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Do Solar Panels Have To Be On The Roof

Solar Panels And Roof Damage

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Many property owners worry about damaging their roof when installing a solar panel system. These installations will typically last around 30 to 35 years, so its important to make sure installing panels doesnt cause harm to your roof. Fortunately, roof damage as a result of a solar panel installation is extremely rare because installers take precautionary steps while installing panels to prevent leaks and other damage from occurring.

Your Roof Value May Increase

If you plan to sell your home or business in the future, a solar installation can be a great help. With more people looking to go green more today than ever before, knowing that a property owner has invested in solar power can be a huge advantage. Your roof that was worth $9000 before may now be worth twice that just because you invested in a solar system.

The bottom line is this Having solar panels installed on your roof not only helps you keep your electric bill down and is safer for the environment, but you can significantly increase your overall home value just from having the installation done. Best of all, with modern installation practices, you no longer have to worry about holes, tears and other damage to your roof.

Guest Author: Tom Masters of Shelton Roofing

Roof Steepness Matters Too

Though less impactful than the roof orientation, the angle of solar panels also affects production. The goal is to maximize sunlight that hits the panels at a perpendicular angle. If the panels are to be mounted flush with the roof, then the steepness, called roof pitch, decides the angle of the solar panels.

The ideal angle for south-facing panels here in the U.S. is between 30 and 40 degrees . The systems latitude will determine what the exact best angle is for solar production. Steeper angles have the added benefit of helping with maintenance, as snow and debris tend to slide right off.

East- and west-facing panels generate more energy when mounted flatter than 30 degrees. For example, east or west-facing solar panels that are at a 15-degree tilt trail the production of south-facing panels by 15% instead of 20% when at a 30-degree tilt.

Sub-optimal roof pitch can be corrected by constructing a mounting system that angles the panels to a preferred tilt, but this typically comes at a premium. Homes with flat roof are often able to utilize ballast-mounted systems, which have the added benefit of not requiring roof penetrations or additional racking.

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Best Solar Panel Systems For A Home

It can be difficult to find the best solar panels on the market in the UK, as there are so many different brands and models to choose from. The answer to what are the best solar panels for my home? will differ from household to household. It depends on whether you are focused on efficiency, power, size, or durability.

To help you, we have compiled a list of the 10 best solar panels in the UK.

The Condition Of Your Roof

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Does your roof need to be replaced just because youre switching to solar? Well, not really. But if you look at it more logically, its better to assess the condition of your roof before you make any decisions.

Itll save you a whole lot of trouble and money.

As long as there is enough sunlight and space, solar panels can be installed on almost any roof. The average solar panel weighs around 40 lbs.

However, if your roof is too weak or damaged, it may end up slumping under the weight of the panels.

Your roof may seem like just a collection of shingles and tiles, but the structure is way more complicated than that. Your roof is made up of multiple layers that all help insulate and cover your house.

Generally, a typical roof is made of:

  • Roof truss
  • Shingles or tiles
  • Wooden frame

If any of these components are damaged, it will affect the whole structure of your roof. So, how does one know if the roof is damaged?

The signs are all there on your roof, you just need to look for them.

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Solar Doesnt Always Involve Holes In Your Roof

If youre still concerned about having holes in your roof to mount your solar panels, there are some less common ways to still benefit from rooftop solar energy. One popular option is to install solar roof tiles or solar shingles, which integrate the electricity-generating capacity of photovoltaics right into your roof shingles and eliminate the need for mounting traditional panels. While this option has many aesthetic benefits, costs are still high and the technology isnt as efficient as traditional panels.

If you have a flat roof, you wont need to put holes in it to install solar. Installations on flat roofs commonly use ballast mounting systems. With this type of system, the mounts are weighted down sufficiently to ensure the system remains secured to the roof. Another option to avoid solar on your roof entirely is to install a ground mount, or join a community solar plan and receive solar energy from an offsite location.

Solar Panel Install Requirements

Before proceeding with a solar panel install there are certain things you should know in order to make sure they’ll be suitable for your home and you’ll be getting the best from your panels.

Most of these things the sales rep will tell you automatically before you buy. However there are things that he or she may not tell you and these can cause major headaches, or worse still cost you additional money.

It’s not that the rep doesn’t want to tell you everything. But each job is different and therefore each job will have slightly different nuances that will need to be considered.

So when the rep is there ask them as many questions as possible, even if you think they’re silly, ask them anyway.

