Is my House Suitable for Solar Panels?
By Princess Wilson
Across the world, solar panels continue to grow in popularity and have become the most widely accepted renewable energy medium for households and organisations. This comes as no surprise because while traditional power continues to be more expensive, solar panels remain cost-effective, efficient and, most importantly, clean.
If you’re here, then you’re probably considering opting in for solar panels and wondering if they are a right fit for your home. To answer this question, here are some factors to help evaluate your home and decide if solar panels are the ideal choice.
Before opting for solar panels, it is essential to access your local climate and its effects on your home. Although solar panels can generate energy in areas with low sunlight, the amount of power generated by a panel installed on a roof in Kano, Nigeria, will never be the same as that in Alberta, Canada.
Hence, you should employ the expertise of a solar consultant who will use solar sustainability checker tools to determine the amount of energy your solar panel will produce, helping you decide whether it can generate enough power for your home.
Type of Solar Panel
There are different kinds of solar panels. Before setting one up for your home, you must understand your power needs to determine which type is best suited for you.
Two major types of panels are solar thermal panels and photovoltaic panels. Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight to electricity using solar cells, while solar thermal concentrates sunlight by using mirrors.
While solar thermal panels are more efficient than photovoltaics, they can only be maximised during the day and are more suitable for water heating. Photovoltaic panels, on the other hand, are more durable, versatile and common.
Before settling on a type of solar panel, conduct extensive research, seek out user experiences and consult a professional to ensure the panel type is right for your energy needs.
The kind of roof you have significantly determines whether your home is suitable for solar panels. Ideally, solar panels should be installed on roofs made with strong materials like concrete tile or composite.
Roofs made of wood shake or stone coated steel can still have solar panels installed on them. However, installation must be done by professionals who are experienced in working with those kinds of roofs.
Condition of the Roof
It is generally advised that solar panels be installed on roofs that are in excellent condition. This is because the average solar panel lasts about 30 years, so installing it on a roof that is in poor condition and may need replacement in a few years is the wrong way to go.
To ensure your house is suitable for solar panels, confirm your roof is in good condition and re-roof if necessary, as this will save time and money.
While it is true that solar panels can generate a lot of energy, even on days with little sunlight, it is still imperative to ensure that your roof is receiving an adequate amount of sunlight.
To do this, seek the help of an expert who will inspect your home by checking the roof angle and any shading from trees to ensure your roof is receiving enough sunlight that will generate sufficient power for your home. Solar panels can also be installed in yards if they are large enough. It is an excellent option if the roof installation cost is too high or if your roof isn’t in great shape.
The most important thing is that the panels are placed in the most optimal position. If you live in the northern hemisphere, panels facing the south will capture more sunlight, and the reverse is true in the southern hemisphere.
Whether you choose to install on your roof or in your yard, space is a factor you must consider before acquiring a solar panel. This is because while solar thermal panels are quite portable, photovoltaic panels require a significant amount of space.
However, it is essential to note that the size of your panel will depend on its capacity. So it is advisable to consult a specialist who would evaluate your space, energy needs and most suitable solar panel.
Evaluating whether your home is suitable for solar will take a lot of research, time but, most importantly, the help of a professional solar installer. An installer will conduct a site survey on your home to determine its suitability and what panel is best for you.
At PAMAfrica, we provide services like consultancy, site inspection and installation of solar panels. For any questions or consultations regarding solar batteries, please call us on +234 818 574 4595.