Guest Post by Craig Glover
It’s time to think & plan for the future.
Specifically, thinking about solar.. . If you’ve been considering solar panels to reduce your energy bills, now is the perfect time to make sure your new roof is ready for solar.
I’s critical to consider whether it can support the weight of solar panels for the next 25 years or more.
You want a roof that’s built for longevity and able to handle the elements, but also strong enough to hold several hundred kilograms of photovoltaic panels and the racking equipment that secures them in place.
As you review quotes from roofing contractors, ask about the options for beefing up your new roof to make it solar-compatible (if required).
A few small investments now could save you thousands of dollars down the road if you do decide to go solar.
Follow these tips to ensure your roof is solar-ready so you’ll be all set to take full advantage of the sun’s power for your home. The planet and your wallet will thank you.
Metal vs. Tiled Roofs – Choosing the Best Roof for Solar Panels
If you’re building a new home, you’ll have to decide between a metal or tile roof.
For solar panel compatibility, metal roofs have the upper hand.
Metal roofs, like steel or aluminium, can also reflect sunlight, reducing heat gain in your attic by up to 25 percent.
This means lower cooling costs and a more energy efficient home.
Metal roofs are also lightweight, durable, and low maintenance.
They won’t crack or break under the weight of solar panels like some tile or shingle roofs might.
Metal roofs can last 40-70 years, outlasting most solar panel warranties.
Tile roofs, on the other hand, absorb and retain heat, increasing your attic temperature and energy usage.
The weight and brittle nature of tiles also make them more prone to damage during installation of solar panels.
If a tile cracks or breaks, it can be difficult to find a matching replacement.
Tile roofs typically only last 20-50 years, so you’ll likely need full roof replacement before your solar panels reach the end of their lifespan.
If solar panels are in your plans, a metal roof is the practical and economical choice.
You’ll maximise energy efficiency, minimise costs, and ensure maximum compatibility for current and future solar installations.
Why not build an eco-friendly home from the top down? A metal roof and solar panels are a winning combination.
Designing Your New Roof for Optimal Solar Panel Installation
If you’re building a new home, you have a perfect opportunity to design a roof that’s optimised for solar panels. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Choose a Roof Style that Maximises Solar Exposure
The best roofs for solar panels are large and unshaded.
Gable or hip roofs are ideal, as they provide the most roof space facing the sun.
Metal roofs with standing seams also work great for installing solar panels.
These roof styles score highly on solar receptivity charts, harnessing 22-47% of available sunlight.
If you’ve done some research on solar panel placement previously, you would have most likely come across mentions of south facing panels being the best.
But this isn’t as important as it’s made out to be.
For example, west facing solar panels here in Australia provide power in the afternoon & early evenings, which is when most people are at home consuming energy.
Ensure Proper Roof Orientation
Aim for a roof with the largest sections facing within 45 degrees of due North.
This orientation allows for the most sunlight exposure, especially during peak sun hours in the middle of the day when solar panels operate most efficiently.
But remember, the worst panel orientation in Australia is still better than the best panel orientation in the UK.
Provide Enough Roof Space
Most homeowners need at least 20 to 50 m2 of roof space for a typical residential solar panel system.
The more space you have, the more panels you can install and the more energy you can generate. If possible, choose a roofline free of vents, skylights, and other obstructions that could shade panels or take up valuable space.
Consider Panel Attachment Methods
Discuss your options for attaching solar panels to your new roof with contractors.
Mounting systems that clamp panels flush to the roof typically require roof penetrations, while rail-mounted systems attach at the seams and minimise penetrations.
The best method for your home depends on your roof type and warranty.
With some advanced planning, you can have a new roof that’s tailor-made for solar panels.
Why not harness the sun’s power for energy independence in your new home?
The long-term savings will make the investment worthwhile.
Questions to Ask Your Roofer About Adding Solar Panels
Adding solar panels to your roof is an excellent choice for lowering your energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint.
As experts in metal and tiled roofs, here are some key questions to ask your roofer to ensure a seamless installation:
- What type of solar panel mounting system do you recommend for my roof? Ask about both attachment methods and their impact on roof warranties.
- Will my roof need any modifications to accommodate the solar panels? Many roofers offer flashing and other services to properly integrate panels.
- How will you waterproof the roof penetrations where the panels and racking attach? Make sure the waterproofing method meets manufacturer specifications.
- DIf you live at high altitude climate you live in – How will snow and ice buildup be managed around the panels? Some racking systems include features to aid with snow sliding off panels.
- What is the expected lifespan of my roof with solar panels installed? Most roof-integrated solar systems should last the life of a new roof with proper installation and maintenance.
- How will you address potential shading issues from nearby trees or structures? Your roofer may suggest panel placement and angles to maximise the sunlight exposure.
Asking these questions upfront will help ensure your new roof and solar system provide you with clean, reliable solar energy for many years to come.
Installing solar as part of your new home construction also takes advantage of economy of scale benefits to help lower the overall cost.
So there you have it, the key things to keep in mind if you’re thinking of going solar with your home’s new roof.
Make sure you choose a roofing material and slope that will maximise energy production.
Get multiple quotes from reputable installers and compare. And don’t forget about tax incentives and rebates that can help offset the costs.
Going solar is an investment in your home and the environment that can pay off for decades.
While it may require some upfront financial outlay, you’ll be generating your own power and reducing your grid dependence.
That feeling of self-sufficiency is priceless.
The sun is shining – are you ready to make the most of it?