At its core, installing solar panels is an investment towards a more sustainable future. By relying on solar energy, not only can you reduce your electricity bill, but you can also help combat climate change. Yet, when it comes to installing rooftop solar, there are a few things to consider before taking the leap. This article will cover 15 things to keep in mind before installing rooftop solar panels.
Does your roof need repairs?
To get the most out of your solar panels, it’s essential to have a structurally sound roof. Before installing, inspect your roof for any damage that might need to be addressed first, such as missing shingles, gaps, or cracks. Additionally, make sure there are no leaks that need to be addressed. Ensure your roof can handle the extra weight of the solar panels and the mounting system. It’s also essential to check for safety hazards such as power lines and other obstructions that could be in the way.
What is the shape of your roof?
The configuration of your roof affects the size and shape of the solar installation. First, take note of the orientation of the roof’s slopes. Solar panels should ideally be facing toward the south (in the Northern Hemisphere) or North (in the Southern Hemisphere). If the slope of your roof is facing East or West, you will lose roughly 25 percent of the efficiency compared to if it were facing South. Additionally, the size and shape of your roof will determine the number of panels you can fit in one circuit.
Which direction do the slopes of your roof face?
In either hemisphere, solar panels should be facing the sun’s direction of travel (south in the Northern Hemisphere and north in the Southern Hemisphere). If the slope of your roof does not follow this direction, then you have options to consider. Solar panels can be mounted on slanted roofs as well as flat roofs, and further adjust the pitch and angle to get the maximum amount of direct solar energy into the cells.
How much weight can your roof handle?
It’s important to know how much weight your roof can handle before you start installing your solar panels. A solar panel consists of several components, such as the panels themselves, mounting kits, wiring and other components. This can add up to a substantial weight and must be taken into account prior to the installation of the panels. Every roof is different, and a professional can provide you with an accurate estimate for the maximum weight your roof can handle.
Where will the water go?
The waterproofing of a rooftop solar system is essential to ensure that the panels last for years to come. Before installing, research a good waterproofing material that can protect the panels from moisture, and test the material on a small area of the roof first to make sure it won’t cause any damage. Make sure to account for all sorts of potential water, including snow and rain, and determine how and where the water will drain away after it hits the panels. This is important to prevent problems like ice, debris or moss buildup.
What about nature’s other surprises?
Aside from water, other potential hazards can also arise from nature. Pigeons, for example, can cause a lot of damage to your solar panels. These birds are especially fond of the heat generated by solar panels, so it’s important to invest in proper bird repellents to protect the panels from damage. Additionally, don’t forget about weather conditions. Solar panels can withstand general weather conditions, but consider investments in extra protection against heavy winds and snowfall.
How do you connect to the grid?
The final step of installing solar panels is connecting them to your utility grid. Before purchasing and installing, it’s essential to do research on local government regulations and local utility company requirements concerning solar energy. Some utility providers may also offer incentives for using solar panels. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the components needed to connect your system to the grid safely and efficiently.
When it comes to installing rooftop solar panels, the best thing you can do is to plan ahead. Make sure to research thoroughly and inspect your roof for potential hazards before taking the plunge. Account for nature’s surprises as well as local government regulations and utility company requirements. Answering these 15 questions can help you make an informed decision on whether or not rooftop solar is right for you.
The question remains, “What do I need to know before buying solar?” Ultimately, what works best for your home is up to you to decide. Analyze the 15 points listed above, consider your budget, and assess your home’s suitability for solar installations. With the abundance of information available online, there is no shortage of resources to get you started on your solar journey!