Is my home suitable for solar panels?
If you’re looking to have solar panels installed on your home you may be thinking about how suitable it is for solar panels. Understanding your home’s layout, orientation, and location can help you make informed decisions regarding solar panels.
Climate and Location
Your home’s location can affect its suitability for solar panels. Factors such as geographical location, weather, seasons, and sunlight hours.
The amount of sunlight your home gets is the biggest consideration to make when going solar. Solar panels work well in most climate conditions, but they are most effective when they get lots of direct sunlight. Keep in mind the heat generated by hot weather can make solar panels less efficient. If you live in a northern area, you may get fewer sunlight hours compared to more southern areas. But you don’t need to worry as this is balanced out by longer summer days.
Cloudy Weather and Rain
Cloudy weather can affect the energy output of your solar panels, they can drop energy production down to even 10% of your panel’s normal output. Although this won’t stop their output completely. Rain on the other hand can stop your panels’ power output, but it serves to wash the dirt that can accumulate on the top of your panels. One tip is to make sure your panels are well sealed and have no cracks to avoid water damage.
Snow and Winter
Snowfall will block your solar panels and stop them from generating any electricity. This can severely drop your energy output during the winter seasons. If you live in a very snowy area you may want to reconsider installing solar panels on your home.
Your home’s structure and layout
Solar panels are generally installed on the roof of a home. With this method of mounting solar panels, there are plenty of considerations to take in regarding your home’s structure, and layout.
Shade from your surroundings
Shade from surrounding trees and buildings surrounding your home will affect the energy production of solar panels. Trees can have branches trimmed or even cut down completely if needed. Although other solid obstacles and structures would need to be accounted for.
Roof Type and Orientation
Your roof type determines if a solar panel installation will be easy, difficult, or not possible at all. Metal and composite roofs are easy to install and mount solar panels on. Tile roofs will make it difficult to install solar panels. Wooden roofs are unable to have solar panels mounted on them as they might become a fire hazard. Keep in mind the age and condition of your roof as well. In this case, the alternative would be ground mounting your panels.
In terms of orientation, houses in the U.S. will get the most sunlight on the southern side, while some sunlight does reach the east and west sides as well.
Roof Size and Tilt
Your roof’s size will determine how many solar panels it can fit and support. If your roof can fit and support enough solar panels to fulfill your home’s electricity usage, it’s a good sign.
Your roof’s pitch is another consideration, as solar panels work their best at a 30-degree tilt. Solar panels can be installed on a flat roof but they may need to be mounted to brackets to tilt. The specific tilt for optimal sunlight will vary depending on your latitude.
The condition of your roof
Ideally, your roof will be in its best condition before solar panels are installed. Solar panel installations drill through roof membranes and may involve attaching a new framework. Needing to re-roof your home after a solar panel installation will require your solar panel system to be disassembled, and reassembled after your roof is re-built. This will require much more time and money compared to having your roof ready beforehand. To give you an idea, here’s the approximate life span of different roof materials:
- Asphalt and tar roofs – ~20 years.
- Wood shake roofs – ~30 years.
- Tile roofs ~50 years.
When approaching a new solar energy install, we conduct a full inspection of your home and surroundings to identify anything that may affect your solar energy installation. This is to ensure the safety of both your home and the solar energy installation.
We can help you get started with solar
If your home is suitable for solar panels, we can help you get started with solar energy. Our website also has a free online estimate tool that generates a personalized report for you from a simplified questionnaire. That report will contain the potential savings you can net, and the cost of a solar energy system installed on your property. You can also contact us directly via phone at +1 (602) 363-8919 or via email at Scott@elitesolarenergy.org for more information regarding solar energy for your property.