Solar SNAFU?

We had our solar audit on Monday. This is where site auditors come to your house, explore your attic, crawl around on your roof, and do whatever they need to do to get the information they need to bring back to the structural engineer, who designs your system. Of course we didn’t get the crawl-around-on-your-roof part done because our roof had a big snowdrift on it, but that’s not the important part. The important part is that we might have encountered a solar SNAFU.

Our roof has to be reinforced so it can support the weight of the solar panels. This is pretty common, from what I understand. The issue is that for years Ben and I have thought that eventually, we might finish our unfinished attic and add one or two bedrooms and a bathroom up there. The added space would be good for us when Soren gets older and/or good for resale value, should we ever decide to move (not likely). The problem is that we’re not sure how the structural engineer is going to want to reinforce the roof.

Here are my awesome renditions of how roof reinforcement might happen.

my awesome roof support diagram

The first option (or an option that doesn’t involve beams running from the ceiling to the floor) would be fine, but the second option would not, because support beams placed like that would eliminate the possibility of adding living space to the attic. We’re thinking that if we have to choose solar panels or the potential to finish the attic, we’d probably go with the attic — but we’re not totally sure.

For now, we just have to wait (my favorite) and see what they design. I’ll keep you posted!