Solar Panels for my Roof
Published at - August 17, 2021
11 min read
Is My House a Good Candidate for Solar Panels?
Solar Power is one of the best alternatives to fossil fuel in producing electricity. Often called green energy or clean energy, solar power is sustainable, good for the environment and cheaper than all other alternatives. A solar plant is easy to install and extremely durable.
We can use solar energy for two distinct purposes- to meet domestic needs in households or for industrial purposes. While installing solar panels in industrial sites is a complex process, it’s relatively a simpler mechanism for households. We don’t need much energy to meet our domestic needs. Therefore, lesser solar arrays are sufficient for households than industrial areas, and thus it takes lesser spaces for the installation.
However, in some places, some physical barriers can obstruct installing a solar panel. The weather is a big factor in solar installation. In addition to that, the placement of the solar panels, the type of the roof of the house, the exposure of sunlight on the roof and the physical condition of the roof determines the effectiveness of the solar panel.
Is the house you live in ideal for solar panel installation? Where should you place your solar panel? And what is the cost of the solar panel you have and which solar cell do you need to meet your demand? These are the questions we will be exploring in this article.
Is my Roof to be blamed for the inefficiency of the solar panel?
To seek the answer to this question we must determine various aspects that obstruct the effectiveness of a solar panel. If you install a solar panel on your roof and you are not getting the desired outcome, the roof is not alone to be blamed. There are other factors in play as well. Therefore, instead of blaming your roof and changing your roof, first, explore these factors that might be reasons for the failure of your solar panel.
What is Your Local Climate Like?
We want you to observe the local climate where you want to install the solar panel. The efficiency of a solar panel depends on exposure to sunlight. solar panels are most productive in direct exposure to sunlight. If you install the panel in such a place that has a climate that obstructs sunlight, a solar panel may not deliver your desired power.
Rain and Sky overcast with thick clouds may cause the direct sunlight to diffuse. While direct light travels from the sunlight, overcast sky and rain scatter the sunlight making it weaker. Therefore, a reduction in the efficiency of electricity generation is seen in solar panels.
Just like heavy rainfall, heavy snow may hamper the electricity generation of the solar panel. Although, light rain and snowfall causing a negligible disturbance in electricity generation, as sunlight can pass through clouds and thin layers of snow.
Also, you should consider the duration of the daylight in your region. Shortened daytime and prolonged nighttime will naturally reduce electricity generation.
However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of a solar panel depends on the sunlight, not on the heat. Therefore, even if there is tremendous cold in your region but still enough direct sunlight, you don’t need to worry about the climate. Go solar!
How much sunlight does your roof receive?
Often the climate is fine but still, we don’t get the desired electricity. Is your roof to be blamed, then? Hold on. There could be another factor. How much sunlight does your roof receive?
When you install the solar panel on the roof, it must be exposed to enough sunlight. The climate may be fine, the weather may be sunny, but if your roof doesn’t receive enough sunlight, you can’t expect enough efficiency. Therefore, make sure nothing is blocking the sunlight.
There are many things by which sunlight can be blocked or obstructed. For example, there may be a large tree that may shadow the roof, or another building tall enough to block the sun. Maybe, your roof is inapplicable to receive the desired sunlight because it is not high enough.
Therefore, look for these difficulties first. If your roof is receiving enough sunlight and you haven’t found any single external body that blocks the sunlight radiation reaching the roof, then you can think about the physical condition of your roof.
Is my Roof OK for solar panels?
Now as you have considered the climate and the external obstacles that may hamper your energy generation and nothing rang a bell, you can concentrate on your roof. There are various aspects of the roof you must draw your attention to. The foundation material of your roof, the angle of the roof, the size of the roof and the position of the roof is always important in this case.
Observing your roof, if you find these characters given below in your roof, your roof is OK for solar panel installation.
The Foundation Materials:
Asphalt Shingles, also known as composite roofing, is greatly compatible with installing a solar panel. Asphalt is a highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. We use it on the roof for waterproofing. It is widely used in North America. Also, tiled roofs can be effective for solar panels. However, the best roof for solar panels is the metal roof, specifically, the standing seam metal roof. These kinds of roofing are often used in our country. Therefore, if these are the materials that your roof is built with, go on to save the environment and your cost by installing a solar panel.
The Angle of the Roof:
Commonly, there are two types of roofs- The Sloped and The Flat. Generally, sloped roofs are the best type for solar panel installation, as it catches more sunlight. Therefore, if you have a sloped roof, what are you waiting for? However, if you have a flat roof it can be a little difficult to install a solar panel. But worry not! Find the right installer who can install the solar panel on your roof. Solar panels installed on flat roofs typically require specialized equipment. The solar installer might need to use angled mounts that will tilt the solar panels so that they are exposed to the sun. They may require additional brackets that may be tilted to a 30-degree angle. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. It’s true that it might cost more than sloped roofs where solar panels lay flat on the slopes. However, when your roofs lay idle, isn’t it a better idea to use them for power generation?
