by Kaitlin Krull
If you’re considering solar power for your home, there are several important things to take into consideration first. While the cost and style of the solar panels you choose are most likely to be the first things you will research and discuss, it is also important to consider the angle and composition of the roof itself. At Home Improvement Leads, we are committed to helping homeowners increase the energy efficiency of their homes and strive to make this transition as straightforward as possible. Here are a few things you need to consider regarding your roof before investing in solar.
Ideal roofing angles
A home that is bathed in sunlight every day throughout the year is ideal for solar panels, but we promise that you will see results regardless of where your home is located. However, the angle or pitch of your roof is a factor that determines whether your solar panels can be installed flat on the surface of your roof or if they need to be mounted at an angle. Technologically speaking, the optimum angle for a roof with flat solar panels should be equal to the latitude of the home’s location (according to EnergySage), but anywhere between 30 and 45 degrees should be sufficient for energy savings.
Direction of solar panels
Although it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that there are some areas of a home that receive more light than others, the direction in which you face your solar panels is surprisingly controversial—if you’re interested in the specifics of the current arguments, check out this article from Scientific American. The general consensus is that you should aim your solar panels in the direction that sees the most sun, which is usually somewhere between south and west if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Your solar professional will be able to tell you exactly which direction is best for your area in general and your home in particular and complete your installation to these specifications.
Best roofing materials
While the vast majority of roofing materials are suitable for rooftop solar panels, there are several materials that work better than others. The professionals at Solar Chat recommend composite shingles, which are thankfully one of the most common roofing materials around because of their durability and low cost. If you are thinking about purchasing roof integrated solar panels, tiles, or shingles, you will need to make sure that your installation company can successfully complete this job with your existing roofing to a professional standard and avoid gaps, leaks, or any other physical or aesthetic problems.
Other roofing considerations
If your roof meets all the other requirements for solar panels (correct positioning and pitch of the roof and suitable roof design), you need to finally determine whether or not your roof needs maintenance or substantial repair work. Because modern solar panels can last up to 20 years with very little maintenance, it is important that your roof is in the best possible shape before installation. We recommend hiring a professional to inspect your roof for cracks, leaks, and other damage and making any necessary repairs as soon as possible. While this can potentially take more time and money initially, your home will benefit in the long run.