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Have a flat roof? Why it could be the perfect setup for solar. Solar terrace roof

Have a flat roof? Why it could be the perfect setup for solar. Solar terrace roof

    Have a flat roof? Why it could be the perfect setup for solar

    Solar is a Smart energy decision for homes and businesses with many different types of roofs, including those that are flat. However, with a flat roof, you’ll need to keep a few considerations in mind as you go through the installation process. We’ll walk you through what you need to know about solar for flat roofs before you install and how your flat roof solar system could end up being even more efficient than a traditional solar system.

    Can you install solar on a flat roof?

    When you picture a solar installation, you probably see one of two things: a utility-sized ground mounted solar photovoltaic system or a rooftop solar panel system. If you have a flat roof, you might not realize that solar can work well for your property type, too. Flat roof solar panel systems can actually be more flexible in their design than sloped rooftop installations, making it easier to get the most out of your solar panels.

    However, this issue is easily remedied by shopping around for a second (and third) opinion. If you get solar quotes from multiple installers, you should easily be able to find one that has experience designing and installing solar panel systems for flat roofs.

    Challenges of installing solar on a flat roof

    Whether you have a common asphalt roof, a metal roof, or a flat roof, running into some challenges when installing a solar panel system is common, but typically fairly easily remedied (depending on your setup). However, when you install solar panels on a flat roof, there are some unique and common issues that may arise, including:

    • If you install solar panels flat against your flat roof, they get much dirtier over time because they aren’t installed at an angle; dirt reduces production, so you’ll need to be much more on top of cleaning your panels than you might otherwise be.
    • In the U.S. (and in the entire northern hemisphere), the sun moves from east to west throughout the day across the southern part of the sky. Southern-facing solar panels will have the best energy production – you’ll miss out on significant output if you lay them flat against a flat roof.
    • Many manufacturers include clauses that void the warranty if the panels are installed flat against a flat roof; there’s an increased risk of water damage because water can pool up on top of the panel and sit there. However, this is easily remedied by mounting solar panels on a flat roof at an angle, allowing rain (or anything else) to run off them.
    • Some installers don’t work on flat roofs in order to keep costs low – make sure to indicate that your roof is flat when shopping around for quotes to connect with installers who will work on roofs like yours.

    Luckily, as long as you mount your solar panels at an angle on your flat roof and shop around for solar installation companies, you should be able to avoid these challenges.

    Does it cost more to install solar on a flat roof?

    Labor and installation costs typically make up about 10 percent of your total solar PV system costs. This is partially due to the logistics of climbing around on a steep roof to affix solar panels and their mounts. The process of installing a solar panel system on a flat roof is simpler by comparison – workers can move freely on the roof without special equipment, and most of the roof materials used on flat roofs can easily handle the wear that occurs during the installation process. Generally, installation costs for flat roof solar panels are competitive with a standard sloped rooftop installation.

    As an added benefit, your solar installer won’t need to make roof penetrations to install flat roof solar panels. Solar installations on sloped rooftops typically use a “penetration mount”, which fixes the racking that holds the solar panels to your rooftop by drilling multiple holes. Flat roof systems often use a weighted mounting system (known as a “ballast system”), which uses gravity to sit atop on your roof without the need for drilling holes.

    That being said, solar panels installed on flat roofs sometimes require specialized equipment to maximize their electricity production. Instead of laying flat solar panels on a sloped roof, your solar installer will likely use angled mounts that tilt your solar panels up so that they’re exposed to the sun for as much of the day as possible. This can sometimes result in a slightly higher price tag for your flat roof solar panel system.

    Are solar panels still efficient on a flat roof?

    Solar installers designing PV systems for standard pitched roofs have to incorporate roof angle and roof orientation into their system designs. Ideally, solar panels will be installed facing south at an angle equal to the latitude where they are located. If you have a roof that faces east or west, or can only install solar panels on the north side of your roof, your system will produce less electricity on a day-to-day basis. Additionally, some sloped roofs are steeper than others, which can result in less-than-ideal electricity production. While this doesn’t mean solar isn’t worth it, these considerations can decrease your total 20-year electricity production.

