Is My House Suitable for Solar Panels?
Is My Home Suitable for Solar Panels?
There are four ways to identify the suitability of solar panels for your home, namely:
- Roof style
- Roof pitch
- Roof material
Here are the most common roof types in Australia:
- Hip roof. This type of roof features slopes on all its sides that meet at the top, forming a triangle. This design allows debris, snow, or water to slide off solar panels, enabling them to get maximum solar exposure. Also, the hip roof design allows technicians to install solar from any side for optimum sun exposure. However, it may require additional mounting equipment to accommodate the angled slopes.
- Skillion roof. A skillion roof, also known as a shed roof, has a single sloping surface that typically slopes towards one side of the building (looks like a tilted flat roof). This type of roof is commonly used in modern and contemporary homes. This type of roofing can have maximum sun exposure at certain times and shading at other times.
- Flat roof. A flat roof has no slope at all, making installing solar panels easier as they can be mounted at an angle that allows maximum sun exposure. If you have this kind of roofing, your technician will have to install tilt frames because mounting solar without them will result in less power generation and more dirt, debris, and water accumulation that will shorten your solar panel’s lifespan.
Solar installers will mostly visit your home in advance to ascertain whether your roof type is suitable for solar installation. This is because your home's roof type may require additional equipment and labour, thus complicating the solar panel installation process.
Composite roofs, also known as asphalt shingle roofs, are relatively easier to install solar panels on than other roofing materials. Asphalt shingles enable your solar installer to slide the footings for the panels underneath the shingles and then secure them to the roof's rafters.
Tile roofs can be more difficult to work with since the solar installer will have to remove some of the tiles to mount the racking frame directly on the roof. This may cause damage to some tiles.
Metal roofs are suitable for solar panel installation and can easily support the weight of the panels. They’re a favourite of solar panel installers due to their durability, ease of solar panel installation and lower installation cost.
Wooden roofs are not typically recommended for solar panel installation due to their tendency to warp and rot over time. They can also be a fire hazard. If you have a wooden roof and are interested in solar installation, it is important to have a professional carefully evaluate the roof's condition and suitability for installation.
Roof Pitch and Orientation
Your solar panel’s installation angle greatly affects the overall energy output. That is why your solar panel installer will suggest installation where your panels will have the maximum amount of energy striking them. In Australia, it is usually ideal for solar panels to face northwards as they will then receive the most sun throughout the day. If your roof’s orientation doesn’t allow north-facing installation, you may choose northeast or northwest facing options depending on your energy usage throughout the day.
Whether you have composite, tile, metal or wooden roofing, the most critical factor is their condition. New or well-maintained roofs will require fewer repairs and will hold the panel’s weight for up to 40 years. However, if your roof is old, it will naturally deteriorate and may be too weak to support several solar panels.
Installing solar panels will help you generate power using renewable energy and save money. If you want to install solar energy but are unsure your home is suitable for solar panels, contact a trusted solar provider for professional advice.