How Ground Mounts Make Solar A Viable Option For Some
If a roof doesnt have enough unshaded space or pitch facing the right direction, it may not work for solar. Solar panels work best when they face south, but east and west-facing solar panels can still produce significant amounts. Homeowners with space for a ground mount can generate more solar power because they dont have these limiting factors.
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Factors To Consider When Determining How Many Solar Panels You Need
When determining how many solar panels you need, its important to start by thinking about what your goals are and why you want to go solar in the first place. Do you want to maximize your return on investment? Do you want to save as much money as possible? Do you want to reduce your upfront costs? Do you want to have the biggest environmental impact and reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible? Most people want a balance of these goals, and may have other priorities as well, so its helpful to get a clear idea of what your specific end goals are before you start designing a solar power system.
Once you have your goals in mind, then you can determine how many solar panels you need to get there. This calculation is going to depend on how much energy your family uses, how much roof area you have available for solar panels, the location of your home and the angle of your roof, how much sunlight shines in your part of the country, the efficiency of the solar panels youre using, and if your local utility offers net metering. Plus, you also need to consider your budget, because a large solar power system might produce more energy, but its going to cost more for the initial installation as well.
Here are a few things you should think about when determining how many solar panels you need for your roof.
Other Directions For Solar Panels
Solar panels in Ireland will produce some electricity no matter what direction they face. However, North-facing solar panels produce substantially less power than South-facing solar panels. North-East and North-West are also fairly poor choices of orientation. On the other hand, South-West and South-East facing solar panels will produce almost as much power as South-facing panels.
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What We Dont Like About Decotech
The downsides to a DecoTech installation include a slightly more complicated installation. While these are technically solar panels, their installation takes longer than a rack-mounted solar array. Indeed, DecoTech is likely only a good option for new roofs or replacement roofs.
DecoTech doesnt offer pricing information publicly but has said that installations would initially cost about 10-15% more than a new roof plus a standard solar array. These costs were expected to come down as the rollout of DecoTech roofs expanded, allowing for economies of scale. However, because every roof is different, its not possible to tell if these cost savings have emerged. So, you may still be paying a premium for a rooftop solar array with a low-profile look.
- Limited information on warranties and installation process
- Likely more expensive than a roof plus solar array
- Installation takes longer than a standard rack-mounted array
- Company has a reputation for being choosy and hard to contact
- Few installers trained to work with Luma
Luma Solar was founded in 2007 and claims to have made the first solar roof shingles in the U.S. The companys other major claim is to have created upgradeable solar shingles, meaning you can replace the solar cells without having to rip up your roof.
Can I Still Go Solar If My Roof Doesnt Face South
by Kelly Anderson, on Aug 12, 2020 8:44:00 AM
Making Sure Your Rooftop Is a Good Fit for Solar
Youll often hear the advice that to benefit from solar panels, you need to live somewhere sunny with a south-facing roof. Well discredit the first pointeven cities and states with gloomier weather can produce enough solar energy. In fact, extreme heat can be more harmful than beneficial to solar panels.
But what about your homes orientation? Is it necessary to have a south-facing rooftop? In the past, we suggested south-facing houses are best for solar, but well explain why the answer isnt a clear yes or no below.
Why Do People Say Panels Should Face South?
If the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, why should it matter if your house faces north or south? Well, the sun wont be straight over your home unless you live on the equator. In the northern hemisphere, the sun moves at a slight arch with a southern offset. Therefore, the general practice has been to install solar panels facing south to capture the most sunlight.
What If My House Doesnt Face South?
Even if your panels dont face directly south, your system can still produce large amounts of electricity. If your house is oriented east or west, you will only see a 20-percent decrease in energy produced. Despite this decrease in performance, your panels can still generate enough power to save you hundreds of dollars each year.
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What Are Solar Panels And Shingles
With solar panels, the sun’s angle and direction can easily be incorporated into the design.
Roof tiles made of solar panels are typically smaller and cover more of the roof of a house. The second layer of shingles can be added to your roof by covering the existing shingles. Because shingles cover the entire roof, they offer a greater level of coverage than shingles because you cannot angle them to face the sun.
It is not a decision to be taken lightly when it comes to solar power for your home. There can be significant upfront costs associated with solar. The initial costs are decreasing as this technology becomes more widely adopted and improved, which makes it more affordable.
