Installing solar panels is a move that requires a lot of thought and calculations. For example, you should consider whether the venture will actually help you save money, or if it is truly worth it in the long run. However, there are also certain technical questions that you should raise before making any decisions. ‘Is my roof solar compatible in the first place?’ is one of them.
Read on to find out whether your roof qualifies for a solar system and how installing panels will really affect it.
Roof and Solar Panel Compatibility
Since solar power is still a fairly new energy source that not many are taking advantage of, most roofs aren’t made to accommodate PV panels. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that you can’t install them at all. Instead, it just means that you will have to make certain adjustments before putting up the system.
Here are the most important factors that you need to consider if you’re thinking about going solar.
The Roof Material
Contrary to popular belief, most roofing materials are compatible with solar panels. That includes asphalt shingles or composite roofs, which are the most common type of roof in the US. In essence, as long as the material is sturdy enough to sustain the installation process and carry the panels afterward, your roof will be fine.
The only materials that aren’t a good combination with solar panels are wood and slate. These materials are too brittle and delicate, meaning that technicians would have trouble installing them. Furthermore, the panels would have nothing solid to cling to, making the installation process impossible.
For the panels to be efficient and generate enough power for your house, your roof needs to be tilted at a particular angle. Otherwise, the sunlight won’t be able to hit the panels, rendering them ineffective.
Most solar experts agree that the ideal tilt for solar panels is about 30 degrees. This number equals a roof pitch of about 7/12. Put simply, the height of your roof should increase by 7 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal space.
Now, you should not take these numbers at face value. For example, if your roof is angled at about 35%, your panels will still be efficient and produce enough energy. In fact, as long as the tilt does not exceed 40%, you can confidently install a solar system on your roof.
On average, most US homes require solar systems of about 5 kilowatts. Such systems take up at least 300 feet of surface area, although slightly more would be preferable. However, it is also important to take into account any chimneys or other structures that might present a problem for the installation of the necessary number of panels.
Solar panels work most efficiently when they face true south, at least in the Northern hemisphere. That way, they receive the most sunlight and can generate the largest amount of energy throughout the day.
Thus, you need to calculate where true south is compared to your home, and whether your roof can face it.
The Shade Surrounding the Roof
Finally, you should also consider whether your roof actually receives enough sunlight for solar panels to be effective. For example, if tall buildings surround your home, they probably block out the majority of sunlight from reaching it. In that case, the panels will be a lot less efficient. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about such permanent sources of shade.
On the other hand, if there are many trees towering over your roof, you should ensure the panels can fit and work properly by cutting some of those trees. In the end, it’s important that the sun can reach the panels with little to no obstructions.
Contact Atlantic Key Energy
Naturally, no one expects you to be a solar expert and figure out whether your roof is solar compatible on your own. Luckily, all you have to do is find a trusted solar provider and get a quote. We can inspect your roof, make all the necessary calculations, and help you make sure that going solar is truly in your best interest.