If you have decided to make an investment in a solar panel system for your property, you’re not alone. There are now plenty of property owners who have taken the big leap forward, and there’s no looking back for sure – especially when you consider the savings you will acquire with your system and the fact that it’s an energy source that will not run out (not in a few billion years, that is). But now that you’re in the process of determining the solar panel system for your needs, you also have to think about the suitability of your roof for an installation. So what should you know? Let’s find out.
The basics on roof suitability
The first thing you need to remember is that even if your roof doesn’t seem to be ideal, it can still be made to fit a solar panel installation. You can get advice from different installers regarding this, as they can recommend a solution that would help you maximise your system’s energy output. Some installers, for instance, can recommend a solar panel roof, which is made of integrated solar panels that would replace your actual roof’s slates or tiles. This is often ideal for newly-built homes or old roofs and cannot stand the weight of a panel system.
Your solar installer will conduct a survey and provide you with projections on the amount of energy your system can generate in a year. With this, it’s easier to figure out how long it will take you to recoup your solar panel investment.
Factors to consider:
- The pitch and direction
When it comes to pitch, the ideal pitch for a roof is from 30 to 40 degrees. Although your roof’s angle may be outside this particular range, your system can still effectively produce electricity. A solar panel can absorb the appropriate amount of the sun’s rays even if it is placed horizontally. But a solar panel placed under 12 degrees from a horizontal angle would not have the capacity to self-clean, so its efficiency can be affected as it accumulates dirt.
For the direction of your roof, the experts say that the best direction is southwards. Southwards-facing solar panels can get the most out of the sun’s energy whilst it is at its strongest. But even roofs facing eastwards or westwards can still be suitable for an installation, as a roof facing east can get sunlight exposure in the morning, whilst a roof facing west can take advantage of afternoon sunlight.
- The size
Your roof size (and whether it’s suitable) will depend on your array size. For example, if you want a 4kW system, you would have to have about 28 sq. metres of space on your roof. Also, think about obstructions on your roof that may interrupt your solar panel layout, such as roof vents, turrets, or skylights. Fortunately, plenty of installers have no problem working around those obstructions, but it may make the cost of installation higher.
- The material
The material of your roof will determine how strong it is for an array, and if it’s not strong enough, you may need to have it strengthened. Composite roofs or roofs with asphalt shingles are the most ideal since it is durable and reliable. Metal is another excellent material.