Well, assuming that you have already determined how much power your system will produce, and know what type of panels you are using and how many, the next step is to decide where on your property you will place them. You can mount solar panels on your rooftop, on a nearby outbuilding such as a garage or shed, or on the ground.
Here are the top five things to think about when choosing a spot for your solar panels:
- Sun access. Orientation (the direction the panel faces), roof angle and shading all affect how much sunlight will hit your panels. Ideally, you’ll want to choose the spot that gets the greatest amount of direct sun throughout the year.
- Physical structure. Solar panels must be anchored to the ground or a building. This requires the installer to select appropriate racking and mounting systems. It also requires that the building or area chosen for the panels be capable of providing suitable support. If the underlying structure needs a great deal of preparation or repair in order to install panels safely, an alternative spot might be preferable. For instance, if the trusses on your roof are not strong enough to bear the extra weight of panels, mounting your panels on the ground may be more cost effective than extensive roof repair.
- Aesthetics. As solar panels become more commonplace, we’re hearing fewer objections about the way they look. Many people think they look pretty cool! However, you might not want your panels to be the focal point of your yard. If you have a choice between two good potential mounting spots, consider choosing the one where the solar panels will blend in the best.
- Maintenance. In most areas, your panels will need minimal maintenance. However, if you live where it snows a lot in the winter, you may want to place your panels where snow can be cleared from them easily.
- Future expansion. Do you think you might want to increase your solar power capacity in the future? Then it makes sense to locate your panels where there’s room to add a few more, if you can.
Sometimes, finding the perfect place to mount your panels is easy. At other times, you might have to weigh the pros and cons, or even make a few compromises. It all depends on your site and your personal preferences.
If you’re having trouble deciding where your panels should go, it can help to consult with someone who’s done it before. We’ve installed hundreds of solar energy systems in Maryland, DC and surrounding states, and we don’t charge to talk! For more information or a free solar quote, just fill out the form at right and one of our experts will be in touch.