    Flat roofs offer more flexibility in terms of your solar panel system design. If you install solar panels on your flat roof, you can orient them to face south and mount them at the optimal angle to maximize your solar energy generation. At the end of the day, solar panel systems on flat roofs can often result in better performance compared to those on sloped roofs.

    Is it safe to install solar on a flat roof?

    When it comes to the actual installation process, installing solar on a flat roof is much safer for the people doing the installation themselves. (However, you still should have your solar system installed by professionals as opposed to attempting a DIY installation.)

    If you elect to install your solar panels flat against your flat roof, you’ll run the risk of dirt accumulation and water pooling. While dirt accumulation is more of a nuisance than anything else (requiring more cleaning than tilted panels), pooling can pose a real risk to the integrity of your roof. When it rains, water may pool up on top of and around flat solar panels and remain there, risking damage to both the panels and the roof. However, as long as you mount your panels at an angle on your flat roof, you should avoid this issue.

    Frequently asked questions about solar for flat roofs

    Yes, solar incentives and rebates should still be available to you whether you’re installing solar on a flat roof or a sloped roof.

    Do I need a specific type of solar racking system to install solar panels on my flat roof?

    Yes, you’ll most likely need additional racking to install solar panels on your flat roof to make sure they’re producing as much electricity as possible.

    Not necessarily! When installing a solar power system on your flat roof, there may be a few more considerations to take into account – just make sure to indicate that your roof is flat when you’re speaking with installers about your home solar system.

    Yes, you can install battery storage with a flat roof solar system. You’ll be able to talk to your installer about your energy storage needs to see what type of solar-plus-storage system is right for your home.

    You may be able to install solar shingles on your flat roof, but they likely won’t be very efficient unless you’re able to mount them at an angle. When it comes to maximum energy production, you’ll want to go with traditional mounted solar panels.

    Will my flat roof solar system produce less energy than a regular solar system?

    No, the energy production of your flat roof solar system should be just as good as a solar system on a roof with a more traditional tilt angle. In fact, flat roofs can often offer more flexibility when it comes to system design and allow you to install your panels at an optimum angle for peak solar production, potentially making them more efficient.

    Find a solar company that installs panels on flat roofs

    If you live in an area where many homes have flat roofs, it’s likely that your local installers will have experience working with these kinds of systems. However, you should always get multiple quotes from installers to ensure that you’re working with a company that has the right expertise and background for your needs.The best way to find multiple local solar installers is to register your property on the EnergySage Marketplace. When you sign up, you’ll input your property address so installers will know that your property has a flat roof (they’ll see an overhead satellite image). To ensure that you get quotes from companies who will work on your property, you can also indicate that you’re looking for a flat roof installation when you set up your preferences after joining.

    reading on EnergySage

    Looking to go solar? Here’s everything you need to know in… Are solar panels worth it in 2023? Solar shingles: what you need to know in 2023 Best solar panels in 2023: Top products compared How to install solar panels

    About MaryElizabeth Mooney

    MaryElizabeth is an EnergySage writer focused on making clean energy accessible, covering topics from community solar to Smart home gadgets. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College in Communication and Economics. MaryElizabeth is passionate about making our world cleaner and more efficient and spends a lot of her time researching renewable energy solutions.

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    Integrated solar rooftop, gazebo solutions for residential applications

    India’s SunEdison has partnered with US startup Arka Energy to provide the Arka collection of solar roof and gazebo solutions in India.

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    SunEdison has launched the Arka Energy collection of solar roof and gazebo solutions in India. The Arka collection provides integrated solutions with custom components and pretested systems.

    The Arka PowerRoof and PowerGazebo offerings feature glass-on-glass solar tiles built with advanced shingling technology. They are mounted on custom interlocking brackets.

    Arka solar tiles are tested and approved by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to the IEC 60215 standard. These can withstand wind speeds of up to 160 km per hour. The Arka PowerRoof can be installed on a concrete roof facet or a hoisted metal truss. It offers a stylish integrated solar roof with a jet-black glass finish. It will soon be available in other conventional roofing tile colors, like terracotta.