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What Is A Photovoltaic System

A photovoltaic system is one of the newest ways to build a home. This type of home energy generation has been around for quite some time. The photovoltaic or solar system was developed by James Clerk Maxwell nearly a century ago. It was then that Maxwells formula for conversion of electromagnetic energy to electrical energy was formulated. This form of electrical power was later referred to as solar power.

can be used to convert mechanical power. When you are traveling from one place to another, you can use this electrical power to run things such as your electronic devices and cell phones. It also can help you do things like heating your water or even keeping your plants growing. These things can all be done with the power of the sun as they rely on solar energy. In fact, the entire world depends on this kind of energy.

There are a variety of photovoltaic systems. Some use mirrors, which focus light to a single point, which causes an electric current. Others are known as solar modules which are actually collections of solar cells that each convert light into an electrical current.

Another common photovoltaic system is the amorphous. Amorphous refers to material that is more conductive than crystalline. It is made up of multiple layers of thin sheets of material that when bonded together create a thin photovoltaic panel. Because the material is more conductive, this style of material can store more energy than crystalline.

How Much Roof Space Is Needed For Home Solar Panels

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When it comes to residential solar panels, your homes roof is the most obvious place to put them. But its easy to get confused about how much roof space is needed for solar panels in order to install a home solar power system. Not all roofs are constructed to the same size or specifications, and some homes have roofs with steeper pitches, while others have roofs with more faces or odd shapes.

Wed love to tell you a simple formula for the exact amount of square footage that is required for a certain number of panels, but its not quite that simple. Each residential solar panel array is custom designed to match the homeowners needs and the unique size, shape, and dimensions of their roof, so the square footage thats needed is going to depend on a number of factors.

If youre wondering, How many solar panels will fit on my roof? then here are a few things to consider.

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Do You Have To Put Solar Panels On The Roof

I loved the idea of adding solar power to my home to increase the energy efficiency. However, I was hesitant about installing them on the roof of my new home. If you are wondering if solar panels have to be installed on the roof, heres what Ive learned:

Solar panels can be mounted or installed in any location that receives fun sun, ideally south or west depending on where you live and your clearest line of sight. While many people choose to mount solar panels on the roof of their home, there are multiple alternative solutions to mounting panels as well as a few reasons why you may not want to consider a roof-mounted system.

Lets delve into this and see if we can determine if roof-mounted solar panels are the right solution for you.

My goal is to provide you with as much information both for and against roof-mounted systems as well as to offer alternatives that you may want to consider. Before we battle it out between the pros and cons, however, lets reinforce the key reasons why you should be incorporating some form of solar energy strategy into your home efficiency plan.

The Department of Energy cites cost savings, increased property value, and benefits to the environment as key reasons to take advantage of solar. Those are all very viable arguments. Having lived through three major hurricanes and multiple ice storms, however, I can tell you that there is another very important reason why you should explore solar options.

Tile Roofs Popular In The Southwest Are The Hardest For Solar Installers To Work With Heres How To Avoid A Shoddy Install That Ends Up Leaking Years Later

Tile roofs look great, donât they? Not only do they really suit the architecture of the southwest where they are most popular, but theyâre practical too. A well-installed clay or concrete tile roof can last 50 or even 100 years.

But when it comes to installing solar panels, tile roofs represent the biggest challenge for solar installers. Not only can installing on a tile roof be more expensive, but there can be a higher risk of a poor installation causing damage to the waterproof integrity of the roof, leading to expensive repairs down the road.

That doesnât mean that you should shy away from solar if youâre a homeowner with a tile roof. In this article, weâll talk about the challenges, equipment that manufacturers have designed to make solar tile installations better, and things to watch out for when hiring a contractor to work around your tile roof.

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Size And Rating Of Your Solar Panels

Solar panels can vary in size and rating, leading to different sized systems for the same amount of energy output. Some panels might be smaller but have a higher watt rating, which means theyre more efficient than a larger panel with a lower rating. Thats why you must consider the efficiency of the panels when determining the total solar panel system size for your roof.

While the efficiency of solar panels might vary, solar panel sizes typically dont, as most companies have a standard solar panel square footage to make installation easier. The standard solar panel size dimensions are about 65 inches by 39 inches, which is roughly 17.5 square feet.

On One Hand: The Case Against The Mandate

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Energy wonks and practitioners have offered a range of arguments against the mandate.

1) Rooftop solar is an extremely expensive way to reduce carbon emissions.

That is the subject of the short but pointed letter that UC Berkeleys Severin Borenstein sent to CEC Commissioner Robert Weisenmiller, arguing that residential rooftop solar is a much more expensive way to move towards renewable energy than larger solar and wind installations. Rooftop solar generates energy anywhere from two to six times the cost of energy from big renewable energy farms.

2) Cheaper emission reductions are easy to find.

