Is My Roof Good For Solar Panels?
One of the biggest factors that influence your ability to go solar is how suitable your property is, and your roof plays a big role in that. Characteristics like roof orientation, material, condition, and shading all impact whether your roof can accommodate solar panels. Homeowners come to us all the time wondering if their roof is suitable for solar panels, so we can help you understand how these qualities impact your solar potential. Here are the main factors that determine whether or not your roof can support solar and some options you have if your roof isn’t ideal for it.
Roof Orientation: What Is the Best Direction for Solar Panels?
You may have heard that only-south facing roofs are good for solar, but that’s a misconception. South-facing roofs are definitely ideal, but they’re not the only option. Solar can be installed facing the east or west and still produce plenty of energy. We’ve successfully helped many homeowners wipe out their electric bills in spite of less than desirable roof orientations. For example, the Galkowskis, a Westwood family, turned to us to help them build a solar system on their east and west-facing, shaded roof. With a tailored design to optimize sun exposure and high-efficiency products, their system brought their monthly electric bill from 220 to only 60. Plus, they’re able to offset the remaining balance with solar incentives.
Roof Size: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
Typical solar panels require about 15 square feet each. so the size of your roof plays a key role in how much energy your solar panels will produce. The more roof space you have, the more panels you can fit. In the US, the average roof needs about 230 square feet of rooftop space to accommodate a solar system that can cover the home’s power bill. Vent pipes, chimneys, and other fixtures can interfere with building an even solar array, but you can still place solar panels around those features.
Roof Type: What Roof Material Is Best for Solar Panels?
A solar system can be installed on pretty much any material, but the installation process and mounting equipment vary by roof type. For this reason, most solar contractors in New England won’t install on slate roofs. Thankfully, asphalt roofing shingles are the most common roofing option in Massachusetts, and this roof type is great for solar. Wood shingles, like cedar, are also found on many homes because of their durability, and solar companies commonly install on this material as well.
Another roof type rising in popularity is the metal roof. These roofs make your home more energy-efficient because they reflect heat, which, in turn, decreases cooling costs and saves you money. The installation process isn’t as straightforward for these roofs as it is for roofs with shingles, so not many contractors will install solar panels on metal roofs. If you have a metal roof and are looking to add solar panels, send us a message.
Last, there are rubber roofs. These are an eco-friendly choice because, like metal roofs, they reflect heat, which can curb energy needs. We have experience installing solar on these roofs, so we’re happy to help design and build a system for you whether you have a metal, rubber, or more traditional roof type.
Roof Condition: Do I Need To Replace My Roof Before Installing Solar Panels?
High-efficiency solar panels are built to last for decades. so it’s crucial that your roof is able to support them for years to come. If you have around 10 to 15 years left in your roof’s lifespan, you shouldn’t worry about replacing it before going solar, especially because panels protect your roof from rain, snow, and sleet, extending the life of your roof. However, if your roof needs to be replaced soon, it’s best to replace your roof when you install panels. You’ll know your roof will last for the lifetime of your system, and you can wrap the cost of a new roof into the Federal Solar Tax Credit. This puts 26% of the costs back in your. so it’s huge savings for a new roof.
If you still have at least 10 years left on your roof, you can take your panels off when you do replace your roof. The company that originally installed your system can remove then reinstall your panels once your new roof is built. If you do this, make sure you consult your solar company and not just a roofer! Your solar installer’s electrician will know how to properly remove your system and reinstall it to keep your warranty intact.
Roof Shading: Does Solar Work in the Shade?
For maximum sun exposure, you want minimal shading. Do you have trees or a chimney that shades your roof? If you have trees that impede solar access, you may want to consider removal. Just like the cost of replacing a roof, the cost of tree removal can be wrapped into the Federal Solar Tax Credit. Certain panel designs help lessen power loss from shading, but you should consider how much the shading impacts your home to see if you should consider tree removal for solar.
Backyard Solar: What Options Are There Besides Rooftop Solar?
Solar panel placement isn’t limited to your roof. If the roof above your home isn’t ideal for solar, there are a range of opportunities still available to you. Detached garages, pergolas, carports, sheds, and barns can house solar panels. Though these structures typically have less space than the roof of your home, they’re often still able to cut your electric bill.
Another choice for solar technology in your backyard is a ground-mounted system. If you have a decent-sized yard, you could install conventional ground-mounted panels, or, to maximize power output and energy savings, you can install a solar tracker. Solar trackers receive optimal sunlight by following the sun from east to west throughout the day. Both of these options are just as powerful, or sometimes even more powerful, than rooftop solar.
The Value of a Site and Roof Evaluation: What’s Next?
