Removing Solar Panels to Replace Roof Cost Guide
Updated: 28 Jun 2022
Removing Solar Panels to Replace Roof
Updated: Jul 29, 2021
Reviewed by Adam Graham remodeling expert. Written by Fixr.com.
Solar panels provide affordable electricity for many homes. This energy source is popular today and provides an efficient source of reliable, renewable, and clean energy because these systems generate their own power. Solar panels allow you to save money by paying less to the electric company to use less of the electric grid. They also may allow you to get a tax credit from the federal government. Unfortunately, adding solar panels to your home’s roof means higher maintenance costs because the panels must first be removed before replacing your roof.
The national average cost for removing 14 to 16 solar panels for a 1,500 sq.ft. roof is between $2,800 and $4,800. Most people pay around $3,800 to remove, disconnect, and reinstall 15 panels after the roof is replaced. At the low end of the spectrum, however, you can opt only to have 15 solar panels disconnected and removed for $1,500. At the high end, you can pay up to $18,000 to have 15 solar panels removed, the roof completely replaced, and the panels reinstalled.
Cost to Remove Solar Panels
|Solar Panel Removal Cost|
|National average cost||$3,800|
Cost to Remove Solar Panels From a Roof by Number of Panels
The cost to remove solar panels for a roof replacement is $200 to $300 per panel. This includes disconnecting the system, removing the panels and equipment, and reinstalling them with an inspection after replacing the roof. These costs sometimes cover small replacement parts for fasteners or connectors, ensuring your system is in good condition once back on.
Because homes have many sizes of solar panel systems, you can have a wide range of panels installed on your home. Therefore, the cost to remove them from your roof for a roof replacement can vary. Below are the average costs to remove and reinstall the panels after a roof replacement based on the number of panels.
|Number of Panels||Cost|
|1 Panel||$200 - $300|
|8 Panels||$1,600 - $2,400|
|10 Panels||$2,000 - $3,000|
|12 Panels||$2,400 - $3,600|
|16 Panels||$3,200 - $4,800|
|20 Panels||$4,000 - $6,000|
|24 Panels||$4,800 - $7,200|
|30 Panels||$6,000 - $9,000|
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Labor Cost to Remove Solar Panels to Replace a Roof
On average, the cost of removing and reinstalling 14 to 16 solar panels from a 1,500 sq.ft. roof is $2,800 to $4,800, not including roof replacement. Labor makes most of the cost. It generally takes around 1 to 2 days to disconnect and remove the panels and another 2 to 3 days to replace them once the new roof is installed. The panel type does not impact the timeframe. Removing a roof is best undertaken by a licensed and certified roofing professional. In most cases, the company that replaces your roof won’t be the company that removes your panels. However, some companies offer roofing and solar panel services.
Removing the panels is easy to do, but a skilled contractor should do it. The most important thing for a contractor to do is to disconnect the solar system from the power supply, including the grid, the breakers, and the metering appliance. After this, the individual panels need to be detached from one another. Once all the parts are disconnected, the panels are removed from the rooftop mounting hardware and carefully lowered to the ground. Mounting hardware, electrical cables, and wires are then removed from the roof.
Several factors affect the removal costs. The location of the panels may increase removal costs because contractors may require additional hours or extra laborers for more difficult locations. If your roof pitch is steep, this requires more time and labor to remove the panels and increases costs. Finally, a larger array of solar panel systems takes more time for removal, increasing labor and driving up costs.
Cost to Remove and Reinstall Solar Panels
The most common reason people remove and reinstall solar panels is for roof repair and roof replacement. In either scenario, the average cost is $2,800 to $4,800 to remove the panels and reinstall and inspect the system. Occasionally, solar panels need to be removed for reasons other than roof replacement, such as relocating to a new home or repairing the racks or other inaccessible parts. If you are relocating your panels to a new home, you will have a transport cost with the removal and reinstallation of roughly $50 per panel. For 14 to 16 panels, this makes the total cost of $3,500 to $5,600.
If repairs need to be made to the panels, these are not included in the price of removal and reinstallation. If you plan on moving your panels, this must be stipulated at the sale time. Otherwise, the panels are considered part of the property.
