As people become more concerned about their impact on the environment and traditional electricity becomes more expensive, solar panels continue to grow in popularity. It’s abundant, clean, and cost-effective, allowing you to be on the good side of Mother Earth.
Location is a significant consideration if you plan to power your home with solar panels. For optimum efficiency, solar panels need to receive as much direct sunlight as possible to generate electricity.
There are several places where you can install your solar panels, depending on your home and property. Here are some of them:
Traditionally, residential solar energy systems are installed on the roof. This is because your roof typically gets the most sunshine throughout the day. That said, numerous considerations exist before you decide on a rooftop solar installation.
The right roof direction generally allows the solar panels to capture maximum solar energy. A south-facing roof is the best, but both west- and east-facing roofs can also capture enough solar energy throughout the day. Aside from direction, you also need to consider your roof’s pitch or how it’s slanted toward the sun. Ideally, your roof should have a 30-degree angle to get the proper exposure to the sun. However, some installers offer additional brackets for optimum panel tilt if you have a flat roof.
In addition to roof orientation and tilt, one of the most critical factors you need to consider is your roof’s condition. After all, solar panels can be pretty heavy, and an older roof with apparent damage may not be able to support the extra weight. As such, you want to have your roof inspected and then do the necessary repair maintenance or replacements before installing solar panels to prevent safety hazards such as your roof suddenly collapsing.
Lastly, check for neighboring tall structures or trees that may cast shade on your roof, preventing your solar panels from getting enough sunlight throughout the day.
Canopy is the umbrella term for various outdoor structures that provide extra, functional spaces. These structures may include:
- Patio covers
Most of these structures have roofing that can be a great alternative if your house’s roof is unsuitable for solar installation. However, note that these structures often have limited surface area, meaning you can only install limited panels. Fortunately, installing solar panels on canopies with various options, like an easy-to-use solar panel kit for shed and other smaller outdoor structures, is more manageable.
You can also build a customized solar canopy to provide specific functional use for the space underneath the panels. This is the main difference between a solar canopy and other mounting places, such as traditional rooftops.
For instance, a solar carport is most suitable if you have an electric car. You can harness the sun’s power to fuel your electric car’s charging station and serve as a parking space. A solar carport can provide clean power for your garage lighting and other DIY needs, even if you don’t have an electric vehicle.
Meanwhile, other types of canopy structures, such as patio covers, pergolas, and gazebos, work great in outdoor areas such as backyard gardens. They can create a shaded area for relaxing while capturing clean energy for your household and outdoor use.
If a rooftop solar installation is out of the question, solar panels can also be installed on the ground. Ground-mounted solar installation is as advantageous as roof solar panels if you have a vast, open backyard.
In general, ground-mounted solar installations are available in two types:
From its name, a pole-mounted ground solar system features panels on a single, tall pole. While it’s uncommon in most residential areas, this type is common in farmhouses with acres of farm lots. A pole solar panel provides plenty of space underneath for grazing animals while capturing solar energy for farm use.
With enough budget, you can opt for pole mount systems with sun-tracking features. With this technology, the panels can follow the sun’s movement throughout the day, getting as much solar energy as possible and increasing generation efficiency.
More commonly found in expansive backyards, a fixed ground-mounted solar system is the same as rooftop panels. The only difference is that these are installed on a cemented area in the ground. The solar panels are installed a few feet off the ground and are accurately angled and oriented for maximum sun exposure.
4. Nearby Wide, Calm Bodies Of Water
If you live in a limited land property but have access to nearby bodies of water, floating solar panels could be a good option. Like ground-mounted systems, floating panels take advantage of usable calm waters such as ponds, lakes, and water reservoirs.
Since it’s still a new technology, expect to shell out more for floating solar panels. They provide more benefits, including land space savings, higher panel efficiency due to a more relaxed environment, and ease of maintenance.
5. South-Facing Exterior Walls
Suppose your homes and other exterior structures’ rooftops are unsuitable for solar installation, or you don’t have a wide-open area for ground or floating installation. In that case, your exterior walls may be your last option. If your home has a south-facing wall, a wall-mounted solar system can help you harness the sun’s energy.
However, note that it won’t provide the same energy production as the other options and can only generate up 70% of the energy produced from rooftop systems. That said, wall-mounted solar systems are beneficial during the winter season. Since the sun is lower in the sky during winter, vertical solar panels have direct access to sun rays. Plus, you don’t have to worry about snow accumulating atop panels which can disrupt their efficiency.
Homeowners have several options for installing solar panels to capture and harness the sun’s energy. The most common location is your home’s rooftop, providing direct sunlight access. However, suppose your home’s roof can’t support the added weight. In that case, areas such as an expansive backyard, a south-facing wall, a calm body of water, and just about any other structure rooftops, such as garages or sheds are ideal for solar installation.