Choosing a solar installer to inspect your roof is the best way to know if you’re a good fit for rooftop solar. While there are a handful of websites that offer free quotes through online calculators. these tools fail to take into account the unique roof characteristics outlined above. On the other hand, with an on-site energy assessment, a solar professional carefully examines your roof’s shape, size, condition, shading, and material to ensure your system saves you money and looks good, too. If you decide to go solar, the same team that evaluates your roof can then design and install a custom system based on your needs.
Find Out If You’re A Good Candidate for Solar
We can inspect your roof and give you next steps for going solar. No-cost and no-obligation, just helpful info to make sure solar makes sense for you.
Are Solar Panels Worth It? (2023 Guide)
In most cases, installing solar panels on your home is worth it. Get connected with a trusted solar professional today to determine if solar is right for you.
Join the 9,540 people who have received a free, no-obligation quote in the last 30 days
Faith Wakefield is a writer based in North Carolina. She holds economics and English degrees from UNC Chapel Hill, and her work has been featured on EcoWatch, The World Economic Forum and Today’s Homeowner. In her free time, she loves to binge-watch personal finance videos on YouTube, collect books and spend time in nature.
Tori Addison is an editor who has worked in the digital marketing industry for over five years. Her experience includes communications and marketing work in the nonprofit, governmental and academic sectors. A journalist by trade, she started her career covering politics and news in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her work included coverage of local and state budgets, federal financial regulations and health care legislation.
Karsten Neumeister is an experienced energy professional with subject-matter expertise in energy policy and the solar and retail energy industries. He is currently the Communications Manager for the Retail Energy Advancement League and has prior experience writing and editing content for EcoWatch. Before EcoWatch, Karsten worked for Solar Alternatives, curating content, advocating for local renewable energy policy and assisting the solar engineering and installation teams. Throughout his career, his work has been featured on various outlets including NPR, SEIA, Bankrate, PV Mag and the World Economic Forum.
In most cases, installing residential solar panels is worth it. Solar panels typically last 25 years or more and can dramatically reduce or even eliminate your electricity bills — you can save an average of 1,346 annually on energy bills by going solar.
Solar is a large upfront investment. But the cost of installing a system has decreased by more than 50% over the last 10 years, and incentives like the 30% federal solar tax credit can lower your cost even further.
However, certain conditions and roof features can mean solar isn’t worth it for you. For instance, if your roof is shaded, does not have enough space or is oriented north, your panels may underperform. Additionally, if you live in an area that experiences many cloudy days and has few solar incentives, you may see fewer savings over the lifetime of your panels.
Every roof and solar project is different. Before completing your solar project, your solar installer will survey your home and determine if your property is suitable for solar panels. Get connected with a trusted professional today to see if solar is worth the investment.
- When Are Solar Panels Worth It?
- How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
- Pros of Switching to Solar
- Cons of Switching to Solar
- The Bottom Line: Are Solar Panels Really Worth It?
Offers a range of financing options 24/7 customer service line Panel insurance protects against theft and damage
Packages include 24/7 system monitoring 25-year warranty guarantees power production, product performance and workmanship Installation process is handled 100% in-house
When Are Solar Panels Worth It?
For instance, if you live in a state that receives a lot of sunlight and has ample solar incentives, in addition to having a large, south-facing roof, the savings you’ll see from solar will be very high. On the other hand, if you live somewhere with less sunlight, fewer solar incentives and a steep roof, solar may still be worth it for you, but your overall energy savings will likely be lower.
The location of your home plays a vital role in the value of a solar power system. If you live in a part of the country that gets lots of sunlight exposure throughout the year, you will get more out of using solar panels than others.
The data analysis site Stacker determined the following 10 states receive the most exposure to sunlight in the U.S.:
Though sunny states like Florida, Texas, California and Arizona are excellent regions to install a solar system, your panels may not generate enough energy to offset the upfront cost if your home experiences a lot of shade from trees or buildings. But if your roof is unshaded or faces south, southwest or west, your panels will receive more direct radiation from the sun and generate more solar energy.
As mentioned, locations that see more extreme weather events and power outages are also better suited for solar systems with independent power storage. You can use a solar battery to store excess energy during the day to use during blackouts, at night or on cloudy days.
Your Home’s Roof
The size, shape and slope of your roof are also important factors to consider. According to Garrett Nilsen, the deputy director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, roof structures can be one of the biggest roadblocks to going solar.
“If there are trees near your home that create excessive shade on your roof, rooftop panels may not be the most ideal option,” he said. “Solar panels perform best on south-facing roofs with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees, though other roofs can be suitable too. Installers can model roofs to determine if the orientation and slope are suitable for energy generation.”
