5 Things to Consider Before Installing Solar
Solar panels are a worthy investment for your home and have numerous benefits when installed correctly, including lower utility bills and sometimes federal or local incentives that help offset the cost. When you have decided to invest in a professional solar panel installation, there are a few considerations to make in the beginning as you prepare for the installation to ensure you get the most energy out of your solar panels as your home and property allows.
Working alongside your solar panel company for proper recommendations, we suggest taking into consideration these 5 property aspects that will ensure you have done all you can to prepare your home for the solar panel installation. This quick checklist will take you through your roof’s basic requirements, the climate and location of your home that may require additional planning to position your solar panels correctly, and alternative solutions to some basic problems you may be wondering about.
It is important to feel confident when investing in solar panels, and these tips will help you feel prepared and ready to maintain your solar panels long term, without setbacks, so they can continue to provide for your home for years to come.
1) Does your roof have damages or leak?
When considering a solar panel installation, first look at the current state of your roof before scheduling the installation date. If your roof is nearing a decade of age or older, has damage or is leaking, you want to address these repairs before moving ahead with a solar panel installation. If you leave damages unrepaired, find leaks later, or your roof’s age requires an entire replacement shortly after your solar panels are installed, you are looking at a much more difficult and possibly expensive process that could have been prevented with some quick fixes prior to installation.
Locating roof leaks can sometimes be a difficult and tedious process, as not all roof leaks are visible. Ensure you conduct a proper inspection of your roof and the interior of your home at locations where roof leaks might appear before scheduling the installation. Talk to your solar panel installation company to see if they conduct roof inspections or can refer you to a professional who will help confirm your roof is ready without any immediate repairs necessary.
2) What is the slope of your roof?
Although almost any roof can have solar panels installed despite its slope, certain angles are better for energy than others. If your roof is flat, a solar panel installation company can install brackets to ensure the angle is right for maximum performance and self-cleaning.
If your home’s roof is too steep, however, it may be unable to receive the right amount of sunlight to provide the energy necessary for your home. Talk to your solar panel installation company about the slope of your roof and options they have to compensate for steep-slope or flat roofs.
If your roof is too steep or you face other issues, discuss the option of installing solar panels on a garage, carport, or other nearby areas on your property that may provide a better angle and position.
3) Is your current roofing material eligible for solar panel installations?
Some roofing materials are better than others for solar panel installations. The best-recommended roofing types include metal standing seams, clay or Spanish tile, asphalt or composite roofing, EPDM rubber, and TPO or PVC. These roofing types allow for minimal disruptions to be made to the roof during installation and allows for the securest installation.
Slate and wood tiled roofs, however, pose risks and may be unable to accommodate solar panels due to unstable fixture points that can cause issues.
Discuss options with your solar panel company to see if a roofing upgrade is necessary to replace your roofing material before the installation.
4) Does your roof receive enough sunlight?
Solar panels are a great product to invest in because they do not need direct sunlight in order to operate. However, the direction your roof faces and how much shade coverage you have should still be considered when investing in solar panels.
If your roof is angled in such a way you can receive direct sunlight most of the day, you are set. If your roof is mostly shaded or faces away from direct sunlight, you may need to consider other location options for installation.
Indirect sunlight and shade most often impact families who have a lot of energy consumption – a solar consultation can be the best way to know if solar panels on your roof will assist with the amount of energy your family utilizes. Shaded roofs or roofs that do not face the sun may not meet your energy requirements, and in that case, altering the location of the solar panels should be discussed if your property allows for another installation point, like in a garden or on a carport.
Finding Your Total Solar Resource Fraction (TSRF)
One popular method of measuring this is to determine what your Total Solar Resource Fraction or TSRF. This a percent of the sunlight that an area will receive based on shade, angle, latitude, and more.
(Read More: What is TSRF by Sunbridge Solar)
5) Do you experience severe weather that might result in damages?
Rainy, cloudy, or windy climates may not impact the function of your solar panels, but severe storms that can cause damages should be considered during your solar panel prep.
Consider the number of trees around your house and if you often experience dislodged branches hitting your roof during storms that may otherwise hit your solar panels once they are installed. Extreme wind or hail should also be considered and discussed with your solar company before completing the installation.
If you do experience severe or extreme weather, you have options. Discuss your issues with the solar company to see if they offer higher-durability materials or other protection. Be sure to call your insurance company as well to add solar panel coverage to your policy, so any damages you experience will be compensated.
Next Steps to Install Solar
Investing in solar panels can be a great step towards energy efficiency and an exciting home improvement project. Make the process a bit easier by taking into consideration these items and discussing your options with the solar company you choose.
No matter what preparations you need to make, there is almost always a solution to get your home and roof ready for solar panel installations that will last for years. Utilize your solar company during this time for advice, consultations, and recommended solutions so you can get the most energy out of your solar panels as possible with few setbacks along the way.