How To Check The Condition Of Your Roof
Hold on a second. Dont climb up that ladder just yet. There are few things you can check without bringing the ladder out from your garage. First, inspect from inside the attic and ceiling walls for any leaks or stains.
If your electricity bill has recently gone up, chances it may have been caused by excessive ventilation.
Some of the common ways roofs get damaged are:
- Broken or Loose Tiles
- Damage to the Structure
- Worn Down Materials
Do look around to see if you can find any of these damages on your roof. If you spot one, a roof inspection by a professional might be a good option.
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What Is The Average Payback Period For Residential Solar Panels In 2021
The solar payback period refers to the amount of time it takes for the electric bill savings from your solar panels to equal the amount you paid for the system. The average payback period for a residential solar system in 2021 is about seven years.
A payback period of seven years equates to a return on investment of approximately 14%. However, this varies greatly by state and even by regions within states.
Calculate the solar panel payback period for your home based on your location, electric use and current local solar system prices
Once you have generated an accurate payback period, you can compare this to the returns you see on other types of investments:
- Long-term government bonds currently have returns between 0.1% and 2%
- Zillow estimates that home prices increase between 3% and 5% annually
- The stock market has risen around 9.5% historically
As you can see, residential solar panels stack up favorably against all of these other investment options – and this is even before we consider the increase in a homes value caused by the solar panel installation.
Which Option Is Right For You
- Simple installation and maintenance requirements
- Panels are adjustable for optimum angles
- Lowest upfront costs with highest ROI
- Can reclaim unused land
- Added visibility with a small footprint
- Tracking option increases power generation
- Suitable for northern climates with harsh weather
- Can group multiple poles together to boost output
- Add dual functionality to parking lots
- Create premium parking spots by offering shade
- Provide net-zero energy to EV chargers
- Use as a continuous structure or individual ports
Unlike a roof array, you can adjust the panel angles on ground-mount arrays to better absorb sunlight.
Ground-mount systems can be tilted at an optimal angle, which varies depending on how far south or north you are, explains Mike Grunow, marketing director for manufacturer Trina Solar. An angle suitable in Texas is different than one in Minnesota because of their proximity to the equator. When you have a roof array, the angles are limited because you have to consider how much wind the panels could catch.
Ground-mount solar is also relatively simple and fast to install, requiring only light trenching to secure the racking system and a small crew to fasten the panels.
Harness Energy at New Heights If land space is inadequate, consider a pole-mount array. PV panels are attached to sturdy poles several feet off the ground, similar to a satellite dish.
Jennie Morton is associate editor of BUILDINGS.
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Ground Mounts: Pros And Cons
Pictured is a carport and ground-mounted solar system. Two popular options for many considering a solar investment.
Pros of a ground mount:
- Ground mounts can be installed to face any direction and in almost any location, positioning them for optimal energy production
- They can be installed at multiple angles
- The system can easily be accessed for maintenance
- Carports can be installed in existing parking lots – providing shading, lighting, and protection to parked cars
Cons of a ground mount:
- Limits the use of the land
- Takes up large areas
- Easier access for unauthorized visitors
- Increased chance for accidental damage from rocks or other particles thrown from a mower and other equipment
- Will likely be required to install a fence adding cost to the project
- It likely requires mowing around multiple posts and under low clearances
Things to consider when installing a ground mount:
- The long-term plan for the plot of land
- The terrain of your property
Both roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar systems are good options. Ultimately, you need to select the option that best meets your specific requirements. If you have plenty of unshaded roof space available then a roof mount is likely going to be the best, cheapest option. If your available roof space is limited and you still want a way to take advantage of the financial and environmental benefits of solar, then a ground mount or carport might be a great option.
The Pros And Cons Of Ground
Most often, solar panels are overwhelmingly associated with rooftops. After all, in the vast majority of installation scenarios, solar panels – whether theyre on a commercial building or residential property – are finding their purpose on the roof. Theyre placed as close to unobstructed sunshine as they can get.
But is it possible that your rooftop isnt the ideal location for your panels? Perhaps your roof is in complete shade for most of the day. Or maybe you want to take advantage of all the benefits of solar energy despite having a roof made of materials that arent ideal for solar panels, such as slate.