Steep roofs make installation challenging and can increase labor costs or require additional mounting equipment. Roofs with plenty of surface area and few obstructions — such as skylights and chimneys — are ideal. You can still add solar panels to smaller roofs but should choose more efficient panels, such as monocrystalline panels, that generate more power using less space.
Solar tax incentives and rebates are available at the federal and state levels. The federal tax credit. formally called the solar investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to claim 30% of your total system cost as a credit toward your federal tax burden.
It’s worth mentioning that if you don’t owe thousands of dollars in taxes each year, you won’t be able to make as much use of the ITC. You may need to work with a tax adviser and re-evaluate your withholdings to fully capitalize on the credit.
Other solar incentives vary from state to state. Many state governments and local utility companies offer solar rebates, credits, sales and property tax breaks, net metering and more that can make solar more affordable. We encourage you to use the Database of State Incentives for Renewables Efficiency to learn what other rebates and solar tax credits are available in your state.
Before installing solar, you should take stock of your monthly energy consumption. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average household uses around 893 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month. On average, a residential solar setup can produce between 350 to 850 kWh per month. Therefore, going solar can help you save as much as 95% off your utility bill.
If you live in a state with high electricity rates, switching to solar will likely be a good investment. However, if your home does not require a lot of energy consumption to operate day-to-day, you may not save enough to offset the installation cost. Residential solar systems can cost anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 or more.
You should also contact your local utility company to see if it offers an established net metering program. Many states mandate net metering, which can help maximize your energy savings. Net metering allows you to send the excess energy your solar system produces back to the grid in exchange for billing credits. Your utility company will deduct any credits from your monthly electricity bill, saving you money by providing clean energy for your home.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
According to our 2023 survey of 1,500 homeowners with solar, respondents reported paying an average of 15,000 to 20,000 for their solar panel systems. However, every solar installation is different, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that a solar installation can cost upwards of 25,000.
The total cost of your solar panel system can vary depending on where you live and the solar provider you choose. You can compare average price points for some of the top solar providers in the U.S. below. Cost figures represent the total cost of a solar panel system with installation.
Cost figures are based on results from our 2023 survey of 1,500 homeowners with solar. Your costs may vary depending on individual factors.
The state you live in can also factor into how much your solar panel installation will cost:
In addition to your location and the provider you choose, other factors can influence the cost of your solar system, including:
- Your home energy needs
- Your solar system size
- The type of panels you install
- Additional equipment like solar batteries or inverters
- Other related services, such as tree removal, energy efficiency audits, electric vehicle (EV) chargers, etc.
The only way to know exactly how much your solar panel system will cost is to get a quote from a trusted solar installer in your area. To get matched with a top provider, click here for a solar estimate today.
How Much Can You Save With Solar?
The average payoff period for a solar panel system in the U.S. is around 8.5 years. After paying off your solar system, you’ll enjoy significant savings by drastically reducing or eliminating your energy bill. Considering the average solar system lasts 25 years or longer, that’s over 16 years of net savings. Most people who install solar on their homes will save thousands of dollars in energy costs over the lifespan of their solar energy system.
There are, however, some instances when solar panels may not yield as high of returns as you want. According to Nilsen, local electricity rates, your total system cost and whether you pay up-front, take out a loan, or lease your system can all affect your return on investment (ROI). Changing compensation patterns with your local utility or an unexpected lapse in your system’s performance may cause your payback period to take longer.
In these rare instances, Nilsen advises contacting your solar installer about your system’s expected production and any discrepancies with the current output.
In addition to offering protection against rising electricity prices, a solar installation with a storage system provides a valuable backup during power outages. If you live in an area prone to severe weather or blackouts, installing solar panels with a backup battery can be more worthwhile.
Is your home suitable for rooftop solar panels?
Rooftop solar panels are becoming more popular in the UK as people battle the cost of living crisis, but not every home is suitable. Our guide aims to help you determine if you can install solar panels on your roof.
Affiliate Disclaimer: All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Could solar panels for roofs be the solution to cutting energy bills? With the energy crisis and cost of living on the rise with no end in sight, many homeowners are looking for ways to cut costs. As of October 1, 2022, the current Energy Price Guarantee. set by the UK government, was capped at £2,500—27% more than last year —and this is due to rise to £3,000 per year from April 1, 2023.
Solar panels are a way of generating renewable energy, which in turn can reduce energy bills and help your home to be less reliant on the National Grid and fossil fuels. The most common place to install your solar panels is on top of your roof. In order for them to function at full capacity, you need them to be in an optimal position to receive the sun’s rays. So it makes sense that this is on top of your roof, free of obstruction and hopefully a place that receives lots of daylight.
