How to Tell if Your Roof is Ready for Solar

Most people know about the benefits of solar energy, including saving money on monthly electric bills, having a low-maintenance electrical system, and of course reducing environmental impact. Not everyone is aware, however, that there is quite often preparatory work required for preparing a structure for its solar electrical system. For a roof-mounted solar energy system, customers must first ensure that their roof can support a solar energy system. If it can't, the consequences can range from having chronic roof leaks to the worst case scenario, which is a roof collapse. Fortunately, there are several ways to know if your roof is capable of supporting a solar energy system, and if it's not, what you can do to make it ready for solar.

The requirements for a roof that's suitable for a solar energy system depend on many factors, including the size of the structure supporting the system and what materials the house or building (and its roof) are made of. The first consideration is to determine whether or not a solar energy system will fit on your roof in its current condition. A good rule of thumb is that a typical residential solar energy system, sized 5KW and outfitted with 15 solar panels Las Vegas, requires about 300 SF of rooftop space for installation. From this basic calculation, one can determine, in 5KW increments, how much roof space they might need to support a solar electric system. Generally, prime conditions are a clean, flat, square-shaped or rectangular-shaped roof. Roofs that face towards the south are ideal candidates for solar energy systems, as are rooftops that have little tree shading throughout the year. The rooftop should also be largely free of obstacles like chimneys, skylights, and vent pipes. Your Las Vegas solar company might be able to work around one obstruction, but having multiple obstacles can make a solar energy system much more complicated to install.

Assuming you have adequate space and a good surface for a solar energy system, it's time to determine if your roof can hold the weight of the electrical system. Your roof should ideally be no more than middle-aged. If it's at half its expected lifetime or more, you should get a professional rooftop inspection to determine whether or not the roof can realistically support the weight of a solar energy system for 15 years or longer, along with any additional weight that might come from rain and wind. A middle-aged roof is also more prone to leaks, decay, and bug infestations. If your roof is in questionable condition, it might make sense to have a new roof installed before putting your solar energy system in. Keep in mind that your solar system has an expected lifespan of about 25 years. Lastly, a steep roof or roof on a building located in an area with high winds might be less than ideal. When in doubt, it's always best to consult a knowledgeable solar company for guidance.

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