15 Things to Consider Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels
Introduction: What I wish I Knew Before Getting Solar Panels
Now more than ever, homeowners are looking for ways to become more eco-friendly. One of the best ways to do this is to install solar panels. But before you take the plunge and start the installation process, you should weigh all of the considerations beforehand. There are many factors that contribute to the overall solar panel installation process and knowing them upfront will save you both time and money. From considering the current condition of your roof and understanding the right materials to use to making sure your home is eligible for certain financial incentives and whether or not your roof is able to adequately hold the panels, there are a multitude of things to consider.
Does Your Roof Need Repairs?
The very first question you need to consider before installing solar panels is the condition of your roof. After all, your solar panel system is only as reliable as the foundation on which it stands. Therefore, it’s important to check your roof to make sure it doesn’t have any worn and aging materials or leaks prior to installation. Aside from checking for any signs of wear, it’s also important to ensure that the structure of your roof is strong and secure. If any significant repairs are required, then it should be done before you mount the solar panels. If not, the added weight of the panels may cause further damage.
What Is The Shape Of Your Roof?
The shape of your roof substantially impacts the effectiveness of your solar panel system. The ideal shape is one that has an unobstructed and easy access to the sun. This means that a flat roof or a roof without a lot of slopes work great with solar panels. However, if you have a roof that has slopes of various angles, then digital tools can be used to accurately map the sections of the roof that receive the most direct sunlight. This way, you can strategically place the solar panels to maximize their exposure.
Which Direction Do The Slopes Of Your Roof Face?
Knowing in which direction the slopes of your roof face is important when it comes to ensuring maximum efficiency with your solar panel system. Generally, south-facing slopes are the best when it comes to solar power, as they receive the most sunlight. If the slopes of your roof face east or west, then the solar panels will be next best performing in those cases.
How Much Weight Can Your Roof Handle?
The next factor to consider is how much weight your roof can handle. To ensure safety and reliability, installers typically calculate the maximum amount of weight that a roof can bear prior to installation. Large solar systems can have several panels, each weighing dozens of pounds, so the amount of weight your roof can bear is essential to know beforehand.
Where Will The Water Go?
One of the most important aspects in regards to the installation process is knowing where the water will go. What you need to take into consideration is the slope of the roof, pitch, and overall design. Without properly angled slopes, the water will accumulate and cause mold or other contaminants to grow. This is why it’s important to choose an installation plan that account for the angles of the slopes, together with the strength of the materials used.
What About Nature’s Other Surprises?
When installing solar panels, there may be some surprises lurking in the way as well. For example, things such as very large trees, excessive wind, and storms may deter the direct exposure of the solar panels to the sun. Trees may also drop sap on the panels, which can cause damage. Additionally, snow may reduce the panels’ total output. However, several things can be done to help limit the amount of these natural elements that can harm the solar panels, such as pruning giant trees or using proper roof-mounts that keep the panels farther away from the roof surface.
How Do You Connect To The Grid?
Once you’re finished with the installation process and you’ve tested the system, you’ll need to connect to the grid if you don’t have a battery backup system. This requires some paperwork, so it’s important to take the necessary steps prior to the installation. There are several ways to connect to the grid, ranging from one-way flow to a battery-based system.
Are You Eligible For Financial Incentives?
When it comes to solar panels, there are several financial incentives you should look into. For example, some states offer instant rebates for solar panel installations, while some homeowners may be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to 30% of the cost. Additionally, depending on your system’s output, you may be eligible to receive payments through the sale of your electric power.
What Type Of Solar Panels Should You Choose?
Depending on your needs and desired outcome, the kind of solar panel system you should choose can vary. Types of solar installations range from semi-portable systems to integrated systems and come in various sizes. The size of the system you select may depend on the amount of energy you’re looking to generate, while other factors may include the cost, the available space on your roof, and the size of your budget.
What Kind Of Mounting System Do You Need?
In order to properly install the solar panels and ensure their safety from the elements, you need a mounting system. There are several types and styles available, each with its own set of benefits. For example, one option is the rail-mount system, which is a popular choice as it’s versatile, adjustable, and durable.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
Cost is a major factor to consider when deciding on solar panel installations. Depending on the size and quality of the system you choose, prices can range from a few thousand dollars to dozens of thousands due to the different components that make up the system, such as the installation and engineering cost, the mountings, the system size that you need, and other parts.
Is Your Roof Able To Adequately Hold The Panels?
The roof on which the solar installation takes place needs to be able to bear the weight of the solar panels. This may require additional and/or thicker joists and rafters. If your roof can’t adequately support the solar panels, then it may require a connection or a Solar Roof Mount, which is a specialized rack designed to properly and safely support the solar panels.
What Is A Net Metering Plan?
After you install your solar panel system, it’s important to consider your net metering plan. Net metering allows you to receive payments for any surplus electricity that is fed back into the grid and can be a huge opportunity for solar panel owners. Depending on state legislation, the payments that you receive for your solar energy may adjust over time.
Conclusion: 15 Things To Consider Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels
Installing solar panels can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save on electricity bills. Despite the numerous benefits, however, there are a lot of things to consider before taking the plunge and undergoing the installation process. As such, it’s important to consider the current condition of your roof, the angle of the slopes on the roof, how much weight the roof can hold, the materials used in the installation, the type of solar panel system that is best suited for your needs, the mounting system you require, cost, net metering options and any financial incentives you may be eligible for. With all of these in mind, installing solar panels can be a great opportunity to save money and help the environment.