As we know, solar panel installations are typically done in two ways: ground mounted solar panels or rooftop solar panels. However, 90 per cent of solar panel installations we have seen in Australia along with several other countries in the world are done on rooftops. The reason behind this is that the possibility of shading or damages caused by accidents and so on is less when the solar panels are placed on the roof. We all are aware that the installation of solar panels is an expensive and long-term investment. Once the solar panels are installed and secured on the roof, the panels remain on the roof unless and until the homeowners replace or remove the solar panels. In most cases, the solar panels are not removed from the roof for at least 25 years. Due to this, you have to make sure that the roof of your house is suitable for solar panel installation and can withstand the panels for at least 25 years. Therefore, in this guide, we will discuss the factors that will help you and the solar installer to determine whether your roof is suitable for solar panel installation or not.
- The Number of Solar Panels
The first factor that you have to consider is the number of solar panels you need to power home. The required number of solar panels will determine the amount of space the solar panels take and how much solar electricity the panels generate. The number of solar panels you will require depends on the electricity usage of your house and the efficiency of the solar panels. If the electricity requirement of your house is high and the efficiency of the solar panels is low, then the number of required solar panels will increase. However, if you choose solar panels that come with a high efficiency reading to meet the same energy requirement, then the required number of solar panels will decrease.
Once you have successfully determined the number of solar panels you will require, it is now time to calculate the total area covered by the solar panels. Use the dimensions of a solar panel to find the area and multiply the area with the number of solar panels. This will tell you the total area that all the solar panels will require.
- The amount of Roof Space available
When it comes to the amount of roof space available, many people think that it is equal to the total ground space of the house. However, it is not true as in the majority of cases, roofs are not completely flat. There are valleys and ridges on the roof along with the presence of chimneys, vents, and so on. All of these factors reduce the available place of the roof; thus, limiting the roof space for solar panels.
In a lot of cases, the roof gets shaded due to trees, nearby buildings, electrical poles and so on. You will also have to take shading into account as well because solar panels cannot be installed at a place that is covered by shade. In Australia, we have seen that the majority of solar panel installations are tilted at an angle to make sure that they can absorb energy from the sun at peak capacity, so you will have to take the angle into consideration as well.
- Material of the Roof
Even though a lot of homeowners do not put their thoughts in the material of the roof, it is an essential factor to consider. If we talk about the residential properties in Australia, you will notice that there are various types of roof materials. While most of these materials are used for aesthetic purposes, it plays a major role when it comes to solar panel installation.
If we talk about the most ideal roof material for solar panel installation, then it is metal. The reason why metal is considered to be ideal roof material in this case is because the solar installers do not have to drill or make holes in the roof to secure the solar panels. Installers typically use metal brackets or clamps on metal roofs and these also increase the speed of installation.
On the other hand, the use of roof materials such as clay, bricks, concrete, stone, and so on is not ideal for solar panel installation. The reason behind it is that these materials are brittle, meaning they can break easily. In cases like these, the solar panels are usually installed by drilling the brackets into the roof. This installation process often causes damage to the roof as the tiles end up breaking. However, there is no other way of installing solar panels on these roof materials.
- The Replacement of the Roof
Last but not least, you will have to consider whether the roof of your house requires repairing or not. As we discussed above, solar panels cause a slight damage to roofs, but the damage will get severe if the roof was already damaged. Since solar panels stay on a roof for at least 25 years, it is essential to replace it if it is damaged before the installation.
Otherwise, you will have to remove the solar panels later and repair or replace the roof. This does not only cause hassle to the homeowners and installers, but it also costs money and increases the risk of solar panel damage due to wear and tear and so on.
Whether your roof suitable for solar panel is a very important factor to consider before installing solar system. It is essential as the roofs have to hold the weight of the panels for the rest of the solar panel lifespan. Before you take a decision of installing solar panels, make sure that you take the factors mentioned above into account and make a decision based on that. It is better if you have a detailed discussion about the condition and space of the roof with your solar installer.