At Oak Electric, we firmly believe that solar energy is a fantastic option for homeowners seeking effective energy solutions. However, it’s important to note that not all roofs are equally suitable for solar panel installation. But fret not! We have alternative options available, including ground-mounted systems.
Are you curious whether a roof-mounted solar system would work well for your home? Let’s delve into the four key factors that determine the compatibility of a roof with solar panels: material, solar access, orientation, and age.
Solar panels can be installed on various roof types, such as standing seam, asphalt shingle, and corrugated metal. Among them, standing seam roofs are preferred throughout the industry. The advantage is that no roof penetrations are necessary to mount the solar system. These roofs consist of wide metal panels that interlock and are secured to the roof using hidden clips. Corrugated metal and asphalt shingle roofs are also suitable for roof-mounted solar, though they do require roof penetration.
On the other hand, membrane roofs are unsuitable for solar installation due to their brittleness and inability to support panel weight. Typically found on flat roofs, membranes are made of thin, flexible materials. Additionally, we discourage the installation of solar panels on wood or slate roofs due to their lack of stability.
Solar panels need direct sunlight to produce energy. If your roof is heavily shaded by trees or other obstructions, the panels won’t receive sufficient sunlight, resulting in poor energy generation. In some cases, tree removal may be necessary to improve solar access, or we may recommend a ground mount system for better exposure to sunlight compared to a roof-mounted setup.
In Michigan, when it comes to solar panels, the best direction to face is true south. By doing so, homes in MI can capture up to 20% more energy compared to those with panels facing other directions. And here’s why: the sun’s path across the sky allows panels facing south to bask in maximum sunlight all day long. But don’t worry if your roof doesn’t face south—you’re not out of luck. At Oak Electrics, many of our customers have roofs facing north, east, or west and are still able to generate solar power, albeit at a slightly lower rate throughout the year.
To get the most out of your solar system, the angle of the panels is crucial. Often, it is recommended to install panels at an angle close to the latitude of your home. The ideal angle is around 35 degrees, as it allows the panels to harvest energy efficiently, even when the sun’s position shifts during different seasons.
Consider the age of your roof before jumping into solar installations. If your shingle or asphalt roof is 15 years or older, it might be a good idea to replace it before going solar. However, if the roof is in good condition and you prefer not to replace it, not all roofs of that age require replacement. On the other hand, corrugated roofs can last a lifetime, unless there is a specific issue that warrants a replacement.
Making the decision
These are the key factors to take into account when considering installing a solar panel on your roof. At Oak Electric, we believe in a personalized approach. That’s why we always kickstart the solar process with an in-person site visit. By assessing your roof’s orientation, solar access, materials, and age, we can provide tailored recommendations to ensure you get the best solar system that suits your unique needs.
Ready to learn if your roof is a good fit for solar? Get in touch with our team today.