Solar panels are appearing on roofs from Tuscon to Phoenix, and it may have you wondering, “Is my roof suitable for solar?” With the many benefits that solar can offer — like reduced or eliminated electricity bills, protection against rising energy costs, and a high return on investment — plus the 30% Federal Tax Credit that is still available for solar, now is sure a good time to be asking.
With the many options that are available for residential solar PV systems, chances are there is a solar solution for your home. Here are some of the most important roof factors to think about as you consider investing in solar.
How much open space is on your roof?
You will, of course, need open space on your roof is you’re hoping to have solar panels installed there. A good rule of thumb is that if your roof could theoretically fit three cars parked side-by-side, it has enough open space for solar panels. The most suitable roofs for solar are relatively clear of obstructions like chimneys and dormers.
What’s your roof orientation?
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, south facing solar panels see the must sunlight throughout the day and therefore generate the most energy. However, your roof does not need to face south in order for solar to make financial sense.
If your local utility charges more for electricity used during the late afternoon and evening, for example — and many Arizona utility companies like TEP do — it may be advantageous to install west-facing solar panels on your roof (because west-facing panels will generate more electricity during the afternoon and evening.)
Is your roof angled or flat?
Many Arizona homeowners believe that you must have a sloped roof in order to install solar panels. However, flat roofs can also be excellent candidates for solar. In fact, a flat roof frees up a solar contractor to install solar panels at the optimum orientation and angle for maximum energy production based on your location. While some system components, like the racking used to mount the solar panels, may differ for a flat roof, installing solar on a flat roof is cost-comparable to installing solar on a sloped roof.
How much sunlight hits your roof?
In order for roof mounted solar panels to be the most effective at providing your home with clean energy, they must see at least four hours of peak sunlight during the day. If your roof is heavily shaded by nearby trees or buildings (or even other parts of the roof), this may not be possible. Keep in mind, however, that shading on your roof changes throughout the day; so shading might not be as much of an issue as you think.
What roofing material is used on your roof?
Solar panels are best installed on strong, durable roofing materials like composite or asphalt shingles, concrete tile, or standing seam metal. That said, the right solar provider has the experience necessary to install solar panels on other roofing materials like wood shakes, slate tile, and clay.
Do you have open land?
Your roof isn’t the only place where you can install solar panels. If your roof has numerous obstructions, sees excessive shading, or is otherwise not ideal for solar, a ground mounted solar panel system might be right for you.
Are you working with the right solar contractor?
Ultimately, the right solar contractor will be able to assess your roof and walk you through your options based on its unique factors. At Energy Solution Providers, we have extensive experience helping homeowners determine their homes’ suitability for solar and design solar PV systems that make the most financial sense for them. If you have questions about what solar might look like on your home, get in touch with our team!
Wondering if your roof is suitable for solar? You can find out with a free quote! Call 520-868-0700 or contact us today to book your free quote.