The Usable Space on the Roof:
If you have a sloped roof, most of the spaces of the roof are non-usable. Therefore, sloped roofs are ideal for solar panel installation. Nevertheless, if you have a flat roof you need to consider the usable space on the roof. To generate enough electricity that will run a household, you must have your solar panel installed throughout considerable space. If you use your roof for solar panel installation- you must compromise some space on the rooftop. Also, for flat roofs, you must find the spot which is most exposed to the sunlight. Therefore, if you are worried about your efficiency, compromise some space.
If your roof has the above-stated characteristics, go on, install the solar panel.
Is my Roof Not OK for solar panels?
Now let's draw our attention to the roof type that is incompatible with solar panels. It is important to state that every roof that is exposed to sunlight can produce considerable amounts of solar energy. However, it may vary efficiency. Formerly discussed roof types are most efficient and cost-saving for solar panel installation. Now, I would like to describe the roof types that are not considered as good as the previously mentioned types.
Ask yourself these questions stated below before installing a solar panel.
Is my roof built with the right materials for solar panels?
The materials used to build a roof that is not very good for solar panels are generally- wood, clay, terra-cotta and slate. These materials break easily and make the roof fragile. Therefore, the installation of the panel becomes difficult and the sustainability of the solar panel reduces. It may increase the cost of the installation and reduce the effectiveness as installing specialized equipment becomes more difficult on these types of roofs than roofs made of other materials.
Is my roof too Steep for Solar Panels?
If you have a sloped roof you might need to consider how steep your roof is. The best slope for a roof effective for electricity generation is 30-40 degrees. If your roof is steeper, you might need to install additional equipment to gain maximum efficiency, which may increase the installation cost.
In the case of a flat roof, you might need to tilt your solar panels at a 30-40 degree angle so that they can get maximum exposure to the sunlight.
Is my roof free enough for Solar Panels?
It’s important to consider the free spaces on your roof. Solar Panels cannot be installed anywhere. It must be installed in a spot where it can get maximum exposure to sunlight. Also, to generate enough energy to run a household you need a great deal of space. If your roof is filled with stuff like- plants, garbage or wet clothes, you might need to reconsider the installation or free up the space which is suitable for solar panel installation.
Is my roof strong enough for Solar Panels?
Is your roof strong and reliable? Because, if it is not installing a solar panel on a weak roof may be difficult and even hazardous. If your roof is not thick enough, if it’s not coarse enough to take enough loads, if it’s made of fragile materials like wood, clay or straw which might break easily you must think a moment or two before installing the solar panel. It may increase the installation cost as well as may reduce the sustainability of your solar panel. Therefore, make sure the roof is structurally sound before instaling the panel.
Is my roof too old to install Solar Panels?
Roofs made of asphalt shingles can last 20-30 years. However, metal roofs have a greater life expectancy of 40-50 years. Brick roofs pitched with tar has greater sustainability. An old roof may be fragile and collapse easily. Therefore, calculating the age and the material the roof was built with before installing a solar panel is always a very good idea. Apart of that, the age of the roof doesn’t matter in electricity production.
Is my roof facing the right direction for the solar panels to work effectively?
If you are living in the southern hemisphere, the best effectiveness you can gain from a solar panel is if it is facing the True North. However, if you are a resident of the northern hemisphere, the solar panel should face true south. Considering the fact that we don’t always have the opportunity to build our houses having the installation of solar panels in our mind, we can always use additional equipment to hang the solar panels in the right place. Consult your installer and make room for the solar panels.
Does my roof need to be replaced?
Given the condition of your roof, if you find yourself in a difficult position and deciding that you should replace your roof- think it through. You can always solve the minor problem if you increase the a little installation cost. Replacing your roof will be relatively costly.
Also, you can always reform your roof. For example, we usually composite the roof if our roof is made of fragile materials. Therefore, after identifying the problems you are facing, consult your installer or specialist and ask what can be done.
These are cases when you should replace your roof:
When the cost of the installation outweighs the cost of the replacement. That means when you need heavy additional equipment or the procedure of the installation is complex and therefore the labour cost is high. When the roof cannot be reformed or it is too weak to be reformed. When the roof is not of a sound structure. The roof may be really old and fragile and may collapse at any time.
In these cases, replacing the roof might be a good idea.
Solar Panels are good for the environment and for your electricity budget. Properly installed solar arrays can give you service for a long time. Who knows? Installing solar panels may be the best decision you could ever make in this ever-changing world. But remember, to get maximum efficiency, you must think it through. Go Solar! Go Green!