Adding Solar Panels to an Aluminum Patio Cover: Can It Be Done?

A solar panel is a perfect green and cost-cutting solution for your home. Patio covers are the best locations to receive maximum sunlight and thus capitalize on solar energy. Not only are solar panels environment-friendly, but they can also be a stylish addition to your household. 

Most patio covers are made of wood, aluminum, and vinyl. And if you are wondering if you can mount solar panels to your aluminum patio cover, the short answer is yes! This can be done, but only when taking certain factors into account and checking with needed resources. 

In this article, we are taking a close look at what you need to ensure before you get started with a solar panel installation plan.

Why are Patio Covers a Prime Location for Solar Panels?

As we have established, patio covers are an excellent location choice to install solar panels as they offer a shady nook while harnessing the best of solar energy. 

They can either be directly mounted by integrating with the design of a new patio space or if it is an old structure, it can be installed on top of the existing cover.

There are several factors that you need to take into consideration before you get into installing a solar panel. A solar panel is going to be a near-permanent addition, and you need to ensure that it is located in the right orientation, shade, and of course, the strength of the structure. 

To summarize, solar panels can be the best solution to maximize solar energy while also cutting down your electricity bill. There are also specific solar patio kits offered by most manufacturers which can be a fitting way to install solar panels customized to your patio size and configuration. 

You probably already know the top benefits that solar panels can provide for you, such as decreased energy bills, off-the-grid reliability, and positive environmental effects. Solar Reviews has created a wonderful video explaining the additional benefits of using solar panels. 

Solar Panels on an Aluminum Patio Roof: Exploring Possibilities

Most solar panels require a sturdy and strong support system to be mounted. Solar panels can be quite heavy and might put extra load on the substructure below. When it comes to aluminum roofing, it tends to be quite lightweight and is not well supported often. 

Due to the lightweight and malleability of aluminum roofing, it might not be the best opinion to mount solar panels directly.

However, if the aluminum roofing is well-supported and strong, it would be advisable to consult an engineer and proceed with the installation. 

Aluminum patio roofs these days also come with a combination of materials which makes them a very viable option for mounting solar panels. 

Solar panels are typically mounted on separate railings or support systems above the roof structure, while it is entirely not advisable to mount these panels directly on an aluminum roofing, with strong support, it is totally possible. 

When an awning is involved, it might be ideal to convert it into a more sturdy structure to ensure the proper installation of solar panels. 

While installing panels, ensure there is no gap between the panel and the roof structure to avoid water seepage and maintenance issues. 

The only way to know for sure is to have a structural engineer or consultant inspect the roofing and support system for you. Once it has been established that you have sufficient support and you get the green signal from the engineer, choose the right solar panels depending on your home’s power grid and energy needs. Don’t forget to also check with your local government guidelines, HOA, and permitting authorities.

Once you have the correct recommendations in hand the next step is a walk in the park!

Before we wrap up, there are a few pointers to keep in mind before installing solar panels on your patio cover roof, aluminum, or otherwise.

Firstly, the structure needs to be strong enough to bear the load of the solar panel. It should not be another load on your main house structure as it would start to sag and start showing cracks and leaks.

Secondly, the ideal angle is always a 45-degree orientation to gain maximum exposure to the sun. It would also be ideal to ensure the structure is facing southwards compared to the north direction. 

If the orientation of your patio is not at this ideal angle, ensure that there is no blockage to the roof structure to prevent it from receiving ample sunlight.

It would be good to ensure the support structure is painted in black or dark colors.  

Follow these measures to ensure maximum sunlight is reflected on the solar panel surface to ensure maxim energy usage and performance. 

So now that everything is crystal clear, it is finally time to go green and help the environment (and your pocket!)

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