Calculating Your Energy Production
The second factor you’ll need to consider in your calculations is the amount of energy your system will produce and when it will do that. This can be a very complicated calculation to make, even for experienced solar engineers. However, let’s run through the basics.
One of the most important considerations is the solar irradiation levels available in the home’s geographical location in other words, how sunny it is where you live. When it comes to using solar panels, being closer to the equator is generally better, but other factors must be considered. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory produces maps for the U.S. showing solar irradiation levels and the tools on its website provide detailed solar information for specific locations within the U.S.
Equally important is your home’s orientation: For rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects obstructing sunlight maximizes the available solar energy. If this is not available, panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house, incurring additional costs for the extra hardware and cables.
Which Direction Should My Roof Face For Solar Panels
The best type of roof for solar panels is a south facing roof as they tend to generate the most electricity from solar panels. South facing roof panels see the sun when it is at its most intense for the longest period of time, which is why they generate the most energy.
However, this doesn’t mean that east or west facing roofs can’t also be suitable for solar panels. If your roof faces another direction as you can likely still see plenty of benefit from installing a solar array. East and west facing roofs are also suitable for solar panels and will still see a good deal of energy generation throughout the course of the day. For example, an east facing roof will be exposed to sunlight in the morning whereas a west facing roof will take in more sunlight in the afternoon and evenings.
Based on an installation of 8 panels at 3.5 meters in the LE16 postcode.
As you can see, a south facing roof gives the optimal direction for solar panels, delivering a potential saving of £194.41 in the first year. Meanwhile a north facing roof would still save you money on your energy bills but not as much .
Is My Roof Sturdy Enough For Panels
The vast majority of roofs in the City of Sydney are strong enough to accommodate solar panels, but older roofs may need to be repaired or reinforced first. If your roof is tiled, it will be necessary to affix brackets to hold your panels. Your accredited installer will be able to assess this for you.
Which Direction Does Your Roof Face
Roofs that face east, south, or west are great! Roofs that face north are not ideal in the U.S. because we are in the northern hemisphere and the sun exposure would be limited. While a portion of a homeowners roof may be oriented north, other south, east, and west-facing sections may be sufficient for solar.
The 5 Best Roof Types For Solar
Solar panels are compatible with most roofing materials, including:
There are some roof types that less compatible with solar. It is difficult for solar installers to work on slate and wood roofs, because these roof materials are brittle and can break. They require specialized mounting components and equipment because installers cant walk on the roof without damaging it. This means that installations on slate and wood roofs are more expensive.
|Wood tiles are brittle and can break easily, complicating the installation process and equipment used.|
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How To Measure Your Roof Pitch
So now you know what angle the panels should be mounted, how do you go about measuring your roof pitch? Roof pitch is measured as a vertical rise relative to a 12-inch horizontal run. So a roof which rises 7 inches every 12 inches has a 7 in 12 pitch. This is sometimes expressed in ratio form like this 7:12.
There are several ways to measure roof pitch, the most obvious way is to climb onto the roof spirit level and tape measure in hand. However, this is not practical for most people. Fortunately, there is an easier way. Your roof pitch can be measured much more safely from inside.
Youll need the following items to measure your roof pitch from the attic:
- Tape measure
Which Way Does My Roof Face
A north-facing roof is ideal for solar because it gives you good exposure to sunlight throughout the day. In a sunny location such as Sydney, east-facing and west-facing roofs also perform well. South-facing roofs are less suitable but can still offer decent output depending on total available roof space.
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Does Your Roof Have Enough Space For Solar Panels
The next feature that will determine whether your roof is good for solar panels is its size and how many roof surfaces you have. In general, you will need room for at least eight panels, which is Namaste Solars minimum system size. Systems installed on a single, large roof surface are easier and cheaper to install, but its OK if your system is broken into separate sub-arrays on multiple roof surfaces.
Solar Production Potential By Province
Weve gone ahead and calculated the average solar production potential based on the five most populated cities for every province and territory in Canada.
