Complete Guide: How Much Does a Solar Panel Weigh?

July 12, 2023

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Are you a property owner asking, how much does a solar panel weigh? This is a vital concern for many people thinking of investing in solar! One reason is that your property might be older and not able to manage added weight. Two, you might wonder if panels are so heavy that they risk sliding off the roof!

On average, a standard 60-cell solar panel weighs between 40 to 50 pounds. These panels typically measure around 39 inches by 66 inches. However, larger or higher wattage panels might weigh around 50 to 60 pounds and measure up to 72 inches tall.

If this seems like a lot of weight for your roof to manage, keep reading! Knowing a little bit more about solar panels, racking systems, and roof strength is invaluable. You can use this information to help you make an informed decision about solar installation. Lastly, remember that solar installation contractors are often very helpful when it comes to learning about solar power!

how much does a solar panel weigh

How Much Does a Solar Panel Weigh, on Average?

Solar panel weight varies depending on its size, type, and manufacturer. However, a standard 60-cell solar panel, commonly used for residential installations, typically weighs between 40 to 50 pounds, as said.

On the other hand, larger panels with more cells, often designed for commercial or utility-scale installations, weigh significantly more. For example, a 72-cell solar panel may weigh around 50 to 60 pounds or more.

Additionally, solar panel weights vary depending on their technology. Standard crystalline silicon solar panels are heavier than newer thin-film solar panels. Thin-film panels, as you might expect, are typically lighter and more flexible. These are excellent for smaller homes or other outbuildings.

Are Solar Panels Very Heavy?

While you might think that 50-pound solar panels seem heavy, compare those panels to other building materials. Asphalt shingles usually weigh around 3 pounds per square foot. These shingles are often sold in “bundles,” which weigh about 70 pounds each.

Also, note that vinyl floor tiles typically weigh about 2.5 to 3 pounds per square foot. Many stores sell these in 20-square-foot boxes. In turn, a box of floor tiles might weigh about 45-60 pounds on average!

Lastly, note that a solar panel installation contractor rarely works on his or her own. Instead, most companies have at least two contractors working on any installation. In turn, you can trust that they’ll handle those panels with care!

Can My Roof Handle the Weight of Solar Panels?

Wondering if a roof can handle the weight of solar panels is a vital concern! Roofing materials often weaken over time, making them more prone to damage. Also, adding new roofing layers without removing the old can bring a roof to its weight capacity.

In turn, a property owner should determine their roof’s capacity before deciding on a solar panel installation. Note a few important tips that can help:

  • Consider consulting with a structural engineer or a professional roofing contractor experienced in solar installations. He or she can assess the roof's structure and provide an expert opinion about its load-bearing capacity.
  • If possible, review your property’s building plans blueprints. These can offer needed information about the roof's design and load-bearing capabilities. Most county clerk’s offices have these available for review.
  • Consider the roof’s age and condition overall. Look for signs of sagging, water damage, or weakened areas. These can tell you if the roof is too weak for a solar installation.
  • Note the roof’s construction and materials and their weight capacity. For example, flat roofs are designed to support heavier loads than pitched roofs. Steep slopes might also need added bracing to support heavy solar panels.
  • If possible, check the strength and condition of supporting structures, such as trusses, beams, or rafters. These materials play a crucial role in distributing weight across the roof. Trusses and rafters in good condition are capable of handling additional loads.
  • Don’t forget to check local building codes and regulations! Some codes might include requirements and restrictions regarding roof loads and solar panel installations.

how much does a solar panel weigh

What Should I Consider Before Installing Solar Panels?

Before installing solar panels, you might discuss the following with your installer:

  • Available sunlight impacts the efficiency and productivity of your solar panels. In turn, you should assess your property's solar energy potential. Consider available sunlight, shading from trees or buildings, and the roof’s tilt.
  • Determine your property’s energy needs. Evaluate your average electricity consumption and if you’ll need more in the future. For instance, might you purchase an electric vehicle or add new appliances? This information helps determine the right size and number of solar panels to install.
  • Read up on local regulations, building codes, and permits required for solar panel installations. Specific requirements or restrictions might limit your solar panel installation options.
  • When considering solar panel costs, don’t overlook available incentives such as tax credits or rebates. This includes federal and state tax credits and local city incentives as well!
  • Ask about the requirements for connecting your solar system to the electrical grid. For instance, some areas don’t allow homes to disconnect from the grid entirely. In turn, you might not need solar batteries with your installation.

How Do I Know My Home’s Roof Can Hold Solar Panels?

Your solar installation contractor can assess a home’s roof for needed strength. In the meantime, note some factors they take into account, so you know what to expect:

  • Consider the orientation and tilt of your roof. A roof facing south, southeast, or southwest receives maximum sunlight throughout the day. Also, roof slopes at 15 degrees or less are generally acceptable.
  • Note that cast shadows on your roof, such as trees, nearby buildings, or chimneys. Shading reduces solar panel efficiency. Also, don’t overlook seasonal changes in the sun's position.
  • If possible, measure the roof space available for the panels. Note anything in the way like vents, skylights, or dormers.
  • Note the roof’s age and condition. If your roof needs significant repairs, contractors recommend addressing those issues before installing solar panels.
  • When verifying that your roof is structurally sound and can support the additional weight of solar panels, remember snow and ice loads. These can add significant weight during winter months.
  • Can you access your roof easily for future maintenance and cleaning? Property owners should brush off those panels frequently to ensure maximum effectiveness. In turn, you’ll want to be able to reach them easily.

Why Should I Repair My Roof Before Installing Solar?

Contractors cannot simply work around solar panels when performing roof repairs. Instead, they usually need to remove the racking systems on which solar panels sit. Then, after repair completion, they need to reinstall those panels.

This work often adds to your roof repair costs. Also, you might need to contact a solar installation contractor to remove and reinstall them! In turn, contractors recommend you address needed repairs before solar panel installation.

A Word From Our Team

Go Solar Energy Texas is happy to help explain, how much does a solar panel weigh? Hopefully, we’ve given you some good information! Also, if you’re in the state, call our Texas solar panel installation contractors. We’re happy to provide you with a FREE installation quote and explain all your solar options. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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