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    The PowerGazebo is suitable for villa terraces and gardens. It is a fully integrated weatherproof solution with a custom wooden finish, false ceiling, integrated LED lighting and power sockets.

    “SunEdison has adapted our solutions to the Indian market. Our aim is to develop elegant solar solutions because the customer should not have to choose between style and sustainability,” said Surya Potharaju, CEO of Arka Energy. “The PowerGazebo expands the living space in a garden or a terrace, while PowerRoof in an integrated solar roof that functions as the normal roof and additionally generates solar energy thereby reducing energy costs and carbon footprint.”

    This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: editors@pv-magazine.com.

    Uma Gupta

    Based in New Delhi, Uma reports on the latest PV market trends and projects in India. After gaining an MSc Physics (Electronics) and an MBA, she has gone on to accrue over a decade of experience in technology journalism.

    Rooftop Solar

    Solar energy in the United States has exploded over the past decade. In 2010, 667 megawatt (MW) was installed in homes. By 2020, this had increased by 27 times to over 18,061 MW.[1]At the same time, the cost of a residential solar system has come down to half of what it was, even before incentives are applied, and continues to drop. Rooftop solar has increasingly become an option for many households across the country. Many areas offer attractive Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that, when coupled with federal and local incentives, can make rooftop solar an attractive financial choice that is also good for the environment.

    Use this buying guidance to learn more about your options, how to ask the right questions of contractors, and to determine if rooftop solar is right for you.

    Start with a home assessment to understand your home’s condition and eligibility.

    If your roof needs renovations, it makes sense to replace it before installing solar panels to avoid having to remove and reinstall the panels at a later date. Make your roofing company aware that you will be installing solar panels and ask them if they will come back after they are installed to ensure the panels have not damaged the roof.

    The direction and pitch of your roof are important. The amount of energy produced is impacted by how much sun the panels receive, so shadows, trees, other homes or buildings can impact your ability to maximize solar production. Google Project Sunroof is a tool that can address most of these concerns. This tool uses images from Google Earth and analyzes the roof shape to provide you with a personalized solar plan, taking local weather patterns into consideration. PVWatts is another tool from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which uses information you provide to help you determine if solar is right for you.

    It is important to understand the regulations in your area (even down to whether the Homeowners Association has any guidelines surrounding the installation) and to know your electricity consumption (kWh) and rates.

    Net Metering is an utility policy which allows consumers in some areas to receive a credit on their electricity bill by returning any unused solar electricity they generate back to the grid. Some states and service territories are compensating for excess electricity at rates lower than what a customer would typically pay for electricity. To maximize the financial benefits, it is recommended that the system is designed in accordance with your electricity usage to ensure optimal savings over time.

    Buy or Lease? What is the best option for you?

    The decision to buy or lease a solar system will depend on your finances, state laws and utility policies.

    If you decide to buy a system, you:

    • reap the benefits of the electricity produced;
    • would be entitled to tax credits or other incentives;
    • are responsible for system maintenance;
    • can sell the system, if you move.

    On the other hand, if you lease a system:

    • the solar system company owns it and is responsible for its maintenance.
    • You can enjoy cheaper electricity with very low or no upfront costs and monthly payments at agreed rates.

    Before signing the lease, ask about your options in the event you decide to sell your property. Zillow has estimated that homes with solar panels sell for 4.1% more compared to homes that are not powered by solar power.[2]

    Buying the solar panels directly could unlock additional dollars. First, if you purchase the system there are federal tax incentives through 2023. Your local area may have additional incentives in place to further reduce the cost of the system. Also, there are benefits through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), that may be sold. The rates received from the RECs vary greatly by state so it is good idea to discuss with your solar provider on what those numbers are. Finally, there is also the electricity generated which will lower some or perhaps all of your electric bill depending on the month. Keep in mind that solar production will be dependent on the season so you should expect more production in the summer and less in the winter. The sum of these savings (tax incentives, RECs, and electricity generation) can be great. In 2016, Consumer Reports estimated that a New Jersey home which purchased a solar roof in cash could result in about 60,000 of savings over 20 years. If the family took out a loan for the entire project, there were still 20,000 in savings over the same 20 year period. [3]