Often, solar installations do not show cost savings until a few years after installation. When the savings start to accumulate, they are most noticeable in the long term.
The important thing that you need to remember is that the total savings of solar installation Installing solar for the sole purpose of saving the environment, however, is almost immediately beneficial.
This reduces your environmental impact from the very beginning, regardless of whether you choose solar panels or solar shingles.
What We Like About Decotech
The main benefits of a DecoTech installation are a low-profile look and higher efficiency than solar shingles. This is because DecoTech uses standard silicon solar panels with 17% efficiency. Solar shingles from SunTegra and CertainTeed range from just 13.9% to 15.9% efficiency, largely because the way shingles are mounted makes it harder to keep them cool and efficient.
The roof and solar are all covered under one warranty, with an option to upgrade to a lifetime warranty. The warranty also guarantees that your panels power output wont decrease by more than 0.7% annually after their first year. This is standard for the solar industry, but not for solar shingles.
The two systems are both installed by the same GAF-certified roofers, which means youll get an experienced roofing crew and plenty of support if anything goes awry. There are also some advantages to the type of installation in that the roofing crew will already be on-site and can assemble much of the solar array on the ground. This reduces the need to negotiate with separate solar and roofing companies and helps save the roofers time assembling modules on the roof.
All in all, DecoTech is a good choice if: youre replacing your roof or building a new home and want to go solar youre keen on solar panels rather than solar shingles, and you really want a low-profile look.
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Finding The Best Direction For Solar Panels To Face
So, youve learned all you can about how using solar energy can impact the world. Youve even consulted a Solar Energy Specialist and your pocketbook is yearning for a stack of solar savings. Now, if youre curious about determining the best direction for solar panels to face, here are some of the basics.
Read some commonly used terms:
- Roof Pitch This is the angle of a roof. Also referred to as the roofs tilt. Heres a blog that delves into roof pitches further.
- Peak Sun Hours 1 peak sun hour = 1000 W/m² of sunlight per hour. This is the maximum amount of sunlight a home can receive at a specific time.
- Axis An imaginary straight line that the Earth spins around. The Earths axis is why different areas receive different amounts of sunlight at different times.
- Tilt Solar panels need to be tilted at an angle that allows them the most access to the sun. Optimum tilt is the perfect position for solar panels to catch the most sunlight.
Lets explore some of the options for solar panel placement.
South Is Best With Battery Systems
That’s because if you have a battery system, your goal is to produce as much power as possible over the day. Facing your panels south should allow you to meet your daytime needs and, crucially, generate lots of surplus power to charge up your battery. You can then use your battery to meet your power needs at peak times, overnight and during grid outages.
The combination of south-facing solar panels with a battery solution allows you to maximize your energy self-consumption. This means reduced reliance on the grid, or even the ability to go off the grid entirely.
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A Guide For Where To Place Your Solar Panels
It is easy to understand that solar panels work best when they can get as much direct sunlight as possible. So, it is no surprise that one of the most common questions we get asked is What is the best direction for solar panels?
The position of solar panels can be hugely important to their output. When you also consider that output affects the cost-effectiveness of panels, it is essential to get it right.
Whether you are having domestic or commercial solar panel installation, it is important to understand the ideal location for your panels to be placed in order to get the most out of them. The direction and position of your panels can actually have a remarkably large effect on their efficiency, so this is worth understanding.
Here we have provided a detailed guide to some of the important things you need to know about where you should place your solar panels and which way to point solar panels.
What Is The Verdict
Ultimately in the debate between roof mounting and grounding solar panels, there is no clear victor. As you can see from the above, there are pros and cons to both options.
When making your decision, we believe you should consider, based on your situation, the following:
The Cost: How much are you willing to pay?
Space: How much ground space do you have to offer up to solar panels?
The Time: How long can you allow to install and obtain a permit for your panels?
Aesthetics: Do you personally prefer the look of roof-mounted or grounded panels?
If you answer these questions you should come up with which of these options is best for you. If you need to know more about solar panels or are interested in installation services, make sure to contact us directly.
Here at AES, we offer a completely free solar site assessment where we ascertain which panels will be best for you. Then, we can help you with the installation!
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What Type Of Roofs Are Best For Solar Panels
Sometimes, individuals focus on the cost of solar panels rather than the installation site when investing in clean energy. Although most roofs can sustain a renewable energy system, some are better than others.
As the prices of solar power systems decrease and more homes install panels, its vital to evaluate the structure of the roof to optimize green energy production.
