Over the past ten years, solar energy in the United States has seen an average increase of 50% ANNUALLY and, at the same time, the cost to install solar has decreased more than 70% (www.seia.org)! Homeowners have tremendous opportunities to use “clean” energy to save money on their electric bills. But if you are thinking about solar panels, it is important to first evaluate if they are right for your home.
What you need to consider:
- What direction does your roof face?
- South facing roofs get the most sunlight. East or west facing also receive substantial amounts of sun. A north facing roof is not ideal for solar panels.
- How much space is available on your roof?
- Are there obstructions on your roof that might impact installation like dormers, dishes, vents, antennas, etc? What is the square footage of your roof?
- Are there obstructions?
- Anything blocking the sun on your roof is an obstruction. Trees and buildings are the main culprits. When looking at trees, it’s important to not only see what issues they might cause now, but what will happen in the future when they are bigger. Evaluate any tree within 50 feet of your home. Dormers, chimneys, and other items on your roof can also cast shadows, blocking out the sunlight.
- Remember, shadows change throughout the day. It is important to go outside during different times of day to see the impact of shadows on your roof.
- How many usable sunlight hours are there?
- This varies greatly according to where you live. There are many great resources (listed below) that can help with this.
- What is the angle of your roof?
- This matters, but much depends on the direction your roof is facing, and is definitely not a deal breaker. Ideally, your roof would angle as close to your area’s latitude as possible.
- What is your energy usage?
- How much energy do you use on a monthly and annual basis? How much do you pay for it? You can find this information on your energy bill.
There are some great resources that can help you with your research:
- Google Project Sunroof (https://www.google.com/get/sunroof#p=0)
- You are able to type in your address and see everything from your hours of usable sunlight per year, to roof square footage, to potential cost savings. It also estimates if your roof is a good fit for solar panels. You can see a screenshot above!
- NY Solar Map (https://nysolarmap.com/)
- This site provides information specific to NY state. It includes everything from solar radiation throughout the state, to solar costs, and installation statistics. Additionally, you can type in your address to receive specific information about how effective solar panels would be on your home.
We can help too! Our Exterior Designers are trained to evaluate roofs for solar panels, and can help determine if they are right for you. Additionally, we can help you to understand all incentives available on the federal, state, and local levels that can help offset the initial cost. Contact us today for a free evaluation and estimate, 585-400-7663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.