How to Tell If Your Roof Needs to Be Replaced
Even though most roofs only need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years or longer, it is a good idea to have regular inspections, especially if you want to avoid a cold, uncomfortable, and leaky home. Roof inspections help with the early detection of roofing issues. A roof inspector can help you save money by proactively addressing issues before they get out of hand.
If your roof is older than 20 years, particularly if it is an asphalt shingle roof, it may be time to replace it whether you see visible damage or not. If you notice your asphalt shingles cupping or curling, this could indicate that there is water leakage or moisture issues present. Missing or cracked shingles may not indicate that the entire roof needs to be replaced, but they should be replaced as soon as possible. Shingles protect the roof decking. If shingles are missing, this can cause rotting, which exposes your home to leaks.
Sometimes roof issues are not apparent. In these instances, a roofing contractor needs to inspect your roof. For instance, you may have missing granules that make the roof more susceptible to fire. There also may be significant moss or algae growth on your roof. This can be removed with pressure washing. However, if the moss and algae are thick, they may cause roof damage. Excessive growth may indicate that there is a moisture problem.
Visible sunlight in the attic is a very serious issue that needs to be fixed immediately. It exposes your home to serious leaks and roof rot. Openings in the roof make your home less energy-efficient and increase your energy bills. Sometimes these openings come from general wear from an aging roof, but they could also indicate a pest problem. Another major roof issue that needs immediate attention is a sagging roof. This indicates major structural damage that only an experienced roofer can resolve.
Reasons to Remove Solar Panels
While uncommon, there are cases where you may need to remove your solar panels from your home. It is recommended to install new roofing or make repairs before the panels are installed to eliminate these issues. However, problems can occur that may mean you need to remove the panels.
This can include repairing roof damage after the panels were installed or replacing a roof that developed problems after the panel installation. Because solar panels can last for years, some roofs deteriorate.
If your solar panel system is old, outdated, or no longer working, you may want to remove it. You can remove it if it is no longer working or you want to replace it with a newer system. While it is less expensive to move existing panels to a new home than to purchase new panels in some cases, some people may move their panels to a new home.
Tesla Solar Removal Fee
Tesla makes solar panels and solar shingles for residential homes and buildings. If you have Tesla panels, removing them costs the same as other panels - roughly $200 to $300 per panel for removal, permitting, and reinstallation with inspection. However, your project is different if you have solar shingles.
Solar shingles cannot be removed and replaced in the same way. They are part of your roof and removing them damages them. Only remove them to replace the roof with new solar shingles or another roofing material. In this case, you have removal fees of roughly $5 per sq.ft. to disconnect and remove the shingles. Installation costs for the new roof vary depending on your material and roof size.
Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels Cost
If you are interested in solar energy and need a new roof, you may want to compare the cost of solar shingle installations with the cost of a new roof and solar panels. Both projects are costly and labor-intensive and can give you a working solar system that helps offset your energy costs. The average price to install new roof solar shingles ranges from $21 to $25 per square foot, including labor, totaling $31,500 to $37,500 for a 1,500 sq.ft. roof. Compared to installing a shingle roof for $6,960 and adding new solar panels for $12,500 to $17,500for a total of $19,460 to $24,460, this seems to be more cost-effective than installing solar shingles. However, there are benefits to installing both styles beyond costs. First, if your roof is in good condition, you only need to install new panels. Installing solar shingles means removing your existing roof, increasing costs and the project lifespan. However, solar shingles can provide a more subtle appearance. Below are the average costs for the solar shingle and solar panel installations on a 1,500 sq.ft. roof.
|Panels||$12,500 - $17,500|
|Shingles||$31,500 - $37,500|
Talk to local pros to get quotes for your solar panel removal
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Solar Panel Cleaning
The average cost of cleaning solar panels is $15 to $35 per panel. Many people opt to clean their solar panels before reinstalling them. The glass panels get very dirty over time. This interferes with the system’s ability to receive and convert solar energy. Mold or mildew can grow on the panels and block reception. Even bird poop can build up on the panels over time and prevent them from functioning at an optimal rate.