For most property owners, their roof is the ideal location for their solar panel installation. However, in the event that it isnt, there are other options, such as ground-mounted solar panels. If you dont have access to a perfect roof but you do have access to a wide, open space with plenty of sunshine, then you may be a candidate for these types of panels.
As with anything, though, there are pros and cons to ground-mounted panels. Read on to find out what they are.
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You Could Boost Your Homes Energy Efficiency
Want to save on cooling during summers? You can apply reflective coating on your metal roof so that your home doesnt absorb as much heat from the sun. The solar panels also serve as additional shade so your roof doesnt directly get hit by sunlight. Together, they keep your home cooler and reduce HVAC energy consumption.
Giving You Room To Grow
If youre installing on your roof, chances are youve got limited space to make the most efficient array possible. Should your energy needs change in the future, it could be challenging to add more panels to your current system.
When you go ground-mount, youre under no such restriction assuming you have the space in your yard. You can expand your array after the initial installation, and many ground mount racking options allow you to bolt on new additions easily.
This means if you add on to your property and require more power, or if you find that your initial power supply just isnt cutting it, you can add more panels as needed with minimum fuss.
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What Is A Ground
A ground-mounted solar power system is just what it sounds like – a system of solar panels that are mounted on the ground on your property, rather than on the roof of your house.
Ground-mounted solar panels can be installed any place on your property that has sufficient open space and good sun exposure. The panels can be placed anywhere from a few inches to a few feet off the ground, depending on how the racking system is set up. The panels feed power to a solar inverter, which is located either on the mounting system behind the panels or in the house.
Residential ground-mount solar installations are generally built using 60-cell solar panels – the same solar panel size typically used in residential rooftop solar installations. Meanwhile, larger-scale ground-mounted systems, like ones used in solar farms, tend to use larger, 72-cell solar panels.
Ground-mounted solar panels are also known as backyard solar panels, free-standing solar panels, and ground-mount PV systems.
Three Tips For Solar Shoppers
1. Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energys National Renewable Energy Laboratory recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
To find the smaller contractors that typically offer lower prices, youll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can expect to save $5,000 to $10,000 on their solar panel installation.
2. The biggest installers typically dont offer the best price
The bigger isnt always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you dont overpay for solar.
3. Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
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Consider The Type Of Your Roof
Is your roof made out of shingles, clay, or slate? Make sure to inspect your roofs first before installing a solar panel.
Solar panels work best with shingles as they are the most popular and easiest type of roof that a solar panel can be attached to. Clay or slate roofs tend to break thats why it is not advisable for solar panels to be put onto.
You really need to be extra careful when you have a clay or slate roof. Inquire for the help of a roof expert if you want to get your roof check for it to be compatible for solar panel installation.
What Roof Slope Orientation Is Best For Solar Panels
Another factor that has an impact on solar panel power production is the direction or orientation of the roof slope where the solar panels are installed.
In the Northern Hemisphere , the general guidance is for solar panels to face south because south-facing sides of roofs get the most sunlight during the day.
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South Facing Roof Orientation Comparison
We looked at differences in solar panel production and savings in different areas of the country in our post Top 10 Cities for Solar . But what happens to these numbers when the roof in question doesnt face south? We took a closer look at six cities Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.to see what happens with their solar roofs. Heres what we found:
Even when solar panels arent facing directly south, they can still produce large amounts of electricity, even if you live somewhere that doesnt receive much sun. In general, regardless of where you live, if your solar roof is oriented directly east or directly west instead of the optimal south-facing, you will only see a 20% decrease in the amount of electricity you produce. Even with this decrease in performance, your solar panels would still produce enough electricity to save you hundreds of dollars a year.
How Many Solar Panels Does A Home Need
How many solar panels a home needs is determined by many factors. First, solar companies must work with utility companies to calculate the homes electricity usage over the past year. Month-to-month electricity use gives an accurate picture of the energy needs of the house.
After collecting usage, the customer needs to decide on a solar panel. The solar panel size and type make a big difference in how many modules the home needs for the production of solar energy and the percent of system offset.