    If you lease solar panels, you generally pay the solar company a monthly rate and the solar company continues own the panels and provide maintenance. You can get the benefits of the electricity generation without the upfront cost. However, there are fewer direct financial benefits as customers in the leasing model do not have access to the RECs nor the tax credit and other state financial incentives. With that said, there are still benefits. In this case, Consumer Reports estimated the benefits from leasing to be at 25,000 in savings over 20 years.[4]

    Questions to ask your solar provider when getting a proposal.

    As with any large purchase, it pays to get multiple quotes. NREL recommends requesting multiple quotes. Remember that there is likely to have been someone else in your neighborhood that has installed solar on their home so check your neighborhood listserv for recommendations. As you obtain quotes from those solar providers, consider this list of questions to ask so that you can get a sense of their work quality and the financial benefit of the system.

    • How many systems has the solar provider installed in the past year?
    • What is the system size and total installation cost?
    • How much electricity will the system generate over the course of a year and what will be the total approximate savings of the system?
    • What upgrades does my home need? Would I need a new roof, updated wiring, clearing of trees updated utility interconnection?
    • How will I be reimbursed for any excess electricity produced? Does my jurisdiction allow net metering?
    • What does the warranty cover and who is responsible for maintenance and cleaning?
    • Who is responsible for utility interconnection, permissions, and inspections?
    • What happens if I decide to sell my home? What are the conditions for new occupant?
    • Who should I contact if my system fails?
    • What to do in the event of a blackout?
    • If you are considering leasing as a model, consider:
    • What is the length of the lease?
    • What is the upfront cost and how much do I need to pay over time? The terms may be different depending on the provider so make sure to do the math on how it breaks out.

    How to select a solar provider?

    Once you have your quotes, it is important that you get the best deal and closely examine the underlying terms and conditions. Look for an installation company that is licensed, has credentials from a certified body, such as the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, and is insured. A good solar provider will offer you a variety of panels and inverters adhering to your aesthetic requirements with appropriate performance warranties. Have them walk you through the options and think about how the panels will look on your home so that you are happy with the result. Keep the warranty in mind. String inverters typically carry a 10-year warranty while micro-inverters can go all the way up to 25 years. Solar panels usually carry a 20-year warranty.

    Make sure to compare the average wait time, scheduling, and project completion times for different providers. Lastly, the best provider will be completely transparent about savings, associated assumptions, system monitoring, maintenance and all the estimated costs. The Solar Energy Industry Association’s (SEIA) National Solar Database includes a list of manufacturers and installers across the United States.[5]

    Start your Saint-Tropez feeling today

    Feel like you’re on holiday and enjoy a very special feeling under your new patio roof.

    Independence

    Your self-generated electricity is consumed in your own home, ensuring you save 50-90% of your electricity costs. The sun does not send a bill!

    Solar protection

    Transparent solar modules make the perfect shade. No additional sunshades or awnings are necessary.

    Protection against the weather

    Protect your garden furniture from sun, hail, rain and snow by using your elegant patio roof.

    Grill party GO!

    It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining and you want shade or whether it is raining and hailing, your patio roof you give you a suitable protection.

    Generate your own electricity

    Pull the plug on the electricity price increases and make yourself independent from energy suppliers by using your own supply of electricity.

    Become your own electricity generator now.

    You can save up to 90% of your electricity costs with a solar patio roof.

    Your solar patio roof is financed solely by the sun’s rays. A direct electricity current is generated on the solar energy roof through transmitted light, which is converted by an inverter into alternating current, thus the current from our socket.

    The electricity is used in the household first, such as running the washing machine, dishwasher, and household technology. The surplus electricity is fed into the electricity grid and is guaranteed by law for more than 20 years.

    We give your garden a nice ambience.