If you are interested in investing in a PV system, you can start by evaluating the compatibility of your roof. Here are the factors you must understand before getting started.
What We Dont Like About Forward
Forward isnt very forthcoming with technical specifications or other important details. For instance, it doesnt reveal the energy efficiency ratings of its solar cells, though it claims to have a higher energy density than standard solar panels.
According to Forward, its roof offers more efficient use of roofing space to increase opportunities for electricity production. Given the eight color options, however, its worth noting that each one would block a different part of the visible light spectrum, which would affect the cells ability to create electricity.
Forward also offers no information on its temperature coefficient, nor any additional information on its warranties. Its also not clear how robust the roofing material is against hail, wind, snow, water, or fire.
Finally, even six years after its Kickstarter, Forward is still only installing solar roofs in a test area around San Francisco. One might surmise, then, that the current waitlist is quite lengthy. In fact, Forward actually recommends reserving your spot years in advance of when you think your roof might need replacing. Basically, if youre interested in a Forward solar roof, dont wait until your roof leaks to get in line.
- Not a full solar roof
- Solar shingles/tiles look different from regular roofing
- No specific pricing available on website
- Much lower efficiency than solar panels and some solar shingles/tiles
- No details of efficiencies
- No details of temperature co-efficient
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What Are The Different Types Of Solar Panels
The main types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin-film and concentrated photovoltaic . With all factors being equal location, available space , shading, climate and natural degradation of the panels monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are typically the best choice for residential energy needs.
Thin-film panels are best for commercial buildings or satellites, and concentrated photovoltaic cell panels are used only on satellites and in research labs.
Why Face Solar Panels South
Photovoltaic solar panels produce electricity from light. More light means more electricity. You might have heard that a South-facing garden gets more light than a North-facing garden. Well, its the same for solar panels. Researchers have found that in Ireland, South-facing panels produce the most electricity. So why is South not always the best direction for solar panels?
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Install A Solar Array On The Ground
You can also install a ground-mounted solar power system in your yard. This is less expensive than creating racks on your roof or hanging them on a wall, but it does require a lot of yard space.
One of the best aspects of ground-mounted solar panels is easy maintenance. You can brush leaves or snow off of them without having to climb onto your roof.
Solar panel tracking systems can improve a systems output by ensuring constant, direct exposure to the sun, both during the day and across seasons. Axis trackers generate more electricity by using about the same amount of space as fixed systems.
Q: Other Perks Of South
A: If your home has access to net metering, facing your solar panels south increases output and sends more power to the grid. During mid-day hours, energy collection is higher. Since most people arent home then, more power is generated than needed, so you can get reimbursed for more. Time of use rates are also a consideration. With TOU rates, power sent to the grid during peak hours is worth more, so pointing solar panels to the west or southwest later in the day can help earn you more money.
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Do Solar Panels Need To Be South
Although solar panels dont necessarily need to be south-facing, it is the ideal direction to get the most output. However, east or west-facing panels can still capture sunlight and generate energy. Most solar companies will provide guidance and advice on whats best angle for your solar energy setup.
What If A North
Getting meaningful production from solar panels on a north-facing roof requires mounting them in opposition to the roof slant. That results in a more considerable aesthetic impact, and the total production will still be less than with south, east, or west-facing systems. Youll still see a few of these setups on older systems here in Colorado that have no alternate roof space available, but generally, in these instances, its helpful to consider non-roof locations for solar on your property and to utilize solar ground mounts or pole mounts instead of roof mounts.
Generally, the roof is the best opportunity for a large, unshaded space on your property. Still, if you have sufficient yard space, a ground-mounted system can actually be cheaper than a roof-mounted one. Ground-based solar panels also offer easier maintenance access and create shade for landscaping or gardening.
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Is My Roof Big Enough For Solar Panels
Whether you roof is big enough for solar panels depends on the size of the array you want installed.
For a standard 4kW size system you would need around 28 square meters of clean roof space. You should bear in mind any areas of your roof that may cause obstructions or interrupt the layout of your solar panels. This includes things like skylights, turrets or roof vents. Whilst installers can generally work around these obstacles, it could have an impact on the installation cost.
Alternatively, you could turn to flexible solar panels which make it easier to have solar panels installed onto unconventional or lightweight roofing.
Shaded areas also need to be factored in here, which leads us to the next question…