Is your roof suitable for solar panels?
Solar has been on your mind for a while, and you're finally ready to invest in a system... But, have you considered whether or not your roof is suitable for panels?
Believe it or not, but not all roofs are ideal for solar. There is much to consider before installing a solar system – chief among these is your roof.
Considerations to keep front of mind include:
- Shade coverage
Panels are powered through light, so you definitely do not want any shade on the section of the roof where the panels will be installed.
- The complexity of your roof
The more elaborate and unusual the roof (e.g. slate), the higher the cost of installation compared to a standard roof with an average tilt.
- The direction the roof faces
Ideally, the roof should be facing due north and tilting level with your latitude. However, this doesn’t mean that east or west facing roofs can’t also be suitable for solar panels. If your roof faces another direction, you can likely still see plenty of benefit from installing a solar array. East and west facing roofs will still see a good deal of energy generation throughout the course of the day. For example, an east facing roof will be exposed to sunlight in the morning whereas a west facing roof will take in more sunlight in the afternoon.
- Age of the roof
Older roofs bring to question their ability to support a solar array. The design of your roof and its structural strength determines the quantity of solar panels you’re able to install. A structural assessment should be conducted to confirm your roof's load bearing capacity.
- Materials the roof is made of
Consider whether the roof material will be able to support the panels, especially if you want the panels to move (tracking systems).
An asbestos roof poses a serious health hazard, and most solar service providers will refuse to install a system on an asbestos roof. However, there are a few options that you can consider:
1. Have specialists remove the asbestos and replace with a new corrugated steel roof. This may be expensive, but at least you will have a long-lasting, well-insulated roof to fit solar panels on.
2. You could consider getting a ground mounted PV array – this requires sufficient land and planning permission, but will of course be an independent structure with no need to disturb the roof.
Solar makes sense
Any which way you look at it, solar is still a viable investment. Always consult with an expert for a professional opinion on a suitable solar installation for your roof. Most importantly, remember to do your due diligence before investing in a solar system.
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