Solar energy is no longer considered a fringe option for those who feel experimental. Now a mainstream technology, residential solar energy usage grew by 51 percent in 2014. In fact, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports that 32 percent of all new electricity generation capacity came from solar installations last year.
For people who want to conserve energy, and save money long term on utility costs, the installation of solar panels seems like a smart move. The sun is a renewable source of energy, after all, and with the right solar collection panels, homeowners can reap the benefits of harnessing their own power. The cost of that initial installation has also gone down tremendously, making it a reasonable option for homeowners who want to shift from dependence on fossil fuels for power.
There are some things to consider before taking the plunge and paying to have your own solar panels installed, though. Not every roof is in the right shape or facing the right direction to see optimal solar results, and not every yard allows enough natural light. There are even some places where solar installation is simply not allowed.
So how do you know if your home will work for solar installation?
Take a look at a few determining factors:
The Right Roof.
Solar panels don’t weigh much (less than 5 pounds per square foot) but in cases where roofs are 10 years or older, an inspection should be done first. If the structure of the roof is not strong enough to accommodate the panels, it could mean expensive repairs later on. Some of the things an inspection should address are leaks and any cracking in roofing materials that needs to be repaired first.
This seems simple enough – but when overlooked can compromise the amount of energy you are actually able to collect. It’s best to have the panels placed on a roof that is facing south at a 17-degree slant. A roof facing southeast or southwest also works. If there are any trees or other potential blocking agents in your yard or on your roof (chimneys, vents, other buildings) consider removal or not placing the panels where they will be blocked by the sun. Ideally solar panels will be able to collect sunlight without the hindrance of shade between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. every day.
The Right To Do It.
If you are a renter, you are most likely not allowed to do something as major as installing solar panels (though it never hurts to ask). There are also some homeowner or condo associations that will not allow solar panels to be part of the neighborhood. In most locations, you will need a permit of some sort for the actual installation process. Check into what you need to do and know before you begin the solar installation task so that you don’t have to reverse all that hard work later on.
The best way to find out if your home is ideal for solar installation is to have a professional consultation completed. Solar Tech technicians can look at your roof and the other particulars of your home to determine if you will receive the maximum benefit from solar panels if you contact them for a free consultation. If your home ends up not being a great fit for solar, there are other routes you can take like using the roof of an outlying building (like a barn) or even an open, well-lit yard area. There are plenty of options and expert technicians can give you the best advice on how to make solar ideals a reality in your home.