    Your new patio roof experience begins with an idea. You will find numerous innovative and inspirational ideas for your garden using our online catalogue.

    You will be sent an individual quotation including a profit review online instantly by email.

    The electricity produced is first consumed in the house itself and only the surplus electricity is fed into the grid. You will receive the turnkey ready assembly from a single source.

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    By contributing to climate protection, you save electricity costs.

    The photo gallery provides you with initial ideas. We are happy to bring our new roof patio to your home. Sign up here free of charge for our online Webinar with live demonstration.

    You will be sent an individual offer including a profit overview in the online planner instantly by email.

    flat, roof, perfect, setup, solar

    Making use of the sun’s rays and thereby saving your own electricity costs

    If it is unbearably hot on the terrace in the summer, a canopy can provide the necessary shade. With a solar patio roof you can kill two birds with one stone: a cool and shaded peaceful area is created under the patio roof and the solar glass converts the incoming sunlight into electricity.

    With the electricity generated there you can do your washing, blow-dry your hair or watch a movie on TV. All electrical appliances in the home can easily be powered by solar power. If you happen to own an electric vehicle, it can also be charged by the solar electricity generated by the canopy.

    If you do not consume all the electricity generated by the solar patio roof, it will be fed into the public electricity grid, thus reducing your electricity bill. The solar panels thus provide excellent sun protection while at the same time being so transparent that it is not too dark underneath them. The modules are, for example, safe from hail and yet so robust that they can be accessed even for maintenance.

    Your desired style and personal taste dictates the material

    If you want to mount a solar patio roof on your patio you can choose between a structure made of wood or aluminium. Wood is the building material most commonly used. The natural material creates a cosy and warm atmosphere on your patio.

    The wooden structure made of spruce or pseudotsuga laminated wood is extremely stable and particularly suitable for higher spans. At the plant, we offer final treatment with a varnish or opaque paint, such that every patio roof ends up a unique look which is adapted to your house.

    If you call a modern house in Bauhaus style your own, patio roofs made of aluminium will fit perfectly. Your terrace will have a modern and at the same airy appearance with them.

    A canopy roof in aluminium is not only very stable, but scores points simultaneously due to its relatively delicate appearance and a low-maintenance and weatherproof surface. However, the raw aluminium material is €500. €800 more expensive than our wood finishes in laminated wood.

    The aluminium profiles receive a high-quality powder coating and are available in more than 1,625 RAL colours. Aluminium is highly resistant to weather and other environmental influences, does not rust and does not need further care.

    We also offer a low-cost kit with our premium solar glass for the patio roof made of aluminium. You can build your new sunscreen on your patio by yourself with a little technical skill. You will find a first impression of aluminium patio as a kit here.

    Your canopy in the corner, as a wall-mounted or freestanding entity?

    While most patio roofs nestle in the house with wall purlins, there is the solar patio roof in addition, which comes as a freestanding canopy. This means that the assembly could also be used for a non-structural façade for a number of different reasons.

    We offer a patio roof in different sizes made from different materials according to your own wishes. It is stably positioned on the ground with a point foundation (30 cm x 30 cm and 80 cm deep) and usually anchored to the house, so you are completely protected from hot sun rays, rain and other effects of weathering.

    Since such a patio roof is wind and weatherproof, the garden furniture can simply be left outside when the weather is bad. If the patio is completely covered, the roof not only offers protection from the scorching heat of the sun’s rays during the day, but retains the heat for longer periods in the evening. So, you can enjoy evenings outdoors for even longer and prolong the summer so to speak. You can also have a suitable heat radiator delivered to you on request.

    The solar patio roof thereby adapts to the size and shape of your house: does your terrace stretch around corners alongside the two sides of the house? This is also no problem for the patio roof. You can either protect a part of the roof or the whole patio roof around the corner of the roof.

    The amount of electricity generated by the patio roof is a function of the size of the area that you wish to cover. The more surface area available, the greater the total area of the installed solar modules. and hence the amount of electricity thereby produced.

    Select the freestanding canopy roof, it acts like an airy pavilion and can be erected in the garden completely independently of the house.

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