The amount of energy that your solar panels can generate will depend on the angle of your roof, which direction it is facing, and the number of daylight hours. It can be tricky to figure out how this will affect your roof solar panels, and that’s why we’ve done the research for you.
Is my roof suitable for solar panels?
Whether your roof is suitable for solar panels depends on a few different factors. The angle at which your roof is facing is probably one of the most important things to consider here. The reason for this is certain roof angles will generate more solar power. The more sunlight your roof receives, the more solar energy your panels will generate.
Your roof might not be suitable for solar panels if:
- Your roof is too old
- It’s not at an optimal angle
- Your roof is made from wood
- Little to no roof space
- Your roof is too shallow or too steep
To install solar panels on your roof, it should be structurally sound and not made from any fire hazardous materials like wood. There should also be ample space to install your solar panels, and this will be checked at the quotation stage.
Ideal roof angles for solar panels
The ideal angle for rooftop solar panels is 35 degrees. (Image credit: Adobe)
Most roofs can accommodate solar panels and generate a reasonable amount of energy. However, there is an optimal angle for your solar panel system.
It should come as no surprise that solar panels function at their most optimal depending on the time of day and season. With that being said, in order to get the most out of your roof solar panels you’ll ideally want them to receive the most sun throughout the day.
In order to do this, you’ll need to know which way the panels should face and what the optimal tilt angle is.
Optimal roof angles
According to Viridian Solar. your solar panels should be south-facing and tilted to a 35-degree angle from the horizontal. This maximises the energy collected by the solar panel and is the most beneficial angle in order to help you save the most on your energy bills.
Source: Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) guidance for domestic solar installations
The above table clearly outlines the optimal angles for roof solar panels, with the percentages representing how much of your panels’ total potential output you’re likely to achieve based on the angle of their tilt and the direction they are facing. This is a helpful guide to better understand if your roof is optimally oriented. As you can see from the table, the more west or east facing your roof is, the more output your system will lose.
The further your roof moves away from south facing, the lower your system’s output will be. Even if you have a southeast facing roof as opposed to due south, this will decrease your output by 5%. The amount that your roof slopes is just as important to which way it faces. It’s most optimal for your roof pitch to be between 30 degrees and 40 degrees, which gives you the most output.
What type of roofs do UK homes have?
A typical UK home’s traditional roof pitch measures between 30 degrees and 50 degrees, according to Marley. If your roof’s angle is 30 degrees or less, it is considered a low-pitch roof and anything less than 12.5 degrees is considered a flat roof. Ideally your roof should be between 30 degrees and 40 degrees, as this gives you the maximum output from your solar panels.
Roof materials commonly fitted in the UK are:
Some roof materials are more suitable for solar panels than others, according to Roofer UK. and some are not suitable at all for safety reasons. So if you’re wondering if your house is suitable for roof solar panels, the below table should help you decide.
How to measure your roof for solar panels
You can measure the angle of your roof to decide if it’s suitable for solar panels. (Image credit: Adobe)
It’s important to know the angle of your roof. How much it slopes, or doesn’t, will affect how much energy your solar panels can generate. It might even influence your decision to install solar panels all together. We’ve put together a guide on how to measure your roof for solar panel installation below.
To measure your roof’s angle you’ll need:
One way to measure your roof would be to climb up to it with the above equipment, but there is a safer way to measure your roof’s angle.
The easiest way to measure your roof’s angle is surprisingly from inside your loft. Follow our step-by-step guide to help you do this.
- Take your spirit level into the loft
- Position your spirit level so that one end is touching the rafters (sloped wall of your roof)
- Holding it level, measure the distance 12 inches from the rafter going up the wall
The measurement you have now is the amount your roof rises every 12 inches. So if your measurement was nine, that would now be 9:12, which is how much your roof is expressed by. You’ll now need to convert this into degrees using the formula below.
- Divide your measurement by 12 (e.g. 9/12=0.75)
- Input this number into a scientific calculator, such as the one here. and calculate the arctangent (e.g. the arctangent of.75 is 36.869897645844)
- Round this number and the result is your roof angle. In the above example, the angle would be 37 degrees
Can solar panels be installed on a flat roof?
It is possible to install solar panels on a flat roof, but it may require special mounting rails. (Image credit: Adobe)
The short answer to this is yes: There are ways in which to install solar panels on flat roofs, such as by installing special mounting equipment. However, this doesn’t mean they will be highly effective, nor are they likely to have a low power output.
- Panels need to be self-cleaning
- Thin film solar cells work better than traditional solar panels
- The pitch of the solar panels should be carefully considered
It’s important that solar panels on a flat roof are able to self-clean during rainy weather and avoid damage during adverse weather conditions. If you consider that a typical roof pitch is 35 degrees, rain would naturally run downwards and not cause dirt to build up.
