If you’re thinking about getting home solar, you’ll most likely get solar panels placed on the roof of your home. Here’s why.
- Your roof receives the most direct sunlight for the longest period of time than anyother part of your property.
- The panels are unobtrusive sitting on your roof. You won’t be able to see them, and where possible they will be placed on the back slope of your roof.
- They don’t take up any space you want to use for other things. If you’ve got lots of open property, this may not be an issue for you.
Here are some things to consider when evaluating your roof for solar:
Age of your roof
Examine your roof to check for weather damage or wear and tear. If it’s been more than 20 years since your roof has been tended to, a specialist should look at your roof. Since solar panels have long lifespans (30 years), the wise decision would be to do any roof updates that will need to be done before the installation. That way, once your solar system is up and running on top of your home you won’t have to think about anything and just let your system create your family’s electricity.
Solar panels take about one square foot of space for every 10 watts the system will produce. Therefore, if you want 3000 watts produced on your home, you will needabout 300 square feet of open space on your roof for panels. This means planning your system’s design around any fireplace chimneys that would block the panels. However, even if you install a smaller system that doesn’t cover all of your energy needs, the solar system will still offset some of your utility charges…allowing you to make the most of a small roof space and still creating some renewable energy.
Direction of your Roof
The most effective solar panels are on roofs that face south in the Northern Hemisphere, that way the solar panels get maximum exposure to sunlight. Houses that face east or west can still generate solar power and an installer will alert you if your house fits in this category.
Type of Roof
Installers have been doing solar for many years and are well educated in the different types of roofs that are supportive of solar. The easiest type of roof for installers to work on are composite shingle roofs and the most difficult ones are wood-shake roofs. Massachusetts’ popular roofing option of slate roofs are not compatible with solar installations. In general, most roofs can hold solar panels but there may be added fees for more equipment on steep angled roofs.
Angle of Roof
The angle of your roof can make a difference in your solar system’s price. For example, the steeper your roof is the harder it is for installers to navigate and install the panels. Installers may add on extra charges if your roof is incredibly steep and hard to work on, but you will still get solar panels. Flat roofs require more equipment because of the reverse tilt that goes on under thebrackets to tilt the panels to make sure as much sun hits them as possible. Usually a 5% to 10% tilt is adequate.
Making sure there are no objects blocking the sun from hitting the solar panels is very important. If surrounding trees are proving to create shade, you do have some options.
As the foundation of solar panels, investigating and investing in your roof before hand is always agood idea. Once you do so the next step is taking the plunge into solar panels and reducing your dependency on dirty forms of energy!