It’s an exciting experience when you finally decide to switch to solar energy. After plenty of research, you've determined that you want to invest in solar panels. You’re so excited that you’ve already started to research solar installers in your area. Still, one little question currently holds you back from making the move to solar: “What else should I do before asking for a quote?”
We suggest checking to make sure your roof is as ready for a solar panel installation as you are. There are three important questions you consider before you make the move to solar energy:
- What does your roof look like?
- What is the condition of your roof?
- How much shade does your roof get throughout the day?
Your answers can help you determine if it’s time to get quotes for solar panels. Let’s dig into each question, shall we?
What Does My Roof Look Like?
A quick inspection of your roof is a big first step in determining whether it’s ready for a solar panel installation. There are three major factors you should consider:
- The age of your roof
- The roofing material
- Potential obstacles for solar panels
Age of the Roof
The older your roof, the more likely it is that you’ll need to do some work before you invest in a solar array. If your roof will need to be replaced within the next 10 years, it’s best to replace it before solar panels are installed. This will save you from having to remove and reinstall them when the roof is replaced.
While solar panels are routinely installed on metal and asphalt roofs, some roofing materials, such as slate and Spanish tiles, require more care when installing solar panels. If your roof is made of a delicate material, you should talk to a professional roofer for their recommendation on mounting solar panels on your roof.
Solar panels need to be laid down in straight rows. This means obstacles, such as vents and dormers, can limit how many panels can fit on your roof. A good solar consultant can potentially design around these obstacles, but it can still impact your overall solar potential.
What is the Condition Under My Roof?
Depending on the condition of your roof, you may need to replace it before you install solar panels. Inspect your roof for the following signs:
- Damaged rafters or trusses
- Leaks or stains in the attic or on walls
- Dark, “dirty-looking” spots on the roof
If your roof is showing any of these signs or hasn't been replaced in the past 10 years, consider getting a roof repair estimate from a professional. Shop around and see what you can find. If the area you want to install panels is inaccessible, consult your home's blueprints for the structure of your roof.
How Much Shade Does My Roof Get?
Shade from trees and other buildings can limit the production of your system. Because of this, it’s best to avoid installing panels in shady areas on your rooftop, if possible. If necessary, trees can also be trimmed to optimize unshaded area on your roof. Use Project Sunroof to see an estimate of how much sunlight your roof sees each year and which areas of your roof would be best for solar panels.
Make Sure Your Roof is Ready for Solar Panels
A little preparation can make a big difference for your solar energy system. By considering three simple questions about your roof, you can put your solar panels in the best position for maximum production.