How to Prepare for Solar Installation
A new solar installation is a common sight in residential neighborhoods across the U.S. In fact, data from the Solar Energy Industry Association shows that over 780,000 American homes or businesses now have photovoltaic solar panels mounted on the roof producing clean, free electrical power from the sun. Over the past 10 years, the cost of upgrading to solar has decreased by nearly 75 percent. Still, a solar installation isn’t a snap decision for most homeowners and careful preparation is the first step to achieve an optimum end result. Here are some things to consider as you begin to make the transition to solar.
Do You Have Enough Roof Space?
For best results, a south-facing roof with 200 to 400 square feet is ideal for both installation and optimum sun exposure.
Are There Obstructions?
Your roof may incorporate objects that complicate installation of solar panels. These include vent pipes, skylights, air conditioning units and satellite dishes. In many or most cases, these can be relocated to a position that doesn’t interfere with solar installation. However, this will add to the overall cost.
Is the Roof Structurally Sound?
Solar panels add weight and also impose stresses from wind. You’ll need to make sure that the underlying structure of the roof can handle the new load. A solar contractor or structural engineer can inspect your roof determine if reinforcement is required before installing panels. Also, if the roof is leaking, that issue should be repaired before adding solar.
What About Shadowing?
Shadows cast by trees can reduce solar panel output. Nearby trees may need to be removed or limbs trimmed back. Keep in mind that shadows shift position as the sun moves across the sky. So, while the roof may receive full sun exposure at one time of day, at another time shadows may present a problem.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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