Thin film solar cells, although not as effective as crystalline solar panels, are incredibly flexible and work well on flat roofs. You may also opt for moving panels over stationary ones. This type of panel moves with the sun throughout the day, ensuring your panels capture as much daylight as possible.
Solar panels should be pitched between 20 degrees and 50 degrees on a flat roof in order to catch maximum sunlight and generate a feasible amount of solar energy. This will also help them to be self-cleaning and free of debris.
Can solar panels protect your roof from damage?
There’s a myth surrounding this topic claiming that rooftop solar panels can damage your roof. It’s actually quite the opposite, providing your roof is in good condition and the solar panels are installed correctly.
As well as a lot of attractive renewable energy benefits, solar panels can protect your roof from damage from factors such as:
Solar panels provide a small layer of protection for your roof from bad weather. Extreme weather such as snow, hail, heavy rain, and wind can cause damage to your roof over the years. When solar panels are attached to the roof they can block some of the adverse weather, and in theory your roof could last longer.
Roof solar panels also have a cooling effect. By absorbing the sunlight that would otherwise penetrate your roof without solar panels, they keep temperatures down. There’s also a small gap between your solar panels and the roof, which allows airflow and creates a shaded layer of protection from the sun’s rays.
It’s a common misconception that rooftop solar panels can leave you with unwanted and unsightly holes in your roof. According to the Federation of Master Builders ( FMB ), solar panels are installed using anchors. A few tiles are briefly removed for the anchors to be inserted into the roof and are put back without any damage if installed properly.
Do you need planning permission to install solar panels?
There’s no straight answer to this question, as it will depend on the size of your solar panel system and where you live. As mentioned by FMB. most solar panel installations do not require planning permission. Although, you should let your home insurance company know since solar panels are a structural element added to your roof.
There are some instances where planning permission may be necessary. If your home is Grade II-listed or you live in a conservation area then you may need planning permission.
You can check your local authority’s planning rules here.
The future of rooftop solar panels
Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular as the UK moves towards ensuring cleaner power is more readily available. Like with any new technology, the amount it costs usually decreases over time. One of the main stumbling blocks for solar power at present is cost. A typical 4 kW solar panel installation is around £6,500, and for most that is a costly sum.
With that being said, the future of solar is promising and in the years to come the investment may become less costly.
Could your roof be covered entirely with solar panels?
It’s possible to have solar panels spanning the entirety of your roof. This maximises the amount of solar power that you will generate and in turn should save you more on your energy bills. With that being said, your roof would need to be thoroughly assessed to make sure it is structurally sound just like when you’re installing only a few solar panels.
Solar roof tiles
Solar roof tiles are available on the UK market, but they’re not as efficient as solar panels. (Image credit: Adobe)
If you’re concerned with the aesthetic appearance of solar panels, then solar roof tiles could be another option to consider. Solar roof tiles are small modular tiles that can be attached to your roof. The appearance is somewhat more attractive than traditional solar panels. Solar tiles blend in with your existing roof tiles.
The main difference between traditional solar panels and solar tiles is their efficiency. Solar tiles generate less power, and the cost is higher than that of solar panels. Solar roof tiles cost up to three times as much as solar panels, which could mean paying £10,000 to £12,000 for a 3 kW solar tile system, according to The Switch. A solar panel system of the same size is around £5,000.
- Solar tiles are eligible for the same government grants as traditional solar panels
- aesthetically pleasing
- Can increase the value of your property due to the rising demand for renewable energy
- Cannot be installed on existing roof tiles so it is more suitable for new buildings
- You would need to replace existing tiles with solar tiles
- costly than traditional solar panels
Solar roof tiles are still relatively new to the market, and for this reason won’t be a viable option for most cost wise. This is more of a good option if you’re looking to generate solar energy but are hesitant to have unsightly solar panels on your roof.
Solar panels for car roofs
As you most likely already know, the UK is pushing ahead with its plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with the aim of only selling zero-emission vehicles from 2035. Electric cars still need to be charged, either at home or via a charging point. Now, if you were to charge your car at home, you would most likely see an increase in your electricity bill.
This is where solar panels for cars could be the future. In fact, many automobile companies are working towards making solar-powered vehicles, according to Interesting Engineering. Solar-powered vehicles are electric and use photovoltaic cells on the body of the vehicle to convert energy from sunlight. The vehicles can store a small amount of energy, allowing them to run at night time or on cloudy days.
However, don’t get your hopes up just yet. Buyacar sheds some light on why the idea far surpasses the current technology. Roof solar panels on cars unfortunately don’t generate that much electricity. Currently, the solar panels on cars are mostly used for powering the air conditioning, radio, steering, and sat-nav, and don’t provide enough energy to charge the car’s main battery. Still, this is a great way to generate free electricity and boost your car’s battery should you have an electric car.
