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Can Solar Panels be Detached and Reinstalled?

Yes, solar panels can be detached and reinstalled for various reasons. The process involves assessing damage with thermal drones, reusing functional components, and ensuring proper insurance and warranty coverage to maintain system performance and longevity.

Today, we’re diving into solar panel detaches and reinstalls, covering why they happen, insurance implications, and costs. Let’s explore the common reasons, insurance details, reusability of equipment, and more.

Most Common Reasons for Detach and Reinstall (DNR) in Texas

Can solar panels be detached and reinstalled? The most common reasons we see for DNR are:

  • Extreme Weather: Texas frequently experiences severe weather such as tornados, extreme wind speeds, etc. which can all cause damage to roofing.
  • Hail: Texas hailstorms can be severe, causing significant damage to roofing and/or solar panels.
  • Poor Quality Installs: Some installations don’t meet quality standards and need to be rebuilt for better energy results. Such installations are usually completed by unlicensed, and non-reputable installers which is why it’s important to conduct research when looking for solar companies. Good Faith Energy is a company you can trust. They are the highest rated solar company in Texas with the highest levels of certification and are fully licensed and insured.
Solar Panel Detach & Reinstall: Costs, Insurance & Tips

How Do We Determine Which Panels Need to Be Replaced?

We use a thermal drone. For a full explanation from our drone expert, Frans, check out our thermal drone interview below. To sum it up, we fly a super cool drone to examine your roof better than most insurance companies, which sometimes don’t even get on your roof before giving you an understated coverage amount—leaving you paying more out of pocket. Lame!

Using Thermal Drones for Solar Insurance Claims

Can solar panels be detached and reinstalled effectively? Yes, thermal drones are cutting-edge technology that allows us to detect even the smallest issues with your solar panels. By capturing detailed thermal images, we can identify hot spots and other problems that are not visible to the naked eye. This ensures a thorough inspection and accurate assessment of the damage, leading to better repair decisions.

thermal drone shot of solar panels

Is Solar Covered by Insurance?

Most importantly, solar is not always covered by default. Sometimes it is, but check with your insurance provider and don’t assume. It can cost about $50 a year to cover solar, but it is an add-on. Once it’s covered, a solar insurance claim isn’t different from a roof claim. They’re generally coupled together in the same claim.

Warranty coverage should be added as soon as possible. Good Faith Energy recently reinstalled 95% of the panels on a less-than-six-month-old system due to hail, and the homeowner did not cover PV under insurance. The amazing project manager team at Good Faith Energy will help you ensure your panels are covered as your install approaches.

Can You Re-use the Same Solar Equipment During a Reinstall?

Unless damaged or nonfunctional, installers will reuse as much of your system as possible. Sometimes, mounting equipment like railing is no longer available, so they switch to something they can get parts for. Often, systems have stripped bolts and other issues that require modernization.

Reusing equipment is cost-effective and environmentally friendly. It reduces waste and helps keep the project within budget. However, it’s crucial to assess each component’s condition carefully to ensure that reusing it won’t compromise the system’s performance or safety.

Can Solar Panels Be Damaged by Reasons Other Than Baseball-Sized Texas Hail?

Hopefully not, but they can get paint scrapes and sometimes chewed up by squirrels, etc. Install, removal, and reinstalls are difficult and indelicate processes, so minor cosmetic damage is common. This is pretty much an unavoidable cost of using a crane. However, it won’t be noticeable from the ground generally, but a thermal drone can detect these damages. If we functionally damage something, we’ll replace it on our dime.

Can Solar Panels be Detached and Reinstalled without Causing Significant Damage?

Other potential sources of damage include falling branches, debris from storms, and even vandalism. While these issues are less common than hail damage, they can still impact the efficiency and lifespan of your solar panels. Regular maintenance and inspections can help identify and address these problems before they become severe.

How Is the Warranty Impacted?

If the original installer is available, use them to save the warranty. For example, if you’re an original GFE customer, the original warranty will stand, but it doesn’t restart. If it’s a PPA with SolarCity, it is highly suggested to contact them for guidance.

Maintaining your warranty is crucial for protecting your investment. Ensure that any work done on your system is performed by certified professionals who follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. This will help avoid any potential issues with warranty claims in the future.

Reengineering can Occur for Many Reasons:

  • Adding capacity or battery(s)
  • If the original system was not installed correctly
  • If you want to change major components due to technology advancements (like a Powerwall 3, for example)

Reengineering might also be necessary if your energy needs have changed since the original installation. As your household grows or your energy consumption patterns shift, you may need to upgrade your system to meet the new demand efficiently.

electrician installing wiring

What Is the Cost of the Detach/Reinstall Versus Getting a Whole New System?

Effectively, it’s the same cost minus major materials. Around 1/3 to 1/2 of the new cost is labor. Sometimes, we recommend customers get a new roof prior to installing their system to avoid more detach and reinstalls in the long run. If we install on a 20-year shingle roof, it can cause more complications later on when it’s time for those shingles to go.

The cost of detach and reinstall can vary based on the system’s size, the extent of the damage, and the complexity of the installation. It’s essential to get a detailed quote and compare it with the cost of a new system to make an informed decision.

Get Expert Assistance for Solar Panel Reinstall

If you have experienced solar panel damage or just roof damage at all due to the Texas storms, contact us today or fill out a service form HERE, whether we installed it or not. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can significantly extend the lifespan of your solar panels and ensure optimal performance. So, can solar panels be detached and reinstalled? Absolutely. Don’t wait until small issues become big problems—reach out to us for expert assistance.