Is Solar Power Right for my Location?
The Right Location
There are a few things to think about regarding your property when choosing to go solar. Am I in the right environment for solar panels? Do I have the right roof? And lastly, what’s the best angle for my solar panels? We’ll walk you through each topic to help determine if going solar is right for your specific needs.
The first obvious aspect of location to consider is the environment. Is it an area with a lot of sunlight? Do you live in the midst of the forest? In any case, solar could still be right for you with the necessary adjustments made. You may have to cut down or prune some trees to make room for more sunlight. Surprisingly, even the sunniest locations are not the most suitable for solar. The two biggest things to research as far as location are: solar rebates, and your electricity rates. With these being such huge factors, some solar power users in the Northeast save more than those in Florida - despite being exposed to less sunlight.
The Right Roof
Three things to keep in mind whilst inspecting your home or commercial roof are: the direction, the angle, and the size. Surprisingly, the direction of the roof matters significantly in order to get the most sunlight for the longest amount of time of the day. Generally, south-facing roofs get the most amount of time exposed to sunlight - but any east or west facing panel could do just as well when it comes to saving money on your electricity bill.
Make sure you inspect your roof for any damage. Because solar panels can last for over 25 years, you’ll want to make sure the roof it’s being installed on is very secure and not in need of any repair or replacement in the near future. If you have a very old roof, you might want to consider getting it replaced before investing in solar. Consider the material of your roof; solar panels can work well on most surfaces, but some are better than others. Less successful materials would be slate, cedar, and clay tile. This is because they are more susceptible to breakage.
The Right Angle
Especially for flat roofs, you’ll want to consider the angle of your panel. Make sure your panel is installed (with a pitch) between 15 and 40 degrees. 30 degrees is the usually the perfect angle. Your panel should be (in an ideal world) mounted at an equal angle to the latitude of the location it’s been installed.
In terms of performance, studies actually show that the angle of your roof will be less impactful than the direction the angle is facing. If you lowered your roof from 30 degrees to 5 degrees, you’d only be decreasing the production level of your panel by ten percent. That’s not much at all, but still worth talking about.
The topics discussed on this subject are not going to affect your panel’s savings or productivity significantly. Most solar panel companies have designed solutions for any location-related issues. Most of these topics are all things that should be discussed with your installer. However, informing yourself first is never a bad idea.