Are you considering installing solar panels in your home? It's a great way to reduce your energy costs and help the environment. But before you make the switch, it's important to know if your home is eligible for solar panels. In this article, we'll discuss the factors to consider when determining if your home is ready for solar energy.
Check if you have enough spaceThe first step is to measure the amount of space you have available for solar panels.
The average solar panel measures about 17.6 square feet and produces 265 watts under direct sunlight per day, which is equivalent to 15 watts per square foot. You'll also need to take a look at your electricity bill to see how many kilowatts on average your home uses each month.
Know your climateSolar panels work well in most climates, so you don't have to live in a completely sunny location for them to be effective. However, it's important to know how much sunlight your home is projected to receive based on local weather data.
Google's Project Sunroof website can help you get an instant report on your solar potential.
Check the condition of your roofSolar panels should be installed on roofs that are in good condition and that won't need to be replaced in the near future. Strong and durable roofing materials, such as composite or asphalt shingles, concrete shingles, or metal for standing joints are best for solar panel installation. If you end up needing a new roof after installing the panels, you'll need to ask a solar specialist to remove the entire system and then reinstall it after rebuilding the roof.
Understand cloudy daysOn a typical cloudy day, solar panels produce 25% of their normal production, while on a very cloudy day they produce 10% of normal production. A solar energy consultant can calculate the amount of energy your system will produce so you can see potential savings before deciding to use solar energy.
Find out if your home is ready for solar energyTo see if your home is a good candidate for solar energy, try a solar panel suitability tester like Google's Project Sunroof. Then schedule an appointment for a solar consultation with an expert who will visit your home to inspect its orientation (south-facing solar panels capture more energy), the angle of the roof, and the shade of the trees to see if your roof will receive enough sunlight to meet your family's energy needs.
SunPower solar energy consultations are free and you can learn a lot about your home and the best energy options. The optimal angle for installing solar panels is a 30 degree slope, although this may vary depending on latitude. It is more difficult to install solar panels on tile roofs, because the shingles are brittle and because the installation can damage the waterproofing barrier under the shingles.