Can I Remove My Solar Panels?

Whether you need to replace a panel or get rid of your solar system entirely, you may want to take the panels down at some point. Is it even possible?

Solar panel removal is one hundred percent possible as long as you have professional help to do it. While it is possible to remove them on your own, you could be stuck dealing with problems like holes in the roof or damaged equipment if you don’t know how to do it properly.

Though it is sometimes necessary, solar panel removal can be both expensive and time consuming. Here are a few things to know before jumping in.

Reasons for removal

There are a variety of reasons to need to get your solar panels removed. However, you may have different needs depending on the circumstances.

A common reason for removal is repair and replacement. Solar panels are built to withstand extreme weather conditions so on the whole, they’re pretty durable. However, as with any household appliance, it will require replacing at some point, usually every 30-45 years if they are high quality and well taken care of. Damage is still possible, though, either through extremely severe weather, fallen trees, or something similar. If this is the case, first check the output of the panel. If it is still producing an efficient power supply, you probably won’t need to replace the whole thing. If you care enough about the appearance of your solar panels, though, you can get a professional to replace the glass panel without having to remove it at all. This can cost anywhere from $575 and up.

Another reason for removal could be that you want to bring the system with you when you move, or just get rid of it altogether. While this removal process is fairly straightforward, you will still probably want to hire an electrician to ensure that nobody is injured in the process. The panels are not terribly heavy, but taking them off the roof will likely be a bit tricky.

Getting rid of leased solar panels is another story. Doing so before the lease ends could be a big problem, as you could be held financially or legally responsible for trying to get out of your contract. Either you will have to pay the rest of the expense in full, or your only option may be to buy the entire system. However you cut it, be careful, as you could easily get in legal trouble for going about it the wrong way. If you are getting rid of leased panels, you should be able to get the company’s removal/installation team to remove them for free, as well as check and compensate for any damages that might have occurred over time.

The most difficult removal process will come if and when your roof might need a major repair. It is possible that removing the panels won’t be necessary at all, but if there is major damage done to the roof, chances are the panels will have to come down. It is possible that insurance will not cover the uninstallation and reinstallation of your panels so just be aware of that before getting started.

DIY removal is also possible, but if you want to do it yourself, you will be in for the long haul (it’s a lot of work!) You will have to disconnect all the electrical components, remove the panels without breaking them, remove all electric cabling, and also the racking that holds the panels on the roof. You will also have to repair any holes that the racking left, plus reinstall everything afterward unless your plan is to get rid of the system. So again, it’s very doable, just time consuming and possibly dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.


There are different types of expenses depending on the type and circumstances of your removal. If you are trying to get out of your lease, you could be charged as much as $16,000 dollars for breaking the contract.

ItemCost per PanelTotal Cost
Uninstall and disconnect panels$27-$40$405-$600
Uninstall mounting hardware$40$600
Reinstall: mounting hardware, panels, and system reconnection$27-$50$405-$750
Total Cost$94-$130$1,410-$1,950

This example Is for a roof with about 15 solar panels, and the total cost adds up to roughly $1,410-$1,950 dollars. A larger roof could potentially cost twice that amount, depending on the amount of solar panels. As with any type of removal or installation/reinstallation, make sure you are financially prepared to deal with the costs.

Additionally, there could be other damages or components that will add up as well. If you are planning to replace or upgrade your solar panels, that, combined with reinstallation of the new system, could potentially cost 5-10 times more than the old system. That does not include new racking, damage repair to the roof, and any new parts or installation costs. A good rule to live by when considering any type of removal is to consult a professional. As mentioned before, DIY uninstallation and reinstallation is possible, but it’s always a good idea to at least consult a professional before getting started.

Are solar panels worth it?

There is a lot of debate about this issue because on one hand, solar panels are a great way to conserve energy and even money in the long run. On the other hand, however, it will result in a lot of costly work and trouble to install and maintain your solar system afterwards. Here are a few pros and cons to consider.

Solar panels are great especially for people who live in homes that get a lot of exposure to sunlight, or are off the grid. Having solar panels means that sometimes you can still have electricity even when the power goes out and you don’t have to depend on a power company for much of anything.

On the other end of the spectrum, solar panels can be an extreme bother. For one thing, they are quite expensive up front. Between buying the panels themselves and paying to have them installed, you will likely pay a pretty penny for this. Additionally, they are expensive to replace, cannot always be depended on, and when they or the roof need repairing, it costs even more money to uninstall, repair, and reinstall the panels.

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