Determining your home’s solar rooftop compatibility

Determining your home’s solar rooftop compatibility

Last Updated: September 16th, 2020 at 12:12 pm
Read Time: 8 Minutes

Adding solar energy at your home to save money and help save the planet has a lot of appeal. As you begin to research solar panels, you’ve probably wondered if your roof is even suitable for solar panels.

To get the most out of your solar panels, they should be installed where they will get the most sun. For most homes, this place is the roof. The ideal roof would be south-facing, get plenty of sunlight, and have a tilt of about 30-45 degrees. However, even if your roof doesn’t have these characteristics, you still can get solar panels installed. And if you can’t install panels on your roof, you can look into a ground-mounted solar panel system.

Figure out how much sun your roof gets

Trees or buildings near your home may block the sun, which will affect how much energy your solar system produces. Here’s a simple way to find out how much sun your roof gets. First, go outside a few times during the day and visually assess when your roof, and what parts of it, get full sun.

Next, determine how many days of sun you get on a regular basis. You can easily check how much peak sunlight is available in your area by checking the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) map. Ideally, your roof will get full sun between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. all year long.

The more peak sunlight your home gets, the more solar energy it can generate. Getting at least 4 hours of peak sunlight is considered best for solar rooftop panels. However, even Alaska, a state that gets less than four hours of peak sun, still can benefit from solar power.

POWERHOME experts can help assess your roof

If you’re looking to install rooftop solar panels and aren’t sure if your home receives the amount of sunlight necessary, or if your roof is suitable, contact POWERHOME today. As part of our simple, three-step installation process, we will send a solar expert to your home for a free evaluation.

Once at your home, one of our solar experts will address any questions or concerns that you may have about your roof and advise you on the best way to proceed with installing rooftop solar panels.

If your roof isn’t in the ideal position, there is no need to worry. Rooftop solar panels may still be able to be installed. Part of the solar mounting process is fixing metal racking to the roof of your home, and our solar experts may be able to angle these racks in such a way that they will garner the amount of sunlight needed.

If there are still concerns about whether rooftop solar panels will provide the maximum benefit to your home, there are other options to look into. Here at POWERHOME, we believe that every family should have access to clean, renewable solar power, and our team will do everything we can to help achieve your goal.

Where is the best place to install my solar rooftop panels?

The best place for rooftop solar panels is on a south-facing roof without obstructions such as vents, antennas, skylights, or a chimney. West- and east-facing roofs also get enough sun for solar panels. If you don’t have very much unobstructed room for panels, or the only available space is north-facing, or most of the space gets a lot of shade from surrounding trees or buildings, your roof may not be the best spot. You always can consider ground-mounted solar panels.

During your free home evaluation, our solar experts will review all of this with you. We work closely with families when determining a solar panel installation plan. Our evaluation encompasses not only the amount of sun your roof receives, but also your family’s unique power needs and power goals. All of these factors are taken into consideration when determining the best place to install rooftop solar panels.

What roof styles and slopes are good for solar rooftop panels?

Solar panels require a certain amount of space to be installed properly. A large, rectangular roof with no chimney or vents is, of course, ideal for solar rooftop installation. But that is not the norm. Solar panel installers are familiar with many different types of roof styles and can work around features such as skylights, chimneys and dormers, if needed.

You’ll also have to consider the slope of your roof. If your roof is flat, you may find that a lack of precipitation runoff could affect overall solar production. If the slope is too steep, you may be limiting the amount of sunlight your panels can take in. In general, a 30-degree tilt works well. Your solar installer will let you know the optimal arrangement for your panels.

Which roof materials work with solar rooftop installations?

While some materials work better than others when installing solar rooftop panels, most roofs work well with solar. The most common roofing material, asphalt shingles, are perfect for solar panel installations. Metal roofs also work well with solar.

If your roof is made of something other than the materials named above, don’t worry, we will evaluate your roof to determine whether we can move forward with your project.

Our solar experts are able to carefully examine the material your roof is made of, as well as evaluate the structural integrity of the roof and advise you on the best plan.

How does roof condition affect the installation?

Our rooftop solar panels come with a 25-year product workmanship warranty and a 30-year linear power performance warranty. Your warranty may even be eligible for extension based on registration. These warranties protect rooftop solar panel owners against manufacturing defects and premature wear and tear. Most solar panels will continue working long after the warranty has expired.

Since rooftop solar panels have such a long lifespan, you don’t want to be in a position where you need to replace your roof shortly after your new panels have been installed. Evaluate your roof, and if it’s in need of an upgrade, have that taken care of before the installation of your panels.

POWERHOME has a GAF-certified roofing team to address your needs

The great thing about choosing to install your rooftop solar panels with POWERHOME is that we are more than just a solar installation company. We are also a GAF-certified roofer. This means that after we evaluate your roof to ensure proper placement and sunlight for the best solar panel function, we will also evaluate the integrity of your roof. If there are any potential problems, we will alert you before installation.

As a GAF-certified roofer, if you need repairs before installing rooftop solar panels, we can take care of those. You won’t have to deal with separate companies, conflicting timelines, multiple contracts, or delays in getting started. POWERHOME has you covered.

Replacing your roof post-solar panel installation

You can have your roof replaced after solar panel installation, but you’ll need to have your panels removed and reinstalled to do so. If you have 10-15 years left in your roof, go ahead and have your panels installed. If you have serious issues with your roof, or less than 10 years before it is due for replacement, consider tackling roof issues before you install your panels.

Should you find yourself in need of an unexpected repair shortly after installing your solar panels, don’t panic. Simply contact POWERHOME and we will come back to your home for a visit to assess the situation. As our experts are familiar with the solar panel installation, we know how to detach your rooftop solar panels, fix your roof, and then reset the panels safely.

Homeowners association (HOA) rules and regulations

If you live in a subdivision governed by an HOA, you may not get the last word about your solar panel installation. Many HOAs have regulations governing the outer structure of homes, roof included. POWERHOME works to secure the needed approvals from HOAs during all of its behind-the-scenes work leading up to installation.

If you’re considering a rooftop solar installation, you can reach out to your HOA beforehand to see if it has an existing policy on solar panels. The HOA will be able to provide you with its guidelines and point to the specifications that must be adhered to, if any.

Laws regarding HOAs and rooftop solar panels vary greatly based on state. Some states have what is known as a “solar access law.” If you live in a state with a solar access law, your HOA may not have the right to deny you the right to installation.

The Community Associations Institute is continuously working with states and lawmakers to make solar power more accessible to all homeowners, regardless of whether you are a part of an HOA or not.

What if your roof isn’t suited for solar panels?

Even if your roof isn’t suited for solar panels, you may still be able to add solar power. There may be other buildings on your property, such as a garage or shed, that are suitable for solar panels. Or, you may have room for a ground-mounted solar panel system.

Ground-mounted solar panels may be the right option if your home cannot accommodate rooftop solar panels. Ground-mounted solar installations have the same functionality and the same benefits of rooftop solar panels, and may be ideal if you have a large amount of property.

You can learn more about the differences between rooftop solar panel installations and ground-mounted installations here.

Contact POWERHOME for a free home evaluation today

If you are interested in installing rooftop solar panels, or any other solar panel installation, contact us at 800-765-2715. We’ll be happy to come to your home for a roof inspection and consultation