If you want to install solar panels at home and start making use of the sun’s UV rays to provide you with enough power, you will have to consider the type of roof you have.
Is every roof compatible with solar panels?
Not every roof will be compatible with solar panels, such as slate and wood roofs which can be fragile. These are tricky because solar panel installers won’t be able to walk around on them comfortably to install the panels.
There are some important things to consider before you choose to install solar panels. With that in mind, let’s explore what you need to know about them, starting with if solar panels are becoming cheaper.
Are Solar Panels Becoming More Budget-Friendly?
If you’ve refrained from installing solar panels on your home because of their expense, there’s good and bad news.
The good news is that their price has decreased over the last decade and prices are still expected to decrease further.
The bad news is that the installation cost of solar panels is not predicted to decrease because hardware costs make up less than 40 percent of the price tag for setting up a solar energy setup in your home.
There have also been shortages in raw materials such as polysilicon used to make solar panels that have made solar panels become more expensive recently, but this is a temporary condition.
What’s The Best Type Of Roof For Solar Panels?
If you have asphalt shingle roofing, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s a great type of roof for solar panels. This is because it makes installing solar panels really easy.
Standard mounts and studs that get drilled into the roof will be used so that the solar panels can be attached to it. Spaces between the panels and studs are sealed with flashing to prevent water leaks.
However, tiles also accommodate solar panels well. The solar panels will have to be installed on the tiles with brackets that lift the panels off the roof.
The best type of roof for solar panels, however, is actually a standing metal roof. This is because it allows for easy and cheap installation because you don’t have to drill directly into the roof.
By comparison, some of the worst types of roofs for solar panels include those that are made out of slate or wood. This is because they are fragile so people who install the solar panels won’t be able to walk on the roof like they should be able to in order to properly install them.
If you have a wooden shingle roof, another problem that presents itself is that installing solar panels on the roof could be a fire hazard.
What Are The Roofing Requirements For Solar Panels?
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best types of roofs for solar panels, let’s explore some important factors to consider for the optimal solar panel installation.
The Roof Angle
The roof has to be at an angle of about 30 degrees as this will make the most of the solar energy output.
For the best performance of your solar panels, you want to add 15 degrees to your home’s latitude during the winter, and then angle your solar panel system to that number. For the summer months, subtract 15 degrees from your latitude and angle them accordingly.
The Roof Orientation
Another thing to consider is the roof’s orientation. North, east, south, or west – which is best for solar panels?
In the northern hemisphere the basic guideline for solar panel orientation is to face the panels true south. In the southern hemisphere, you should place your panels so that they’re facing true north. The reason for this is because of how the panels will receive direct sunlight for many hours of the day.
It’s also useful to consider if you’re going to require energy for heating purposes in the evening. If so, it’s a good idea to let your solar panels have a slight rotation away from true south.
You could place the panels so that they’re slightly facing south-west, which is the direction of the setting sun. This means your panels will be able to produce energy when you require it in the evening.
The Roof Shape
A roof that’s square in shape is considered to be the best for solar panels. It will ensure you have a simple solar panel installation that’s fuss-free. Let’s take a look at different roof shapes and how they fare.
This is a very simple type of roof that can accomodate solar panels because mounts enable you to place any solar panel towards the sun to maximize its UV rays. Flat roofs contain the highest rate of solar receptivity and give you the most solar energy for your home.
A gable roof is a common shape seen on many residential homes. It’s basically when a roof has two flat sides that come to a central point, sort of like a pyramid shape. It accommodates many solar panels to be installed on the entire length of both sides of the roof.
A hip roof has slopes on all four sides and it’s efficient at tolerating high wind and extreme weather. Since the sides are tapered, this can be difficult for solar panel alignment. This can reduce the amount of panels that a roof can accommodate, so that’s something to bear in mind.
The Roof Condition
If your roof needs to be replaced, you will have to wait to do so before installing solar panels. If you install the panels and then replace your roof at a later stage, this will cause you to have to spend more money to uninstall and reinstall them once your new roof’s been installed.
You also need to check that your roof is strong enough to handle the weight of the solar panels. Solar panels usually weigh around 2.5 pounds per square feet, so you have to ensure that your roof can handle this weight. Generally they can without requiring you to provide additional support for them.
To ensure that your solar panels work well, you have to check that the roof isn’t exposed to a lot of shade, such as in the form of trees, chimneys, buildings, or nearby homes. Generally, clouds and shade will cause solar panels to produce approximately 50 percent less energy than they would if they were in direct sunlight.
How Much Roof Space Do You Need For Solar Panels?
The amount of solar panels you’ll need for your roof depends on the size of your house and how much electricity your household uses so that you will get the energy you need.
On average, a home will need between 19 and 23 solar panels, bearing in mind that every panel takes up to 18 square feet in size. Ideally, for this to work you should ensure that your roof is between 400 and 600 square feet.
There are also some structures, such as chimneys, that can decrease your roof’s total space, so these will have to be considered.
Do Solar Panels Void Your Roof Warranty?
Solar panels generally won’t void your roof warranty, but it depends on the roofing material you have.
If your roof is made of asphalt shingles or tiles, solar panel installation will require you to drill into the roof deck to attach the solar panel bolts, and this could potentially void your roofing warranty, so you need to check it before going ahead with the installation.
However, by ensuring you follow the roofing warranty and choose a solar panel installer who mounts and waterproofs the solar panels properly, you reduce your risk of encountering problems.
What should you do if your roof can’t be installed with solar panels?
If your roof is not suitable for solar panel installation, you can work around this by considering installing a solar energy system elsewhere on your property, such as on your garage or shed. Even your greenhouse or barn can be the ideal location for solar panels.
How can you check how much money you’re saving with solar panels?
Calculate how much electricity you used to use annually, then figure out what your utility rate was, bearing in mind that it increases by approximately 2.2 percent annually. By knowing these numbers you’ll be able to see how much solar panels are decreasing your electric bills monthly.
If you want to start making use of the UV rays that bathe your property in sunshine every day to power your home instead of relying on electricity, there are some important things you should know.
In this article, we’ve featured essential information about solar panels and how to install them on your roof without any problems.
James Weldon is a professional roofing contractor with many years of experience on the job. He does not only handle large projects and provide excellent services for his company’s many clients; James Weldon also dedicates his spare time to teaching others useful tricks of the trade. Using BuildCampus as an avenue to reach many roofers and aspiring roofing contractors, James Weldon continues to provide high-quality educational posts and buying recommendations for anyone who visits the website.