Is Your Roof Suitable for a Solar Panel Installation?

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According to the Department of Energy, there are over 8 billion square meters of rooftops suited to solar panel installations in the USA. Together, these residential installations could produce over 1 Terawatt of electricity.

If you read between the lines, that means not every roof in the country suits solar power.

Are you considering going solar? Your roof can impact every aspect of your solar panel installation. Keep reading to find out if your roof allows you to enjoy the benefits of solar panels at your home.

The Best Types of Roofing for Solar Panels?

The Best Types of Roofing for Solar Panels

Most types of common roofing materials are suitable for installing solar panels. Asphalt shingles are the most widespread type of roofing in the U.S., so it's a good thing they work well with solar panels.

Overall, standing seam metal roofs work best with solar panels, but that's only because it's easy to install solar on these types of roofs.

You can usually install PV panels regardless of the type of roof you have. If you have a wood or slate roof, you'll need to hire specialists who know how to install solar panels on these roofs.

Flat roofs work well for solar panels, too, as long as you make adjustments for the pitch of the solar panels.

The average solar panel installation weighs about 600 lbs, which is well within the range of what most roofs can support. It's still important to check your roof's load-bearing capacity before you commit to an installation.

Reputable solar installers will take this into account when they evaluate your home's potential for solar. If your roof can't support the load, you might need to reinforce it.

Your installer will need to drill holes into your roof before securing the mounting panels. So, they must ensure this aspect doesn't affect your roof's structural integrity.

If you need to replace your roof soon, it's best to do this before you install solar panels.

Is Your Roof Pitch Suited to Solar Panel Installation?

Solar panels work most efficiently when they're installed at an angle of 30°. So if you're installing panels on a flat roof, your installer will attach the PV panels to angled brackets that make up for your roof's low slope.

If your roof has a 40° pitch, it will only decrease your panels' output by 1%, but any steeper than that probably won't allow for complete independence from the grid.

That doesn't mean you can't install solar power. You can still enjoy the benefits of sustainable energy using a PPA, but you won't save as much on your electricity bill.

Is Your Roof Facing the Right Direction for Solar Panels?

Is Your Roof Facing the Right Direction for Solar Panels

In the Northern Hemisphere, it's best if your solar panels face true south, i.e. toward the South Pole. Magnetic south refers to the direction indicated by a compass, which isn't the same thing.

When solar panels face true south, they'll receive direct sunlight most of the day.

In many cases, it's beneficial if your solar panels face slightly southwest. That's because these panels will maximize energy from the setting sun toward the end of the day when you need more electricity.

The direction your roof faces can also affect the price of solar panels. Unless each solar panel can produce electricity at the highest levels possible, you'll need more panels to power your home.

Is Your Roof Large Enough for Your Solar Needs?

The size of your roof is another factor that can impact the price of your solar installation.

Most homes in the U.S. require at least a 5 kW solar installation to meet the energy needs of the average homeowner. This size installation requires at least 300ft of roof space to accommodate the necessary solar panels.

A large square roof makes for easy installation, but you must take the location of structural factors like chimneys and dormers into account, too.

A solar contractor can advise you whether your roof suits the size installation you need and give you advice on how to cut your home's electricity consumption if necessary.

Can You Install Solar Anywhere Else on Your Property?

If your roof doesn't make the grade when it comes to solar panel installation, that doesn't mean you need to give up your hopes of harnessing sustainable energy.

An expert solar installer can help you set up a ground-mount installation if you have enough available space in your yard.

Alternatively, you can team up with your community to install solar panels in a central location and share the output. You could also arrange with a neighbor to share their solar energy.

Thanks to net metering, you can install fewer panels and still make use of grid power when necessary. This can help decrease your electricity bill and still helps the environment.

Does Your Roof Get Enough Sunlight? 

Modern PV panels can function efficiently despite a little shade, but even the best solar panels require direct sunlight for maximum energy production.

If tall buildings, chimneys, or trees cast shadows on your roof for most of the day, your solar panels can't produce electricity at maximum efficiency levels.

There are some types of solar panels that work better in shade, and your installer can advise you about these after conducting a shade analysis. These panels cost a little more, so it's important to figure out whether the additional output justifies the cost.

Make the Most of Modern Innovation 

Make the Most of Modern Innovation

Whether your roof is ideal for solar panels, or you need to make an alternative arrangement, you'll find a solar panel installation pays itself off before too long.

Not only will it save you money, increase the value of your home, and spare you from power outages, but increased sustainable energy installations are our best defense against global warming.

Are you interested in more beneficial lifestyle tips? Browse our blog for more useful information on factors that may influence your daily life.

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