panels on-site. More complicated or time-consuming projects, though, might require the technicians to move and store your equipment elsewhere. Storage may add cost to the project.

Relocating Your Solar Panels

People will sometimes sell their home, remove the solar panels and reinstall them on their next home. This will also require the solar company to evaluate the new home and make plans to install the solar panels. Sometimes, moving a system to a new home requires new mounting hardware.

Making Repairs To Your Home Or Solar Equipment

At this stage, the experts will be at work on your roof, HVAC, cable, solar equipment or other relevant systems. How much time it takes to complete this stage depends on the nature of the repair, the professionals’ workload and even the weather.

Reinstalling And Reviewing Your Solar System

Once the technicians wrap up their work, it’s time to reinstall your solar panels and reconnect them to the grid. This will likely require a roof inspection from the relevant city agency and the utility company. Your solar company should be able to make these arrangements to ensure that you’re ready to start producing solar energy again.

Solar Panel Removal FAQ

Still a bit unsure about removing solar panels from your home? Here are some frequently asked questions from other homeowners.

Can I remove and reinstall solar panels myself?

Removing and reinstalling solar panels is a straightforward task for pros, but do-it-yourselfers might find it challenging and time-consuming. Even the most dedicated DIY enthusiast is unlikely to have the tools necessary – and you might void your warranty by personally attempting to work on the system. Considering the initial expense of installing solar panels, reinstallation is best left to the pros.

How long does it take to remove and reinstall solar panels?

The project timeline will vary based on various factors. In general, though, removal and reinstallation can take as little as three days for a residential system of 20 kilowatts (kW) or less. Factor in one day to remove the panels, one day to complete the repairs (whether it’s HVAC, complete re-roofing, fixing shingles or fixing racking equipment) and then one more day to reinstall. The break in your renewable energy production should be minimal. If your system or roof is more complicated or repairs more extensive, your panel removal and reinstallation could take significantly longer.

How much does it cost to remove solar panels?

Costs to remove and reinstall solar panels vary based on the condition of the panels, hardware and roof, the weather conditions and the location of your home.

If your racking equipment and inverters are in poor condition, replacing them will add to the price. Rain, snow or wind during the process can also add to the cost, and having a home in a remote location or close to utility equipment can likewise raise your expense.

Can a roofer remove solar panels from my roof?

Not all roofers are experienced in dealing with solar panels, so having a solar company work with your roof can minimize the risk of problems during the removal and reinstallation process. Before making any decisions, consult your roofer and determine how much experience they have with solar panels.

The Bottom Line

Removing and reinstalling solar panels on the same house is a straightforward project that should have you back to producing solar power in a few days. Moving panels to another location can add time, as can bad weather. It’s also best to leave solar panel removal and reinstallation to professional technicians.

Want to know more about life with solar panels on your home? Consult a Rocket SolarSM expert today to learn more!

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