Painting the roof and solar – it can be a disaster

What the Guru says

I'm thinking of painting my roof, but I'm also thinking about putting solar. They take about six months to paint. Should I put my solar on first? What's your advice?

Stop what you're doing. Roof painters are not renowned for accuracy and they've been way too many stories about terracotta colored solar panels, which is never a good thing. Do the roof painting first. Do the solar panel second.

Roof painting before solar or vice versa?

In Australia, there is a fondness for roof painting of mainly terracotta or cement tiles. The reason is that these tiles fade and look washed out after a few decades on our hot roofs and strong UV.

There are companies specialised in roof restoration, and such a repaint job is surprisingly affordable. Often below $2000. Unfortunately, regularly such companies do not employ the smartest tools in the shed. Therefore if there is solar already installed on the roof before the paint job. It is strongly advisable to have a professional solar company uninstall the panels and racking so that they do not get paint spray residue on them.

builder painting the roof
Fine paint overspray mist can settle on solar panels and severely affect output generation

Can’t I cover my Panels?

Even if the panels are not removed and properly covered – so no paint overspray mist can reach them. There could be an issue in future years. Imagine you remove the solar system or change its shape and position. You will now have a different-looking roof surface in the area where the panels were located.

So the smartest long-term solutions are:

  1. If you have solar and want your roof painted. Get a professional to remove the panels and frames and then re-install them after the roof has been painted
  2. If you have not painted your roof as yet, but planning to do so in the near future, hold off on your solar purchase till the roof restoration is completed.

One consideration: Many solar panel warranty conditions say that the product warranty becomes null and void if the panels are moved.

We suggest contact the panel manufacturer of your specific brand and explain that you are using a professional installer to remove the panel for the purpose of a roof repair, and therefore this particular clause should not apply.

In most cases the manufacturer will be understanding of your issue and is likely to support the request.

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