Rooftop solar panels FAQ
What roof angle is best for solar panels?
The best roof angle for solar panels is between 30 degrees and 40 degrees. In order to generate the maximum amount of solar energy, your roof would ideally be south-facing at 35 degrees.
Do solar panels work in the winter?
Solar panels work through all four seasons. However, they do tend to generate more solar energy during the spring and summer months thanks to the longer daylight hours.
Is my roof suitable for solar panels?
This depends on various factors. Your roof should be structurally sound and not made of a fire-hazardous material such as wood. If you have a flat roof, low angled roof, or a roof that’s not south-facing you can still install solar panels. But, you should know that your panels are likely to generate less solar energy than if they were at the optimal 35-degree angle.
How much do solar panels for roofs cost?
The cost of rooftop solar panels depends on a number of factors, so it can vary from installation to installation. However, as a guide price, you can expect to pay around £6,800 to £8,000 for a typical 4 kW system, which is usually big enough for a household of three to four people. For a full analysis on solar panel costs, read our guide here.
How long do rooftop solar panels last?
If solar panels are kept clear of dirt, dust, and debris regularly, they can typically last upwards of 30 years. While solar panels can still function beyond this point, their efficiency will start to degrade every year, though most manufacturers on the UK market say their panels will still have 85% to 90% efficiency after 25 to 30 years.
Are solar panels bad for your roof?
Many homeowners who are researching solar panels may wonder whether adding a system can actually damage their roof. While the installation process does require drilling into the roof to install the mounting rails, when done by a professional this will not cause any damage. If you do experience any leaks or other problems after your solar panels are installed, you should contact your installer immediately to rectify any damage.
In fact, as mentioned earlier in this article, solar panels might even go some way to protecting your roof from damage, as they can act as a barrier to harsh weather conditions.
Are solar panels too heavy for roofs?
Provided your roof is in a good state of repair and your house is structurally sound, solar panels should not be too heavy for most roofs. As solar PV technology has advanced, panels have become lighter over time—but remember that the typical system needed in the UK consists of 12 to 16 panels. However, this question highlights why it’s so important to seek a reputable installer for your solar panels, as they will often carry out a survey of your home during the quotation process to ensure the structure can safely handle the weight of a solar panel system. Proper installation of the mounting rails is also key, as this will prevent any damage to your roof and ensure the panels can withstand high winds.
What are my options if my roof is not suitable for solar panels?
Solar panels don’t always have to be installed on roofs, although it is the preferred option because it optimises the amount of sunlight that hits them and saves space. If you’re keen to switch to solar power but have been told your roof is not suitable for solar panels, you can opt for ground-mounted systems. However, due to the amount of panels needed to power the typical household, you would need a lot of ground space to accommodate the system. For this reason, you will likely need to seek planning permission from your local authority, particularly if the resulting structure is larger than 9 square metres or more than 4 metres high.
Manhattan’s largest rooftop solar array is about to come online
Developer Siemens overcame design obstacles to build the Javits Center rooftop solar system, which also includes a 3. 5.megawatt indoor battery.
In a place as densely populated as New York City, plenty of obstacles stand in the way of installing solar arrays: limited space, the shadows of skyscrapers, and the need to work around existing water towers and other building equipment. To build Manhattan’s largest rooftop solar project yet, developers had to get creative.
Some 1. 400 solar panels now glimmer atop the Javits Center, a huge convention hub that overlooks the Hudson River. Siemens, the German technology giant, is building the 909.kilowatt installation, along with a 3. 5.megawatt battery system housed in an interior room that will store excess solar energy.
Last week, during Climate Week NYC. a team from Siemens strolled the sun-blasted rooftop to get a look at the nearly completed project.
Visitors expecting conventional rows of solar panels might’ve been surprised to find a floating checkerboard instead. The unique layout was necessary because the roof is already occupied by some three dozen HVAC systems and a lush, green carpet of sedum — a hearty plant that can absorb stormwater runoff and helps keep buildings cool.
So Siemens built solar canopies that hover over the boxy, gray HVAC units. The arrays themselves are shaped like puzzle pieces to accommodate air blowing from the systems’ vents. Custom racks from Inhabit Solar are bolted to narrow concrete curbs that weren’t originally designed for the task. Computer simulations showing how future high-rises could affect the amount of sunlight hitting the roof further informed the design — the skeletons of skyscrapers-to-be already loom across the street.
