If you’re considering going solar, there are a few key criteria that your home or building should meet:
Roof faces due south to maximize the sunlight the panels collect.
- If your roof is flat then you are all set! The panels can be installed to face due south no matter how your roof is oriented.
- If your roof is pitched, you need to have a section that faces south in order to maximize the amount of solar energy collected by the panels. If your roof faces due east or west, it is still possible to go solar, but energy production will be less optimal than a south-oriented roof.
Remain unshaded between 9am and 3pm.
- The portions of the roof where solar will be installed should be free of shade for most of the day, as shade can significantly reduce electricity production. If you’re not sure if your roof is shaded, an installer can use a tool called a SunEye to figure out if trees or other objects will cast shade during the day.
Enough space to mount panels
- Solar panels require at least 70-100 square feet of flat, unobstructed roof space per 1 KW of installed capacity (roughly 4 panels)
- Obstructions such as dormers, skylights, vents, high gables or HVAC equipment can limit the available space for panels
Have a roof that is in good repair and less than 15 years old.
- If your roof is more than 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing it before or at the same time you purchase the system. Most solar vendors recommend using roofing material that will last as long as the system, which is about 25 to 30 years.
- Many people are concerned about the additional weight of solar panels on their roof. Surprisingly, solar panels are not particularly heavy and their weight is spread out across the entire length of the roof (as opposed to an air conditioning unit, for example, which has all its weight concentrated in a single spot).