This capacity to turn light into electricity is also a major ranking factor in our Provincial Solar Rankings.
Here is the annual average equivalent of full sunlight hours broken down by province:
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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.
Will Your Electrical Panel Support A Solar System
One home aspect thats easy to overlook is your electrical panel. If you live in a newer home, its likely that you wont have to upgrade your panel prior to solar installation. However, if you have an older electrical panel or if its amperage is too low to distribute electricity from your solar system throughout your homes circuits, youll need to upgrade your panel. As a general rule of thumb, youll want your electrical panel to be about 200 amps to support a solar system.
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Home And Roof Regulations
If your home is a condo or townhouse governed by a homeowners association , you may not actually have the final say about what goes on your roof. Many HOAs regulate the outer structure of neighborhood homesincluding the roofs. So before you sign any contracts, find out what the HOA regulations are for solar panel installation.
Likewise, if youre a renter, you may not be able to make the decision to go solar on your ownits ultimately the landlords call. However, its worth contacting your neighbors to see if theyre also interested in solar power. If several tenants would like to install solar panels, you may be able to make a proposal to the landlord for approval to go ahead.
Determining Your Homes Solar Rooftop Compatibility
May 3rd, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
Adding solar energy at your home to save money and help save the planet has a lot of appeal. As you begin to research solar panels, youve probably wondered if your roof is even suitable for solar panels.
To get the most out of your solar panels, they should be installed where they will get the most sun. For most homes, this place is the roof. The ideal roof would be south-facing, get plenty of sunlight, and have a tilt of about 30-45 degrees. However, even if your roof doesnt have these characteristics, you still can get solar panels installed. And if you cant install panels on your roof, you can look into a ground-mounted solar panel system.
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What Roof Styles And Slopes Are Good For Solar Rooftop Panels
Solar panels require a certain amount of space to be installed properly. A large, rectangular roof with no chimney or vents is, of course, ideal for solar rooftop installation. But that is not the norm. Solar panel installers are familiar with many different types of roof styles and can work around features such as skylights, chimneys and dormers, if needed.
Youll also have to consider the slope of your roof. If your roof is flat, you may find that a lack of precipitation runoff could affect overall solar production. If the slope is too steep, you may be limiting the amount of sunlight your panels can take in. In general, a 30-degree tilt works well. Your solar installer will let you know the optimal arrangement for your panels.
How Much Does A Solar Panel Cost
Prices have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from $11,000 to $15,000.
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Symbolize The Solar Radiation Layer
Next, you will symbolize the Solar_Rad layer. For your analysis, youll use uniformsymbology for all solar radiation raster layers to ensure that theycan be compared visually. You will apply a layer file with predefinedsymbology to the layer. This layer file was included with theproject data you downloaded.
The Symbology pane appears.
The layer file is applied to the layer. The new symbology appears on the map.
Red and orange colors indicate higher amounts of solar radiation, while yellow and blue tones indicate lower amounts.
North-facing roof slopes have blue and yellow tones, as they tend to receive less solar energy than south-facing ones. Additionally, roofs blocked by trees or other buildings sometimes receive very little solar energy.
In this module, you mapped the annual solar energy received on Glover Park rooftops. First, you created a solar radiation raster layer. Then, you converted the units of measurement and symbolized the layer for visualization purposes. Next, youll identify rooftops suitable for solar panels.
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The Size Of Your Roof
When considering whether your roof is a good candidate for solar panels, lets not forget the significance of your roofs size. Its one of the most critical considerations as it can limit the number of panels that can be installed on your roof.
The larger the size of your roof, the more extensive system you can install, and hence the more energy you can produce. But if you have a smaller roof that cannot hold enough solar panels, you can also go for a ground mount solar panel installation. It is one of the best ways to install a solar panel into your home while working around the roofs space.
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Is My Roof Due For A Replacement
Since well-maintained solar panels can perform beyond 25 years, we recommend ensuring the underlying material will last at least as long.
