Installing SolarCity roof panels can add significant value to your home. Homeowners who want to reduce energy costs and use cleaner energy love SolarCity.
Unfortunately, some homeowners have reported roof leaks after getting SolarCity panels installed. So, if you’re dealing with a SolarCity roof leak, you’re not alone.
Roof leaks caused by solar panels are rare, but they do happen. We’ve put together this guide to the main causes of SolarCity roof leaks and how to fix them.
SolarCity roof leaks happen due to drilling, existing roof damage, or roofing materials. Inspecting your roof before installation and regular maintenance can help to prevent leaks. You should block SolarCity roof leaks with roof cement or tarp before reaching out to the seller.
Causes Of SolarCity Roof Leak
If your roof has started leaking after installing SolarCity panels, it’s likely down to 1 of 3 reasons:
1. Installation Gone Wrong
Installing SolarCity panels means drilling holes in your roof. This could lead to roof leaks.
To avoid leaks with SolarCity roof panels, there should be no holes or gaps where the panels meet the roof. We have seen leaks happen in the past because solar panels have gaps around the brackets. Sometimes, the drill holes are not filled all the way, so water has space to get through.
2. Wrong Roof Materials for Panels
Some roof materials may be more likely to lead to leaks compared to others. While some materials are okay for drilling through, others (like clay tiles) are not.
You should not get solar panels if you have weak or brittle materials on your roof. This is one of the biggest causes of solar panel leaks we have seen.
3. Weak Roof Construction
Even if your roof materials are compatible with solar panels, if it’s an old roof, it may be weak in some areas. Weak spots in your roof can make it easier for leaks to develop.
We have seen cracks form around drill holes made during installation before. This is one of the most common causes of leaks.
Avoiding Roof Leaks With SolarCity Panels
1. Check Roof Condition
Before paying a contractor to install SolarCity roof panels, inspect your roof.
Check that none of the roofing looks worn or damaged, and make sure none of the tiling is made out of clay. This is a fragile material that you must not drill through.
2. Replace Roofing if Necessary
If you have clay tiles or damage, replace or fix these issues before getting SolarCity panels.
We understand that roofing replacement can be expensive. Still, it’s best to pay extra for better roofing rather than paying a professional to fix a leaking roof.
The second option can often be more expensive. This is especially true if the leak damages other parts of your home.
3. Roof Aftercare
You can avoid SolarCity roof leaks by taking care of your roof after getting the panels.
Check on the condition of your roof and solar panels regularly. Solar panels are self-cleaning, so you shouldn’t need to do much work in this area.
Yet, debris can collect on and around the panels, putting more stress on your roof, so it’s important to stay on top of this.
Fixing Your SolarCity Roof Leak
There is a small chance that your SolarCity panel installation could lead to a roof leak. Rarely, this can happen even when you do everything right. Here’s what to do if this happens:
1. Block the Source of the Leak
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a temporary solution to the leak.
If you can get on the roof, or hire a professional to do so, look at the brackets holding the solar panels in place. This is where the panels attach to the roof and tends to be a source of leaks.
You can start by applying some roof cement to any gaps that are allowing water through the roof. This video walks you through the process.
If you can get power another way, you can also try covering the roof (including the panels) with tarp. This stops the panels from working but blocks the leak.
2. Contact the Vendor
You can email or text SolarCity and explain that you have a roof leak caused by your solar panels. To fix the leak, the company will need to remove the panels.
In our experience, independent contractors may not remove the panels. This is because it could cause warranty issues. It’s best to ask SolarCity to remove the panels before having another contractor come in to fix the leak.
If they agree to take off the panels, you don’t have to worry about voiding your warranty. But, if someone else takes them off without SolarCity’s consent, you could run into issues.
3. File A Claim with Homeowners Insurance
If the vendor won’t remove the solar panels, you should file a claim with homeowners insurance. This way, as long as your policy covers roof repairs, the company will fix the problem and reimburse you.
Your insurance claim will only be helpful if the damage is because of poor installation. Leaks due to general wear and tear or lack of maintenance on your part will not be covered.
It’s usually better to file a claim in this way instead of removing the panels yourself or hiring a contractor. This way, you won’t have to worry about voiding your warranty.
If you have a leak after getting SolarCity panels, you should start by blocking the source of the leak. Use roof cement if it’s minor, or tarp for more significant leaks.
Contact SolarCity about your issue. Ask them to remove the panels so that a contractor can fix the leak. If this does not lead to a resolution, file a claim with homeowners’ insurance.
Your insurance will only cover you if the person installing the panels caused the leak. It might also cover you if the inspector missed existing damage.