Installing a home solar panel system is an investment that pays dividends by way of allowing you to make energy savings. The installation costs of the systems are also becoming lower as time goes on. In the U.S for example, solar installation costs have dropped by about 70% in the last 10 years.
Solar power technology has experienced tremendous improvements over the years, making it more lucrative to homeowners and businesses across the globe. To prepare for the installation of solar power equipment, people typically look into making designated water channel runoffs, and repair and reinforce the roof of their home. Before installing solar panel systems, it is recommended to get an inspection from a certified roofing company in your area.
There are many other things you need to put into consideration before you commence the installation process. These may differ from one project to another. In this article, we have put together a list of things you need to consider before installing a solar panel system for your home or your business.
1. Runoff Water On The Roof
Your roof should have a well-designed water channel through which rainwater runs off the roof. Do not have the solar panels installed in such a way that they prevent the water from flowing smoothly into the gutters.
Make sure the wire harnesses and the racking do not block the water flow or redirect it to unwanted places. This can cause roof leaks, making you incur extra roof repair costs in the future, in which case the solar panels will have to be removed.
The installation process requires proper planning as you work alongside your contractor to achieve proper drainage for your roof.
2. How Much Sunlight Does Your Roof Get?
This is perhaps the most important question you should ask because it determines if a solar power system is a viable option for your property.
You can carry out an assessment of how much power you can generate using solar panels by using Project Sunroof which is a free Google tool. You just need to key in your address and you will get an estimate of the potential savings you could make with solar power. For the best potential savings estimate, have a utility bill ready.
If your property has a lot of shade around it, it may be very difficult to harness solar power. Some types of shade can be eliminated while others cannot. For example, trees can be cut down or pruned while shade from other buildings around your property cannot be controlled.
3. The Strength Of Your Roof
Installing solar panels will increase the weight load on your roof. You must make sure your roof is strong enough to handle the extra weight. If the weight of the solar panels is too much for your roof to sustain, it can collapse. This is both dangerous and costly.
Carry out an evaluation of your roof’s structure and load-bearing capacity. Provide additional support if there is a need for it. If possible, have a professional carry out the assessment.
4. The Type Of Roof
The material used to construct the roof on which you want to install the solar panels matters greatly. It will determine a lot of things, including whether you require additional support for your roof.
Roof types good for solar panel installation include metallic roofs made from metal tiles or tar, gravel roofs, and asphalt shingles. Wood Shake is also good. These are made of wood but are not advisable to be used in areas with high fire risk. Learn the difference between wood shake and wood shingles here. Concrete shingle material is more advisable compared to clay tile which can easily break.
Didn’t see your roof type on this list? No need to worry. With professional input, solar panels can be installed on nearly any roof type. Some options may just be a little more costly.
5. Roof Pitch
You must look out for the pitch of your roof. Their angle of inclination affects the efficiency of your solar power system and the safety of your solar panels. A very steep roof poses the danger of the solar panels slipping off if not properly supported. The installation procedure can end up being an absolute nightmare.
The pitch of the roof is determined by dividing the rise by the run of the roof. A roof pitch between 30-45 degrees works well in most cases, the ideal angle being 30 degrees. Anything steeper than 45 degrees is considered too steep.
For flat roofs, you can still install the solar panels but you have to use brackets to tilt the panels to a suitable angle. Therefore, if you have a flat roof, you have to put this into consideration and budget for the extra costs.
6. Maintenance Of Solar Panels
You do not want the cost of maintaining solar panels to exceed your normal electricity bills. As a matter of fact, solar panels are mainly installed to reduce the amount of money spent on electricity.
Before installing the solar panels, establish maintenance procedures that will work best for your system in order to keep your solar panels working optimally at all times. Do not install the solar panels if you cannot keep them in good working condition with little effort. They may not serve you as well as you would desire.
The best way to establish these procedures is by finding out from your contractor what are the best maintenance practices from within their company.
Solar panel installation is a superb idea that can result in a multitude of benefits. From government incentives to lower electricity bills, solar panel systems can help you make the planet a greener place to live all while saving you a few bucks. Taxpayers can get a tax credit of up to 26% of the installation costs depending on the state in which you are located. In Canada, you can receive grants for installing solar panels depending on your province.
Before you get excited about the benefits of solar power, get to know if your home is suitable for solar systems. Assess your roof for problems associated with leaks, pitch, and general repairs. Proceed to the installation process only once you are satisfied that you will have no major hiccups.