If you are starting to see more solar panels in your area, it’s not an illusion. The reasons homeowners are going solar are significant: home solar may help hedge against rising utility rates and has the potential to offer greater energy independence.
As of December 2019, according to SEIA, “total installed U.S. PV capacity is expected to more than double over the next five years.”1
When it’s time to install your new home solar system, your installer will assess if your home is “solar ready.” There are a few factors that play into this assessment and being prepared may help you to avoid surprises later on.
From the condition of your roof to the energy efficiency of your whole home, get a head start by understanding each of the aspects that determine the solar readiness of your home.
Am I Ready to Go Solar?
If you’re starting to think about making your home solar ready, we’ll walk you through four main elements to consider.
Check Your Roof
- Start with your roof’s age. Because your solar panels will last for 25 years or longer, your roof will need to be in good shape. If you think your roof may need to be replaced within the next 10 years, you may want to consider making repairs or replacing your roof before solar installation. If you’re unsure of the age of your roof, you may want to contact a roofing professional—many offer evaluation services to help you determine how many years your roof has left.
- Have you ever noticed the direction that your roof faces? In the northern hemisphere, southern-facing roofs are best for solar panels because southern-facing solar panels will see direct sunlight throughout the day. The pitch of your roof (meaning the angle of your roof) affects how many solar panels you can put on your roof and how they will absorb the sun. A pitch between 30 and 45 degrees is best for solar installations.
- Tree placement matters when it comes to solar homes. If there is any shading over your roof, it may negatively impact the energy production from your home solar system. Trimming trees is important, but you’ll want to check for any other potential shade from nearby buildings or architectural installations.
Check Your Home’s Electrical System
- Just like the age of your roof, the age of your home’s electrical system may impact your home solar system installation. Your home’s electrical system will need to be compatible with your home solar installation. Older electrical panels may need to be upgraded prior to installation.
- Newer homes may feature solar optimized electrical panels. If your home is new construction, you may be able to ask your builder to install a solar-ready electrical panel.
Take External Factors into Account
- Before installation, read through your HOA regulations. There may be certain requirements that you need to follow for your home solar installation. For example, you may need to get written consent from your HOA prior to installing your home solar system.
- If you live near a high rise or if you’re in a single-story home next to a two-story home, you may need to account for the shade that is cast from those buildings, as it may negatively affect your solar production.
- Researching your state’s home solar regulations can help you to choose the right installation for your bottom line. There are a variety of financial incentives that vary from state to state including net metering.2
Evaluate Your Current Energy Usage
- Do you know how energy efficient your home is? Before you install your new home solar system, we recommend you get an energy audit of your home. By making your home as energy efficient as possible before going solar, you can better utilize your solar energy production.
- Your home solar system will be designed based on your historical, typical home energy consumption. If you start using more energy because you have a home solar system, you may notice an increase in your utility bills. Talk to your home solar installer about any upgrades you are considering making to your home such as purchasing an electric car or installing a pool.
Interested in going solar?
If your roof is not quite solar ready, we offer a new, durable roof along with your state of the art solar system. Contact us to learn more!
2. Sunnova makes no guarantees regarding credit for net energy exported to the electric grid, and any credit provided (now or in the future) is subject to change or termination by executive, legislative or regulatory action.