Will Your Roof Suit Solar?

Many homeowners and businesses are unsure if their roof will be suitable for a solar panel installation.

The good news is that almost every single home can have solar panels fitted. There are some specific requirements that are useful to know before you go diving in.

Roof Space

The amount of space that solar panels take up on your roof depends on the size of the system selected and the make of the panel. A system will be typically sized based on your energy consumption. Solar panels have become more efficient over the years, meaning that most homeowners and businesses need less panels on their roof to achieve the system size required.

Part of our assessment process is determining exactly how much space is available on your roof and how many panels we can fit. If you are unsure if you can fit solar panels on your roof, simply make an enquiry and one of our energy consultants will be able to guide you further on this.

Roof Orientation

A key aspect to the performance of a solar system is the orientation of the roof. Couple this with the roof space requirement above, and sometimes it can be challenging to fit the required number of panels to generate enough power to cover the homes power usage.

Typically, we will see many installations with a mix of panels facing east, west and/or north. Contrary to popular belief, solar panels don't always need to face north and can actually perform better when facing either east or west depending on the times that the energy is consumed in the home. For example if your home draws a lot of power in morning as you get ready for work, east facing panels can actually perform better in terms of energy savings.

Again, this can be determined through an in-home consultation where we can find out exactly when the power is being used in the home and ensure that solar panel placement takes this into consideration.

Another important consideration is the angle of your roof. Typically, the most optimum angle is the latitude of your location. However, this is not always permissible and as such a customised solution may be required to tilt your panels to the optimum angle. This is particularly true if you have a flat roof. Virtual Power Co can assess your roof and provide the best recommendation for your home or business.

Roof Material and Structure

Solar panels require suitable structural fixing points to ensure compliance with wind loadings so that the panels do not blow off your roof. A structurally sound roof is essential in ensuring a safe installation with longevity and performance long into the future. The last thing you want is your neighbour knocking on your door asking to get your solar panel out of their pool!

The type of roofing material impacts cost and installation difficulty. Colorbond or tin rooves are generally easier to work with and have lower installation costs. Conversely slate or terracotta tiles require more specialist hardware to fix the panels to the roof structure and thus result in higher installation costs with longer installs. More intricate labour and attention to detail is required on these roof types and special care has to be maintained to ensure the waterproofing of the roof is maintained. This can include grinding tiles to ensure all tiles sit flush once placed back over the fixings.

Spending time with a Virtual Power Co energy consultant will help you determine whether your roof is structurally sound and can support the addition of solar panels.

How Does Solar Effect The Roof?

Solar has no negative effect on a roof provided it is installed correctly to specification and the Australians standards. In-fact solar panels can provide a significant heat sink from the sun which in turn can reduce the temperature in your home.

Penetrations in the roof are made where the cables are required to enter the internal section of the roof before eventually running down to the inverter. A water proofing membrane is installed here that allows the cables to pass through but blocks the ingress of water. This maintains the water proofed nature of your roof. At Virtual Power Co we play extremely close attention to these key details to ensure that your home is not damaged by water ingress.

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