Replacing roof mounted solar panels

lborne

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2009
462
0
Vero Beach, FL
#1
I've had the FAFCO 4 x 20 panels for about 5 years which I've installed myself. They have developed too many leaks over the last season to bother with repairing. I want to replace them with 4 x 10 or 4 x 12 foot ones anyway, since I've never liked how the 20 foot long ones never lie flat.

Can anyone recommend a brand that seems to last? I don't mind using something with slightly less efficiency and am much more interested in longevity.
 

Brentr

LifeTime Supporter
Gold Supporter
Oct 18, 2009
2,514
0
57
Jacksonville, FL
#2
llborne, we went with Aquatherm and had them install them, 20 years on the panels and lifetime transferrable against roof leaks. You should get some estimates. Look at the sig for out solar install.
 

gwegan

TFP Expert
Apr 19, 2013
2,769
0
Sacramento, CA
#3
Any of the major manufacturers will give you five to 10 years of life. Yes, even Fafco. My Fafco have been up two seasons and have zero leaks.

Generally all are sold exclusively through dealers though you can often find used systems on craigslist.

Aquatherm has a system that doesn't penetrate the roof membrane. How that works in Florida from a code standpoint I have no idea.

In the big picture, how a system works for you is determined by panel orientation, panel size, plumbing, your pool orientation, use of a cover, and how you run them. Efficiency of the panels is just one thing in the mix.

I would have a couple of contractors out to give you some estimates and ideas. Then start looking online for used if you want to DIY. You could ask the dealers if they will sell to you without installation. I doubt you will find takers. The big thing you are paying for with the dealers is the warranty.
 

Isaac-1

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 10, 2010
6,711
1
49
SW Louisiana
#4
You may also want to look at underlying causes for the leaks, some of the common causes for panel damage are:

1, Freeze damage when water is trapped in the panel and it freezes.

2, Panels that don't drain when there is no water flow, causing them to over heat.

3, Excessive pressure in the panels during operation either due to back pressure on the line or trying to forced too much water through them, you should have very little pressure at the top of the panels, less than 1 or 2 psi is optimal.

4, Excessive vacuum on the panels when they try to drain.