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Consider The Size Of Your Roof
Does your roof have enough space where the solar panels will be placed? An average size for a good space of the roof would be 400-600 square feet.
Usually, each solar panel takes about 18 square feet. The ideal roof for solar panels should be 30-40 degrees with a slanted style rather than a flat one.
Slanted roofs are the best option for solar panels but having flat roofs is just as fair. Ask a professional Solar Panel Installation on what works best for your roof!
How Ground Mounts Make Solar A Viable Option For Some
If a roof doesnt have enough unshaded space or pitch facing the right direction, it may not work for solar. Solar panels work best when they face south, but east and west-facing solar panels can still produce significant amounts. Homeowners with space for a ground mount can generate more solar power because they dont have these limiting factors.
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Does Installing Solar Panels Affect My Roof Warranty
So, weve established that as long as theyre installed correctly solar panels can actually have a beneficial effect on your roof, but you may still be wondering about whether installing solar panels could void your roofs warranty. That is an important thing to consider.
The answer is simple in some cases. Mounting systems that do not penetrate your roof, which includes ballasted racking and roof clamp racking, will not have an effect on your roofs warranty. For penetrating systems, you should take a couple important steps in order to make sure you dont void your roofs warranty:
- Talk to Your Roofer: You should inform your original roofing contractor of your plans to install solar panels and ask about whether this will have any impact on your warranty. In some cases, to protect your warranty, you may need your roofer to prepare your roof for the installation process by removing shingles or tiles where mounts will go. This will require your roofer to coordinate with the contractor installing your panels.
- Hire a Qualified Contractor: Even if your roofer helps to prep your roof, it is still vital that contractors installing your solar panels have the experience and expertise to do a quality job and avoid damaging your roof in any way. Even denting your roof slightly could void your warranty since this can have a long-term effect on your roofs effectiveness. Ask your contracting company if it can guarantee your roof wont be damaged, keeping your warranty intact.
Top 3 Roof Issues To Address Before Installing Solar Panels In 2021
PV solar panels for residential roofs are in like never before, thanks to the fact that going solar has never been easier or more affordable.
The Price of Going Solar Has Decreased Dramatically Over the Past 10 years
In fact, in 2021, most homeowners working with small local installers are paying between $2.80 and $3.20 per watt to install a new solar panels system before the 26% solar tax credits in 2021 and 2022 .
The national average total cost for a typical 5kW PV solar power system is $14,800, when installed by a small local installer, before the 26% tax credits in 2021-2022 .
Did you know? In 2008, the cost of a solar power installation was $8.82 per watt.
Using the US average for a residential PV solar panels system size at 5 kW , a new solar system cost will be $10,952, after the 26% tax credits in 2021 and 2022 . Thats a rather attractive price range for residential solar energy compared to the recent past.
So, should you jump on the solar bandwagon and take advantage of the 26% solar investment tax credits available to homeowners in 2021-2022 right away, or are there other factors to consider before installing solar panels on your home?
There are several important factors to consider before calling a solar company and getting those panels up on your roof, if you want to ensure a long-lasting and regret-free solar installation:
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Do Solar Panels Have To Be On The Roof
rooftop solar panelssolar panels needroofpanels can
. In this manner, do you have to put solar panels on the roof?
Ground-mounted solar panels are free-standing and able to be installed anywhere on your property â including the front, side, or backyard â whereas rooftop-mounted panels must be attached to your roof. Both options have unique benefits and make sense for different household situations and needs.
Similarly, where should solar panels be placed on a roof? For the US, your solar panels should face South. If the roof where you have been thinking of installing the solar panels faces South, South-East or South West, then it’s a good spot for them. On the other hand, if the available space on the roof only faces North, then is better to find another spot.
Thereof, do solar panels ruin your roof?
Solar panels don’t damage your roof when installed properlyFor most homeowners, installing solar panels will not result in roof damage as long as your solar installer is a licensed, qualified professional and your roof is in good condition.
Can solar panels be installed on any roof?
The good news is that solar panels can be installed on just about any roof type, but the installation process and mounting hardware might vary from material to material. In this article, we’ll explore the many types of roofs solar panels can be installed on and how each has a unique installation process.