The landmark project at the 3. 3.million-square-foot convention center comes as distributed solar is proliferating across New York state. Residents, communities and businesses have so far installed a total of 4 gigawatts of solar arrays, putting the state on track to exceed its goal of adding 6 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025. according to the office of New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D).
“ We are laser-focused on the battle against climate change,” Hochul said at a September 21 press conference at the Javits Center. She added that the building’s unique solar-plus-battery system is “ setting an example for other urban commercial buildings of how to be on the cutting-edge of our clean energy future.”
The Manhattan installation is also part of Siemens’ broader efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from enormous multiuse buildings, Ruth Gratzke, the president of Siemens Smart Infrastructure U.S., told Canary Media. She said the company aims to transform today’s convention centers from passive structures into high-tech, digitally controlled spaces that can minimize energy consumption, improve indoor air quality and avoid the perils of arctic-cold conference rooms.
Get Caught Up
Can the US manufacture enough solar panels to meet its surging demand?
In 2019. the New York Power Authority, the state’s public utility, selected Siemens to design and install the solar-plus-battery system, which is expected to offset more than 1. 3 million pounds of carbon emissions per year — equal to taking 262 cars off the road. The clean-energy project is now owned and operated by Calibrant Energy, a joint venture between Siemens and the financial services company Macquarie Group. Under their agreement, the Javits Center will pay Calibrant for the electricity the installation provides.
As Gratzke peered over the field of solar canopies, she explained that, while installing the panels was tricky, building an indoor battery system — the first of its kind in the state — has been a formidable challenge on its own.
The high-capacity battery system will sit inside a parking-garage-like room that engineers have designed with multiple layers of protection, including insulated walls and emergency systems to squelch any flames or contain any leaking gases. The project required obtaining special permits and waivers from city and state agencies, as well as the Fire Department of New York. The last of those are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.
Along with installing solar panels and batteries, Siemens has developed a real-time monitoring system to optimize the performance of those technologies. That includes tapping the system to power the Javits Center when Manhattan’s power demand is at its highest, helping to reduce strain on the electric grid.
“ When you look at cities like New York, and you look at convention centers, everybody needs to meet sustainability targets,” Gratzke said. Gesturing at the solar-studded rooftop, she added, “ This is one very elegant way to get it done.”
Maria Gallucci is a clean energy reporter at Canary Media, where she covers hard-to-decarbonize sectors and efforts to make the energy transition more affordable and equitable.
Roof Mounts for Solar Panels
A solar panel roof mount (also called a solar racking mount or solar system mount) will hold your solar panels and system in place. The mounting system is a crucial component because it is responsible for securing and stabilizing the solar panels on your roof without compromising the roof’s stability or water tightness.
You want to be completely confident that you have selected a mounting system that can stand up to harsh weather and other factors. Your roof mount is one of the most important ways to protect your investment in solar energy.
The Rundown on Solar Racking: Everything You Need to Know
Solar racking is an essential part of any solar energy system. It is the system that holds the solar panels in place on your roof and ensures they are secure and stable. If you’re considering installing a solar energy system for your home, it’s important to understand the basics of solar racking and how it works. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with an overview of what solar racking is and the different types of solar racking systems available. We’ll also discuss how to choose the best system for your needs.
Solar racking, also known as PV racking. is the process of mounting solar panels to a structure. This can be a roof, a ground-mounted system or even a pole mount. Solar racking involves choosing and installing the components and systems needed to support and secure your solar array. The type of racking system you need will vary depending on the size and design of your solar array and the installation location. Solar racking systems are designed to withstand different environmental conditions, including wind, rain and snow. They must also provide an adequate amount of support and stability to ensure your solar array remains in place.
- Roof Mounting
- Ground Mounting
- Side of Pole Mounting
- Top of Pole Mounting
Roof mounts are the most common type of PV racking and can be mounted directly onto your roof or onto an independent racking structure. Depending on the roof type and size, different mounting systems may need to be used, such as clamping, ballasting, and rail systems. In addition, roof mount systems can also be adjusted to accommodate different roof pitches and tilt angles. which helps maximize the performance of your solar system.
Which Solar Panel Roof Mount Solutions are Best?
altE offers the following high quality solar panel mounting and racking solutions from top brands:
IronRidge Roof Mounting System
IronRidge is well known for its XR Rails, which are used for their roof mounting systems and ground mounting systems as well. IronRidge offers an easy-to-use Design Assistant tool to help you list out which parts you need for your racking system.