You very well could replace a roof with solar panels installed. However, the process requires more time, money, and logistics than necessary. Installers essentially need to remove and re-install the system before and after the roofing job.
Imagine putting a brand new granite surface on top of shoddy kitchen counters. You could transfer the countertop over for when you inevitably replace the counters, but doing the full remodel first would have been far more time and cost-effective.
This begs the question: how can you tell whether your roof is in good condition?
A professional roof inspection should provide a reliable answer. If you know when you had your roof installed, you can also subtract its age from its expected lifespan for a rough estimate.
Roofs with more than 25 years of life left get our seal of approval for solar. Should your roof show signs of age, know that you may face a more complicated and costly than necessary replacement down the road.
First Solar Site Check Find True South
Before you hire a site assessor, there are some basics you can check yourself. A good site for a PV array in the northern hemisphere has a location that is within 10° of true south. Remember that true south can be widely different than magnetic south. The US Geological Survey has a map showing the declination lines. Along the Mississippi River, True North and Magnetic North are close enough to ignore. In California, they are from 12° to 17° off.
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Homeowners Association Rules And Regulations
If you live in a subdivision governed by an HOA, you may not get the last word about your solar panel installation. Many HOAs have regulations governing the outer structure of homes, roof included. Pink Energy works to secure the needed approvals from HOAs during all of its behind-the-scenes work leading up to installation.
If youre considering a rooftop solar installation, you can reach out to your HOA beforehand to see if it has an existing policy on solar panels. The HOA will be able to provide you with its guidelines and point to the specifications that must be adhered to, if any.
Laws regarding HOAs and rooftop solar panels vary greatly based on state. Some states have what is known as a solar access law. If you live in a state with a solar access law, your HOA may not have the right to deny you the right to installation.
The Community Associations Institute is continuously working with states and lawmakers to make solar power more accessible to all homeowners, regardless of whether you are a part of an HOA or not.
Too Shallow Or Too Steep A Roof
A roof with a 50°+ angle is considered too steep for a solar panel. The panel would likely be in deep shade for large portions of the day, which means that it will be unable to harness the power required.
A roof with a pitch of less than 15° would be considered too shallow. The panels would not be able to self clean, which means that they would quickly become dirty and this negatively impacts the panels efficiency.
If your roof is too flat, it is possible to have an angled frame installed which would increase the pitch of the panel and provide a viable option.
The ideal pitch for a solar panel is between 30° and 45° although anywhere between 15° and 50° is considered suitable.
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No Worries About Voided Warranties
Its best to have solar panels installed on a roof that is no more than five years old. Some installers will not even consider doing a solar panel installation on a roof that has been on for many years because eventually, the roof is going to need replaced. Solar companies work hard to make sure your panels are set correctly, and they take a considerable amount of time to ensure the work is handled professionally in a way that will not cause a roof warranty to be voided. Simpleray has been voted as one of the Top 500 Solar Contractors in the nation by Solar Power World, and ensuring safe, damage free installation is a top priority for customers.
A new roof is one of the most expensive renovation jobs a person may ever have done to their home, and with a price tag that often exceeds more than $9000 for an average 2500 square foot home, no one wants to have anything damaged and then find out that a shoddy install voided the warranty. Even a small misplaced hole or a tear in a shingle can cause water damage inside the attic of a home. Companies today work closely with their customers as well as the professionals in the roofing industry to make sure nothing is compromised during an install.
Is Your Roof Shaded
Along the same lines, any shade over your roof will decrease the total number of daily sunlight hours. Shade is commonly caused by trees and in some cases other buildings. The good news is that trees can often be trimmed or removed. Ideally, you want direct sunlight to hit your roof from 9am to 3pm.
Our site surveying team uses satellite technology to quickly spot possible shading issues and offer solutions. They will help you determine your propertys winter and summer sunlight exposure potential to understand if there is enough to consistently power your home.
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