Read The 8 Simple Steps To Check If Your Home Is Suitable For Solar Panels
by Susie McArthur | May 23, 2021 | Energy
There are probably houses in your own street with this technology fitted to the roof. Thanks in part to the Government’s Feed-in Tariff, the UK now boasts over 12,000MW of installed solar capacity, compared to just 31MW at the beginning of 2010.
Is your home solar panel & battery storage suitable?
No doubt you’ve heard plenty about solar panels, but could you own them yourself? What questions should you ask to determine if your home is suitable, and what are the consequences for your investment if your home isn’t exactly right? Let’s find out.
1. Orientation Is Key
The way your roof faces can make a big difference to its suitability for solar. In an ideal world, you would have a pitched roof facing due south, ready to catch the maximum amount of sunshine throughout the day, but how many of us live in a house that is so perfectly orientated? As a general rule, if you have a surface which faces south-east or south-west, that’s fine. You can even install panels on a roof which faces due east or west and you will only incur approximately a 15 per cent drop in energy output.
2. How much roof space do you have?
Unlike solar thermal (hot water panels) which is not much bigger than a radiator, solar PV (electricity panels) require a larger amount of space. As a rough guide, you’ll need an area of about the size of a parking space for a typical array, although the precise size will depend on the capacity of the system you are installing.
3. What about the shade?
Heavy shading is bad news for solar panels. Take note of any tall trees, chimneys and other buildings nearby, and decide whether they are likely to cast a shadow on your solar system at any point during the day.
4. How strong is your roof?
Most modern roofs will be able to accommodate the weight of solar panels, no problem. However, it is important to work with an installer who carries out structural assessments to ensure your roof is not damaged. An old or weak roof doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have PV, only that you’ll need to take steps to strengthen it first.
5. What’s the angle of your roof?
The ideal angle for a solar panel is between 30 and 45 degrees, which isn’t a million miles away from every type of angle you’ll normally see on a pitched roof. It is possible to install panels with pitches as shallow as 15 degrees up to 50 degrees, but outside of that range, the efficiency would start to reduce significantly. You can have solar PV installed on flat roofs using a frame to angle them perfectly, but you’ll need to make sure that the flat roof can take the weight.
6. Where do you live?
As a general rule, it doesn’t matter where you live as the more recent panels work on daylight and not direct sunshine. However, the more daylight you get, the better your panels will perform.
7. Is your home energy efficient?
Investing in renewable energy should be one of the last things you do once everything else is taken care of. If you haven’t insulated well, haven’t ensured your heating system is efficient and are not using your appliances efficiently, all the savings you’ll be making from solar PV will become diluted by the wastage still happening in your home. More importantly, in order to qualify for the Feed-in Tariff, you must have taken steps to improve the efficiency of your home and should be rated at least a D on your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
8. What’s the best way to find out if your property is suitable?
If you’re thinking about installing solar, considering these questions can help you to understand whether your home is suitable or not, but you should not base your decisions on this alone.
An installer will be able to conduct a free home site survey to establish for sure whether solar is the best technology for you, and what you could expect from your system by way of a return.