For their roof mounting system, you will need to:
1) Choose your XR Rail:
XR10 Rail Select Clear: 14′, 17′
- Low-profile rail- no snow areas
- Up to 6′ spanning capability
- Light/Moderate load capability
XR100 Rail Select Clear: 11′, 14′, 17’Select Black: 11′, 14′,17′
- Std. residential mounting rail
- Up to 8′ spanning capability
- Heavy load capability
XR1000 Rail Select Clear: 11′, 14′, 17′
- Heavyweight mounting rail
- Up to 12′ spanning capability
- Extreme load capability
Need Splices? Select: XR10, XR100, XR1000
- Use internal splices for a seamless, bonded connection that extends rail length
And Endcaps? Select: XR10, XR100, XR1000
- Endcaps provide a finished look to rails, while protecting the collection of water and debris inside the rail
2) Choose the appropriate Clamps Grounding:
Midclamps Select: Clear, Black
- Universal Fastening Object UFO
- Bonds the modules to the rails
Endclamps Shop: Stopper Sleeves or CAMO
- Stoppers snap onto a UFO
- Turns into a bonded endclamp
- Sized to module frame width
- NEW- CAMO Universal Endclamp fits all modules
Grounding Shop: Lugs and Straps
- Only one grounding lug per row
- Microinverter bonding kit
- Grounding strap for rows over 50ft
3) Lastly, don’t forget your Attachments:
Flashing Select: Mill, Black
- FlashVue. superior waterproofing
- Conduit Mount for flashing conduit, strut, or junction boxes
- Bonding hardware sold separately
Slotted L-Feet Select: Mill, Black
- Drop-in design for Rapid and secure rail attachment
- Bonding hardware sold separately
Tilt Mounts Shop: Tilt Leg Kits
- Tilt Mounts for flat roofs
Tamarack Flush Roof Mount System Kits
Tamarack Solar offers economical and robust mounting kits that are UPS-able. They also produce ground mounts, top-of-pole mounts, and side-of-pole mounts. Their roof mount kits consist of:
- All the parts needed for a 4- or 8-panel roof mount installation. all in one UPS-able kit
- Easy wire management where all system wiring fits inside the rails
- Universal clamps that fit a variety of solar panel frame thicknesses, from 30mm to 40mm
- Different kit versions for light to heavy snow/wind loads
Solar Stack Adhesive Roof Mount System
Check out the rail-less and roof penetration-free flush and tilt mount option from Solar Stack that uses a polyurethane foam that adheres to both a huge variety of roof types and the strictest building codes in North America. This mounting system is ideal in wet climates and is rated to withstand conditions even in High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZs) such as South Florida and Puerto Rico.
- No roof penetrations
- No rails needed. panels attach directly to mounts
- No mechanical attachments or ballast systems needed
- Simply prime, spray foam, and place mounts
- Use 12 mounts in coastal areas and other wind zones
Flashing and L-Feet
IronRidge Roof Mount Rails
Solar Stack Adhesive Roof Mounts
Tamarack Solar Roof Mounts
Info on Roof Mounts for Solar Panels
A roof mounting system may require the following items:
- Rails. to provide a platform for mounting the modules
- Splices. to connect rails as needed
- Mid clamps. to be located between each module
- End clamps. to secure the end of last module
- L-feet or standoff. to secure the rail to the roof
- Flashing. to prevent water leakage
- Grounding lugs. to run the grounding wire
What Are Solar Panel Mounting Rails?
Solar Panel Mounting Rails are a metal rail that protect solar panels against buckling while safely and efficiently transferring loads from the ground up into the structure. Solar panels experience countless extreme weather conditions throughout their lifetimes. High winds capable of tearing off roofs and snow falls heavy enough to bend metal frames are two weather examples your solar panels may have to deal with.
Their superior spanning capability means they require fewer roof attachments, which reduces the number of roof penetrations and the amount of installation time.
Why You Need Clamps Grounding
Clamps. The module clamps connect the roof attachments to the mounting rail. There are several different types of clamps for each angle and corner on the solar panels.
- For mid clamps. the number of mid clamps required is equal to one fewer than the number of modules on each row.
- For end clamps. four are required for each row as end clamps are going to be attached to both ends of each of the two rails.
Grounding. It’s extremely important to ground your solar panels and your equipment when you’re installing a solar power system. If you experience a lot of lightning storms in your area, grounding your solar system could help prevent damage to your system. Furthermore, the NEC requires that all equipment be electrically bonded and connected to the grounding system to ensure the safety of anyone that might come in contact with a dangerous fault current.
Finding The Right Mounts for Your Solar Panel Installation
Still unsure about which mounting option is right for your project? At altE, our team is always happy to help – and with our extensive expertise, we can recommend options for even the most complex or unusual of setups. Call us today for a free quote for roof mounts for your solar system at 877-878-4060.
©1999-2023 Alternative Energy Store Inc. All Rights Reserved.
altE 330 Codman Hill Road Boxborough, MA 01719