You could be sitting under a solar power gold mine without even realizing it – here are the key signs to look for.
Start with your energy bill
If you have high energy bills – or, more precisely, high energy usage – solar installation can be a great way to cut the amount you owe to your utility each month. Solar panels produce energy that offsets the amount you have to buy from the utility to power your home. The more you tend to use, the more potential you have to save from solar installation.
But energy usage is just one factor – how can you tell if your roof is up for the production you need to meet your usage?
Note the direction your roof faces
Solar panels generate power from the sun as it travels across the sky, shining light on the surface of the panels. Solar energy production is a factor of the number and wattage of panels in an array, and the amount of sunlight exposure it sees over the course of a day.
You may have heard that your roof has to face south for solar panels to produce adequate energy to power your home – this is a common misconception.. Although solar panels facing due south will always produce more power than those facing another direction, it’s not always necessary for solar installation to make sense for a home. Generally speaking, if you think of the face of a compass, a home with a roof face (or faces) pointing in any direction in the lower half has strong potential for solar.
If you have a large roof face (or faces) pointing due south, you should contact us immediately – your potential for savings may be enormous. But even if most of your roof faces north, don’t rule out solar installation – it could still make sense.
Check for shading
Another important factor in evaluating solar production potential is the presence of obstructions between the sun and the roof. Simply put, the less shade on a roof, the better for solar production – but a little bit of shade is no dealbreaker. In the early days of solar, a splash of shade on a single panel would shut down production for all panels connected to the same inverter. Today, microinverters allow more precise management, enabling solar installations to compensate much more effectively for everyday shade.
Other options for shade mitigation are on the table as well – in many cases, the potential savings from solar installation are compelling enough to make the removal of one or more trees make sense (the cost of this can be claimed as part of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This carries the added bonus of freeing up time from raking on fall weekends.
Look into the composition and condition of your roof
Generally speaking, most roofs are viable for solar installation with no work required as a prerequisite. There are a few roofing materials that present issues, but those are relatively rare – most homes are roofed with composition shingles or tiles that are easy to work with. Our expert energy consultants can help you determine what material your home is roofed with and confirm it will work for solar installation.
The other factor to consider is roof condition – most roofs only need replaced every 25-30 years. If your home is older or your roof warranty is close to expiration, it may be worth considering re-roofing as part of solar installation – you can roll the cost into your system investment and claim it as part of the ITC.
How to get started
Once you’ve run through this simple checklist to get a sense of your home’s solar potential, the next step is to schedule a virtual consultation with one of our expert energy consultants. They can help you design a custom system that maximizes the ideal qualities of your home and minimizes any drawbacks in order to arrive at a system design that makes sense for you.