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Are Solar Panels Right For Your Roof?

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Today’s efficient solar panels can help you save on electricity almost immediately after installation, even if the weather isn’t always sunny. But is your house ready for a solar panel installation? Let’s discuss what makes a roof a good candidate for this green, energy-saving option.

Roof Angle and Orientation

The more directly a solar panel can face the sky, the more efficient it will be. A steep roof pitch can be problematic, because this aims panels toward the horizon where it’s more difficult for them to absorb sun rays. Lower angles allow panels to face the sky, which is an ideal setup.

Also consider the direction that panels would face. Panels are most commonly placed to face west and south to get as much sunlight as possible. But direction is also affected by objects in the way of the panels. Trees, apartment buildings and other objects can get in the way of panels and make them far less useful.

Roof Space

Solar panels need a certain amount of level space on a roof. Narrow rooftops or roofs with a lot of vents, chimneys and skylights may not have enough space for a high-quality solar panel installation. Yes, you can install a single panel on most residential rooftops, but that is unlikely to generate enough extra energy to make the project worthwhile. These challenges make it important to have a quality inspection and estimate for any solar panel project.

Roof Materials and Condition

Certain roofing surfaces can better support panels than other materials. For residential rooftops, metal seam and clay tile rooftops are generally the best. The good news is that the average shingle roof works well too. However, the condition of the roof also matters. Contractors don’t like to put solar panels on an old or damaged roof. A solar installation project is also the right time to consider roof repairs or replacing that side of your roof to prepare for the change. Talk with Findlay Roofing to make sure that your roof can support a solar panel installation.

Installation and Pricing

Many homeowners are concerned about how much solar panels will cost, and how long the installation will take. Today’s residential installations are easier than ever before, and an average home solar panel project can be completed in a day or two. This also helps lower the price on initial costs, which tend to be around $3 to $4 per watt of power you receive in 2017. That means a 6k-watt project would cost around $15,000, although prices vary by location and home.

Homeowner Association Regulations

Many neighborhoods have Homeowner Association (HOA) regulations which dictate how your house must look. Solar panels aren’t usually a problem, but some HOA regulations may prevent or restrict them based on appearance. It’s important to review your HOA regulations to find out if you have any association obligations.

Photo source: BigStock