Solar Panel Storage
The average cost of solar panel shipment and off-site storage is around $250. Removing solar panels is a relatively easy process, but a professional needs to do it. The panels contain electrical parts that can easily be damaged if not handled correctly. Panels removed from the roof require a safe storage place to avoid any damage. After all the panels are removed and racked, they are safely bundled and stored onsite. Suppose there is no appropriate storage location at the property. Contractors offer an option to transport and store the panels, racking, and all related hardware offsite at their warehouse for an additional cost.
Solar Panel Repair
The cost to repair solar panel issues can go from $400 to $1,000, depending on the problem. Some of the cheapest repairs are broken glass or loose wiring. Conversely, a broken inverter and damaged tiling are among the most expensive. If a solar panel company sees these types of problems or more with your panels, they need to fix them before reinstalling the panels. When repair issues are extensive, they may encourage you to upgrade the system entirely. This is especially possible if you have a system that is 25 to 30 years old. If possible, it is best to work with the company that installed your panels when making repairs. They will be most knowledgeable about the equipment and the repairs needed.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Roofing. Many solar installation companies do not provide roofing services, although exceptions exist. A few companies, such as Tesla and Certainteed, offer solar roof shingles, but the costs are much higher than replacing a roof and installing solar panels.
- Roof and solar installation. When the solar installation is paired with roof replacement, the solar panels increase the life of the portion of the roof that they cover. When going for solar installation and roof replacement together, you have the added benefit of a new roof. It is highly unlikely that you will need a roof replacement during the lifetime of the installed solar system.
- Warranties. Many companies offer warranty coverage for your roof where the panels are located. The warranty has a minimum duration of 10 years but varies from company to company. At the time of installation and before a contract is signed, confirm with the installation company whether they offer a warranty for the roof and the duration of that warranty.
- Certified professionals. Solar systems and related electrical equipment are complicated and require proper handling to prevent damage and costly future repairs. Only certified solar professionals can remove or reinstall your solar system. Not using certified professionals is unsafe and may void your warranties and your insurance coverage.
- DIY. DIY solar panel removal is a daunting and risky task requiring expertise, skills, and potential certifications to do the job properly. You are responsible for anything that goes wrong. We do not recommend performing this task yourself.
- Solar panel removal companies. If you have solar panels on your roof and you need to have your roof repaired, you will need to contact a solar panel company to remove your panels. It is ideal to contact companies like GoSunPro or Solar Gutters Roofing who specialize in roofing and panels for a much more seamless experience.
- Insurance. Most insurance policies cover the costs to remove and reinstall solar panels, but it pays to do your research and seek out a high-quality contractor for the installation.
- Permit. In some cases, you need a permit to reinstall the panels. This cost is typically included in removing and reinstalling the panels, but this varies by state. Check with your local municipality to find out more information.
- New roof. The cost to remove solar panels for a new roof is the same as removing and reinstalling them for a roof replacement.
- How do you remove solar panels to replace a roof?
Removing solar panels from your home is a relatively easy process, but it is imperative that it is done by a professional. Most insurance companies won’t cover work that’s not expertly done, and amateur work may void the warranty.
- How much does it cost to remove and reinstall solar panels?
On average, removing 14 to 16 solar panels and reinstalling them ranges from $2,800 to $4,800. This does not include the cost required to replace or repair the roof.
- Will a solar company replace my roof?
Possibly. Some companies provide both roofing and solar panel installation services. This could make your roof replacement much easier and possibly save money. However, many solar companies only handle the solar system, and you need a roofer to handle the rest of the project.
- Can I remove my own solar panels?
While it may be technically possible, it is not recommended because the system involves your home’s electrical supply, and the panels and brackets are easily damaged. Your roof may also be damaged in the process, leading to repair costs. It is best to have your solar panels removed by top-rated solar professionals because insurance will likely cover the removal.
- Do solar panels void the roof warranty?
Properly installed and fixed solar panels should not void your roof warranty. Also, the work done for the installment of your solar panels is covered under the warranty offered by the installer.
- Does removing solar panels damage the roof?
If a certified technician removes the solar panels, expect minimum damage. However, if the mounting hardware that holds the panels upright is removed, the exposed openings in the roof must be patched to keep the roof from leaking.
- Can solar panels be removed from a roof?
Yes, solar panels can be removed from the roof. This may be done to replace the roof beneath them or move them to a new location.
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