If you have you been wondering whether or not you can install solar panels on your house, there are several factors to consider. Things like the direction that your roof faces and the placement of trees in your yard can make a difference. You will also need to know whether or not you want your electrical system tied to the local utility grid. Here’s a short list of some of the things you will need to consider.
The most important issue is whether your system will be grid tied or off grid. Grid tied means that your electric system will be hooked up to the local electric utility company. You solar panels will generate electricity that can run your appliances as long as the sun is shining on your solar panels. At night and during weather when the sun isn’t out, your appliances will run on utility company electricity.
An off grid system runs independently and is not hooked up to a utility company. They are more common in rural areas where utility poles are distant and hookups are extremely expensive. Off grid systems use batteries (similar to car batteries) to store excess electricity, and usually have back up generators for emergency situations. Appliances run off the solar panels during the day, and the batteries or generator during the night or during inclement weather.
For both grid tied and off grid systems, the roof pitch, direction it faces, and nearby objects that cast shade are all factors affecting where you can place solar panels. They need access to direct sunlight for as much of the day as possible for optimal efficiency. Large trees that shade the roof as well as taller buildings that might block the sun need to be taken into consideration. Since each house has a different combination of these factors, each house must be individually evaluated. Accurate measurements and surveys, as well as a site inspection by a knowledgeable installer will produce the necessary information for the best solar panel configuration for your house.