They could be had through regulations mandating more urban density, tougher home and vehicle efficiency standards, an increase in the renewable energy mandate, transmission expansion, or almost anything else, really.

3) The mandate will arguably produce no additional emission reductions at all.

California is operating under statewide mandates to reach 50 percent renewable energy, a doubled rate of energy efficiency, and 40 percent carbon reductions by 2030. Mandating one form of renewables doesnt increase the total amount that will be deployed it just shuffles the mix around. In this case, the CEC is mandating a more expensive form of renewables, which, all things being equal, will raise the cost of hitting the targets.

4) This rule was rushed into effect without comment from outside energy experts or economists.

6) Solar eats its own lunch.

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Bottom Line: Work Closely With Your Solar Installer To Understand Whats Being Installed On Your Roof

Your home is probably your most valuable asset, so if youre going to get a thousand pounds of solar equipment mounted on its roof, its a good idea to ask a few questions about what youre buying and how it all works.

However, while the choice of the solar mounting system is sometimes influenced by aesthetic considerations – such as the decision to choose between a railless or conventional rail-based mounting system – for the most part, the choice is often best decided by the solar installer. Engineering considerations and the familiarity of the installation crew with the product are among the reasons why the homeowner should usually leave the decision to the experts.

That said, there are situations where the installer may ask you to make a choice, such as choosing a betweeen a comp-out or a tile replacement mount for your tile roof, or between an attached or ballasted rack for your flat roof.

Whatever the case, make sure that you work with a high quality solar installer who will keep your best interests in mind.


How Solar Panels Are Installed On Your Roof

Being concerned about roof damage with a solar panels installation certainly isnt unreasonable. Putting racking and solar panels on your roof alter one of the core parts of your homes structural makeup, and there are parts to the installation process that put your roof at risk if done incorrectly.

One of the biggest concerns for property owners is the holes needed in your roof to secure your solar panels. During installation, workers will drill holes in your roof to secure the racking which will hold your panels. These holes are for lag bolts, which secure your panels to your roof, and are designed to withstand extreme weather. These holes and bolts are necessary for almost every solar installation, and their size and depth will vary based on what your roof is made of .

Holes in your roof never sounds great, but there are several safety measures used by solar installers to make sure your roof remains structurally sound and wont leak at all. To prevent water from getting through the new hole, the bolt fixture will be surrounded by flashing, which is a metal or plastic shield that fits under existing roof tiles. This flashing is then further sealed with tar or similar material. Lastly, the hole where the lag bolt is also filled with a sealant to protect against water seepage in your roof.

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As A Solar Pergola Or Carport

A pergola, carport, solarium, or gazebo constructed to hold solar panels makes for another elegant choice. And when you build the feature to suit your solar production, you can optimize performance by choosing the ideal orientation, direction, and slope. These surfaces naturally receive tons of sunlight, so theyre great candidates for a solar panel project.

Garden features like pergolas and gazebos also work well as a place to install poolside solar collectors for solar pool heaters, while carports can be paired with a home charging station to power an electric vehicle. Either way, youll be adding a first-class luxury feature to your home, while saving money on your utilities. Pretty smart!

There Is Much More To Solar Than Roof Orientation

What if you go solar and have to replace your roof?

South-facing solar panels produce the most energy in the northern hemisphere , so if the opportunity is there, go for it! If a south-facing orientation is not possible, there is no need to give up on your solar goals. Alternative orientations and placements can still offer considerable generation and utility bill savings. Find out whats possible with a free solar quote for your home!

The best news is that solar power system placement is not a guessing game. Our experts at IPS can generate precise solar quotes using the specifics of your home , including roof orientation, to show how much energy you can expect from your system, year after year.


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Types Of Ground Mounted Solar Panel

There are two main types of ground mounted solar system available. They are as follows:

Standard ground mounts. These use metal framing that is driven into the ground to hold your solar panels up at a fixed angle. Some of these arrays can be adjusted manually several times a year, allowing you to account for seasonal shifting of the sun.

Pole mounts. These support multiple solar panels on a single pole, as well as elevating panels higher off the ground than a standard ground mount would. These usually have tracking systems incorporated. These allow the solar panels to tilt automatically, capturing the optimal amount of sunshine throughout the day.

Tracking systems are a great investment. They can increase the overall production of your solar panels by 25%, or possibly even more. If you decide to add a tracking system to your solar array, you will be given the option of a single axis or dual axis system. The former of these tracking systems move your solar panel over the course of the day, following the sun as it moves through the sky. The latter of the two tracking systems is able to do the same as the single axis, but is also able to adjust itself based on the seasonal variations in the suns position.


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