Solar Answers: Is Solar Right For You?


How do you know if solar energy is right for you? Here are the factors to consider when adding solar panels to your home.

First, solar works well in all parts of the country. The key is to ensure that the system is sized correctly for your location and climate.

Some people wonder if a south-facing roof is a must. South-facing is best, but east- and west-facing roofs work well too. North-facing roofs aren't really worth installing solar panels.

Does your roof have to be new? Solar panels can last for 25 years or longer. So, while your roof doesn't need to be brand new, it should be in good shape before installing panels on top of it.

What types of roofs can support solar panels? Most popular types of roofing (such as vinyl membrane, concrete/clay tile and asphalt) work great, but wood shake roofs present too many challenges to make a good surface. Also, if your roof isn't ideal, it's also possible to mount panels on a ground-mount racking system instead.

The last thing to think about is obstructions. Shade on even small portions of a solar panel can dramatically reduce its output. Make sure there isn't too much shade on your roof from buildings or trees.

Remember, a reputable solar installation company will offer you a free assessment and estimate so you'll know for sure whether solar is right for your home.