Exteriors

How to Install Solar Panels on Your Roof

You have probably seen black roof panels springing up in your neighborhood and you’ve probably started wondering whether installing solar panels is an investment worth making. This is not a simple “yes” or “no” question, as the answer depends on your energy needs, the region you live, the configuration of your roof, etc. However, finding out more about solar panels will help you decide whether this investment into energy-efficiency will pay off in your case and when.

Can my roof support solar panels?

The first thing you need to take into consideration before you start dialing numbers and searching online for solar panels is the configuration of your roof. These panels come in more or less standard sizes like the one of 156 mm by 156 mm. They are rectangular in shape, so you need to explore whether such panels ca fir onto your roof and how of them you can install up there.

Furthermore, once they are up, solar panels will act as an integral segment of the roof. If there is a problem with any of the tiles, the panels have to go down to make the necessary repairs. This requires you to mend the roof before you start installing solar panels.

Enough sunlight

It probably goes without saying but solar panels require a lot of sunlight in order to generate power. If the roof of your house is constantly in the shade of trees or high-rises, then there is no point in installing solar panels. In fact, you should look at the weather data in your region before you decide to install solar panels.

It is bad enough that the panels will be inactive during the night; the last thing you need is wasting thousands of dollars if you live a region that receives a lot of cloudy days. In such regions, solar panels are a bad investment because they will generate power for two days during the week and sit idle for the remaining five. 

How is power generated?

Solar panels have the option to generate power using heat energy from the sun. However, the kind of panels that are best suitable for use on residential objects are photovoltaic cells. They use sunlight to generate power and transfer it to the house’s electrical grid. Hiring electrical related services is a must during the installation of the panels. Once they are connected to the power grid in the house, you can actually export electric power.

A mini solar plant

The biggest downside of solar panels is the same time their biggest advantage. Namely, we are speaking of batteries. They use lithium-ion batteries, the technology behind which is rather rudimentary. They haven’t advanced much during the past century so their storage capabilities are limited. The future of solar panels is most certainly going to be a future of inventing novel ways to store power so it doesn’t get wasted after it’s generated. 

The inability to store large amounts of power means that any excess power your solar powers generate during the sunniest of days is returned into the electric grid. This way, you are actually exporting power which some power companies use to give you benefits when paying your bill while others actually pay you for this.

Renting instead of buying

Apart from the inability to store energy, another downside to solar panels is a relatively high installation cost. However, this is not an obstacle if you decide not to buy the panels but rather rent them. This way, the initial investment is lower but at the same time, the benefits of solar panels are lessened. You will need to pay a certain rate for the electricity produced to the company you are leasing the panels from. Also, when the lease expires, they are free to take the panels back, which will leave you with the bill of repairing your roof.

Not a one-off energy-saving method

Many people get dazzled with the opportunity to create electricity and make money from it, while saving on utility bills in the process; it does seem like a win-win situation. However, solar panels are just one of several methods to make your home energy-efficient. If you apply it without other measures to protect the environment by reducing energy consumption, it will prove ineffective. For instance, you can build a coal plant in your back yard but all that dirty energy won’t suffice if the windows are poorly caulked or if your house lacks insulation. Apart from making energy in green and sustainable fashion, you should do your best to save energy since the two processes go hand in hand.

We hope that by now you have a biter understanding of how solar power is harvested and harnessed to power the appliances in your home. The technology behind solar panels is pretty advanced but that doesn’t mean that every household will benefit from it. Only if your roof of the right size and shape, there are enough sunny days in the region where you live, and if you are willing to invest a huge sum of money for their installation, will solar panels make for a sound investment. 

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Leila Dorari

Leila Dorari is an entrepreneur and freelance writer from Sydney. She’s passionate about home improvement and living better lives by nurturing our surroundings. In her free time, you can find her window shopping or exploring new ways to make her life more meaningful.

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