Is my home suitable for solar panels?

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Installing solar panels

Solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular option for many households thanks to their reliability and sustainability. But while they’re designed to generate electricity in all weathers, they work at their best under quite specific conditions. So, if you’re considering having solar panels installed, be sure to chat to a solar PV specialist first to ensure you have the right setup.

What is the ideal roof direction and angle for solar panels?

The optimal roof for solar panels is one which is south facing and at an angle of 30-45 degrees. This exposes panels to the most direct sunlight possible. For maximum power generation, the solar panels need to be in full sunlight for between four and eight hours each day, meaning that your roof should not be overshadowed by trees or other buildings.

If your roof faces southeast or southwest your solar panels will be almost as effective as south facing ones. However, if you have a north facing roof, this will only receive around 55% of the sunlight, meaning more panels – in some cases almost double – would be necessary to generate the same amount of energy.

What is the ideal roofing material for solar panels?

Homes that have been built within the past 15 years are the best for solar panel installation, since there’s less likely to be damage that affects the installation process. Asphalt shingles are ideal, but panels can also be installed on metal, tar, gravel, common tiles and torch-down. If you have a wooden roof you will not be able to have solar PV panels installed due to the increased risk of an electrical fire.

How strong does my roof need to be?

Before solar panels can be installed, any damage to your roof must be fixed. This is especially important if you live in a property that’s several decades old or more. By contacting professional solar PV installers in Kent, you can get an estimate of the weight your roof can withstand and find out which system would be most suitable for it.

How many solar panels will I need?

The number of solar panels your roof can accommodate will partly determine how many solar panels you need. A small roof may only need around eight square metres of clear roof space to accommodate a 1kWh system, but this may only supplement your energy requirements, as opposed to being able to take you off the National Grid altogether. To meet the requirements of a home with three to four occupants, you’ll need a 3.5-4kWh system with around 16 panels – that’s about 26 square metres of clear roof space.

If you’re considering solar panel installation, be sure to contact a professional first. Installers can carry out a site survey and advise you on the suitability of your roof, the best system for your needs, and whether you should also invest in a battery.

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