The average homeowner spends $1,200 on electricity bills every year. Wouldn’t it be great to generate free electricity instead? If you can install solar panels on your house, you can.
Before scheduling solar evaluations, you should be able to do some research on your own to see if solar panels are a good option for you.
Read on to learn 5 signs that your house is a good fit for solar panels.
1. Your Area Gets Enough Sunlight
The biggest factor for choosing solar panels is knowing how much sunlight you get. But you don’t have to live in a completely sunny location to make solar panels work for you. Solar panels work well in most climates.
Amount of Sun
Solar panels are most effective in areas that get lots of direct sunlight. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need equal amounts of sunlight every day. Remember that northern areas may have short days and less sun during the winter, but they make up for it with long summer days in which the panels get even more use.
Solar panels don’t need hot weather to function. In fact, heat can make them less efficient. So panels installed in cold locations will work well.
Solar panels create less energy on cloudy days, but they still work. On a typical cloudy day, solar panels will produce 25% of their normal output, while on a very cloudy day they produce 10% of normal. Seattle and Portland, known for their cloudy weather, are both seeing increased use of solar panels.
Rain and Fog
Since solar panels are well-sealed, they will not be harmed by rain and fog unless one of the panels is cracked. Rain can also help wash dirt off of the panels.
If you live in a very snowy area, solar panels may not be right for you. Snowfall that covers the panels will block the sunlight, so the panels may not function during the whole winter.
Check Your Area
If this all seems like too much information to evaluate, there’s a shortcut. Google has created the website Project Sunroof, which will allow you to put in your address and get an instant report about your solar potential, or how much sunlight your home is projected to get based on local weather data.
2. Solar Evaluations Show Your Roof Gets Enough Sunlight
After knowing how much sunlight your area gets, you also need to consider how much sunlight your own roof gets. Is your roof exposed to sunlight during the hours when the sun is at its highest?
If you’re surrounded by buildings, trees, or other obstacles that shade the roof, your house is not a good candidate. Also be aware of obstacles on your own roof, such as chimneys or vents that would cast shadows on the panels.
What direction is your home’s orientation? Houses in North America will get the most sunlight on roofs with southern exposure, although east and west exposures also get some sunlight.
Is your roof is big enough to support the panels you need? The answer depends both on your electricity usage and the types of panels you might buy. A house that uses about 5 kilowatts per month would need to install panels on about 300 square feet of the roof.
3. Your Roof Is the Right Condition
Certain types of roofs work better than others for solar panel installation. The age of your roof can also affect your decision.
The best type of roofing for solar panel installation is metal, which already has seams that can be drilled into. Composite roofs also work well for solar panels. It’s trickier to install solar panels on tile roofs, because the tiles are brittle and because installation may damage the waterproofing barrier under the tiles.
You should not mount solar panels on a wooden roof since it might become a fire hazard. However, you may still be able to install panels elsewhere on your property, such as on a ground-mounted system.
Solar panels work best when installed on a pitched roof so that they are slanted towards the sun. They can be installed on a flat roof but may need extra brackets to tilt them. The optimal angle for installing solar panels is a 30-degree tilt, although this may vary depending on your latitude.
4. Your Roof Will Last for Decades
Solar panels can last up to 40 years, so you want your roof to be ready for them. If you end up needing a new roof after the panels are installed, you’ll have to have a solar specialist take the whole system off, then reinstall it after the roof is rebuilt.
If you have a new roof, you’re ready to install solar panels. If you need a new roof, you may want to install solar panels during the process. If the installation is done at the same time, there won’t be any problems drilling through roof membranes or trying to attach new framework.
If your roof isn’t new, how long will it last? Different types of roofs are built to last for different amounts of time. Asphalt and tar roofs last about 20 years, wood shake roofs may last 30 years, and tile roofs can last 50 years. If your roof is near the end of its lifetime, you should replace it before getting solar panels.
A reputable solar installation company should be able to inspect your roof and check for damage before installing solar panels.
5. You Qualify for Government Incentives
Government incentives can lower the cost of installing a solar system by up to 30%. The federal government currently offers a tax credit of 26% of the cost of systems installed in 2020, and 22% of the cost of systems installed in 2021.
Other incentives are available from state and local governments, so depending on where you live, you may be eligible for even more. Look up policies and incentives for your area at https://www.dsireusa.org/.
Schedule a Solar Panel Evaluation Today
If you have more questions about solar evaluations, or if you’d like to schedule a consultation, contact us.
We’d be happy to help you decide if solar power is right for you.