15 Things to Consider Before Installing Rooftop Solar Panels
Consider planning a redesign of your roof before installing solar panels. Installing solar panels needs to be well-thought-out, highly intentional, and accurate. Before you make the move to solar energy consider the following things.
1. Does your roof need repairs?
Before considering solar panel installation, take an assessment of the condition of your roof. Does it leak? Is it structurally sound? Are there any shingles or tiles missing? It is a good idea to repair any existing problems before installing solar panels so you can ensure a long life for your system.
In some cases, you may need to replace your roof to ensure that it is properly installed. Depending on the type of roof you have this could be a good opportunity to look into a more energy efficient roofing material such as metal roofing or copper roofing.
2. What is the shape of your roof?
It is important to know whether your roof is flat, pitched, or curved. If your roof is flat, you will need rails to tilt the panels to an angle that will give them an optimal amount of sun exposure. In the case of a pitched roof, you will need to tilt the solar panels to an angle so they can still receive direct sunlight.
On the other hand, if you have a curved roof you will not be able to install a solar panel system. It can be very difficult to mount solar panels on curved roof surfaces, and it often is not worth the effort.
3. Which direction do the slopes of your roof face?
The direction of the slope of your roof also matters. Solar panel installation is most efficient when the panels point towards the south. This assures the highest amount of light for the longest amount of time. If your roof slopes in the wrong direction, you may need to install a different type of mounting system, such as large, adjustable tracker mounts.
4. How much weight can your roof handle?
Before installing solar panels, you should be aware of how much weight your roof can manage. Depending on the size of the panels, you may need to employ a structural engineer to make sure your system is securely and safely mounted to the roof. Solar panels require a mounting system and with the right system, the weight of the panels should not be more than 180 pounds per 100 square feet of roof.
5. Where will the water go?
As water runs off of the roof your solar panel installation will need a thorough drainage system. A properly engineered drainage system will protect your investment and make sure the system is working correctly.
6. What about nature’s other surprises?
You also need to account for any potential disasters that may impact your home, such as extreme weather, high winds, hailstorms, and earthquakes. You need to consider the impact of these potential disasters and make sure your solar panel system is designed and installed to withstand them.
7. How do you connect to the grid?
Solar systems must be connected to the main power grid in order to properly function. For grid-tied systems, the solar panels connect to an inverter, which is in turn connected to the grid. This allows you to use the solar energy you generate to offset the energy you consume from the grid. You will need the approval from the local utility provider before connecting to the grid.
8. What type of panels should you get?
The type of solar panel you choose is important. There are several different panel types on the market, including monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film. Monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells are highly efficient and long lasting. Thin-film panels are a less efficient but are also more flexible and easier to install.
9. What type of mounting system should you use?
The type of mounting system you use is just as important as the panels you choose. You need to make sure the mounting system you choose is specifically designed for the type of roofing on your home and will securely hold the solar panel in place.
10. What are the costs of solar panels?
The cost of solar panels depends on the size of the solar system you plan to install, the type of equipment, and any applicable rebates or incentives. Installation can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on where you live and the complexity of your system. It is important to research incentives and other programs that may reduce or offset the cost of installing solar panels.
11. Does your municipality offer solar incentives?
Asking your municipality if they have any solar incentives or programs is a good idea. Many states, cities, and towns offer benefits and other incentives for homeowners who install solar panels. It is important to research any incentives or programs in your area so you can take advantage of them and maximize your energy savings.
12. How much energy will you save?
The amount of energy you can expect to save from installing solar panels depends on a few factors, such as the size and type of the system, the amount of sun your area gets, and the size of your electricity bill. Generally speaking, most solar panel systems will provide enough energy to offset a good portion of your bills.
13. How permanent is a solar system?
Solar panels are designed to last for around 25 years, although some may last longer. While the panels will continue to produce energy during their lifespan, they will eventually need to be replaced. However, a solar panel system can be easily removed, making it an attractive option for homeowners who may move in the future.
14. What type of maintenance is required?
For the most part, solar panel systems require very little maintenance. An annual inspection of the system is recommended in order to identify any performance issues early. Other than annual inspections, the solar panel system should require no additional maintenance.
15. What is the warranty on solar panels?
Most solar panels have a 25 or 30 year warranty, but the details of the warranty vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is important to read the warranty carefully in order to understand what is covered and for how long.
What I wish I knew before installing solar panels?
I wish I knew just how easy solar panel installation can be. With a lot of research and a qualified solar installer, you can have a solar panel system up and running within a few weeks.
I also wish I knew more about the various financing and incentive options available to homeowners interested in solar energy. There are many programs that can help offset the costs of installing solar panels, and I wish I had taken the time to research them.
Finally, I wish I had considered the long-term maintenance and upkeep of the system. Solar systems require very little maintenance, but an annual inspection is recommended in order to identify any performance issues early. Knowing this ahead of time would have been very helpful.
Installing solar panels can be a great way to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and create a more sustainable future. Investing in a solar panel system is a long-term investment, and it is important to make sure you are prepared and informed before making the decision to install solar panels. Doing your research and considering the factors mentioned above can help you make an informed decision and get the most out of your solar panel system.