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If the 8 billion square meters of suitable roofs in the US were covered in solar panels, the country could produce 40% of the total electricity currently used each year.
On a smaller scale, if you live in a sunny state and energy rates are high, you could save a substantial amount of money by powering your home with solar panels.
Not to mention, you will be doing your part for environmentally friendly energy that reduces your carbon footprint. The cost of solar panels has dropped by 80% since 2008.
So if you are interested in installing solar panels in your home, read on to learn how to prepare your roof before installing solar panels.
Know Your Energy History
The first thing you need to do when installing solar panels is to know how much energy your household uses. This will give you confidence that you are installing the right amount of solar panels for your usage.
Gather a one-year history of your electrical usage. This is usually measured in kWh per month. You will need a year’s history because your energy usage might change depending on the time of year.
Next, take your month-to-month usage and calculate your average use You can do this by adding up all the numbers and dividing by 12. Now divide your average monthly usage by 30 to get your average daily kWh usage.
Each solar panel produces about 1 kWh of energy per day. So if you want 100% of your energy usage to be solar powered, you will buy the same number of panels as your average daily kWh use.
For example, if your daily KWh use is 30, you will need 30 solar panels to generate 100% of the power you typically use.
Some people are OK with solar panels offsetting their energy usage at a lower percent.
So if you want your solar panels to generate 80% of your power, you will multiply your daily kWh by that number in decimal form. Keeping the same example as above, you would multiply 30 X 0.80. In this example, you would need 24 solar panels to give you 80% of your energy usage.
Another variable that affects how much solar power your panels generate is the number of hours of sunlight your roof gets.
We suggest going with more solar panels that you estimate you need. When a set of solar panels produces more energy than you need, you can sell your solar energy for a little bit of extra cash.
Keep in mind that this calculation is a rough estimate. Your solar panel contractor, if you choose to use one, will give you an exact figure.
Ensure Your Roof Is in the Sun
To make solar panels perform at peak efficiency they need to be in direct sunlight.
Roof mounted solar panels are the most common. To make sure that roof-mounted solar panels will work for your home, take a look at your roof orientation.
If you live in a sunny state, chances are roof orientation won’t matter too much. However, you still need to check for trees that could be making shade on your roof. If needed, trim the branches to make sure your roof gets as much sunlight as possible.
Don’t worry too much about cloudy days. The sun is a powerful energy source. In fact, just 1 day of sunlight could power the planet for 30 years – here are some more fun facts about solar energy to share with your friends.
Inspect Your Roof and Attic
Inspect your roof and attic for potential problems. If possible, have a roofing specialist conduct the examination. A licensed professional is trained to notice issues that could cause problems later on.
If you do the inspection yourself, look for mildew and issues such as leaks or stains in the attic or walls. This is likely caused by poor ventilation. Attics that are not properly ventilated is common and can make a new roof necessary sooner than average.
When inspecting the roof, keep in mind that each solar panel weighs about 40 pounds. That doesn’t include the mounting racks and hardware.
You might need as many as 12 panels or more to power your home. It’s imperative that your roof has the needed structural support to be able to handle the weight.
When conducting a roof inspection, look at the placement of chimneys, antennas and satellite dishes. You might have to relocate these items to another part of the roof so that your solar panels can get the best, most direct sunlight possible.
Chimneys and vents can be more problematic to move, but it may be possible. Talk to your roofing specialist about the likelihood of these changes being made.
Consider Roof Replacement
Installing solar panels on roofs can last up to 20-30 years. So it’s not a good idea to go to all the effort and cost if your roof is due for replacement.
Don’t be tempted to skip roof repair if the damage is slight. Small issues can easily grow into big problems over time.
Remember, when installing solar panels, workers will be walking on your roof and carrying heavyweight panels. Minor issues before work begins can become more serious under the strain of this installation.
As a general rule, if your roof will need to re-replaced in the next 5 years, it is worth replacing the roof with Jasper Roofing prior to installing solar panels. If you don’t do it now, a solar contractor must move solar panels from the old roof and install them on the new roof. This can be costly and also risk damage to your expensive parts and panels.
Final Thoughts on Solar Panels
The amount of solar power capacity expected to be added in the coming years is equivalent to 70,000 new solar panels every hour. That is enough to cover 1,000 soccer fields each day.
Clearly, solar power is the way of the future. We hope this article has helped you get a good understanding of everything you need to know before installing solar panels on your roof.
Next, read about other solar technology that makes life easier.