So you’re thinking of having solar panels installed at your property?
Great choice 😎
In this article, we will be talking about one of the least understood (but equally important) factors of how solar can help decrease your electricity bills.
So without further adieu, here’s how your roof affects your solar energy system – with some bonus to assist you.
Let’s start off with the most basic aspect: the material your roof is constructed with (yes – it does affect your solar panels!).
Most residential roofs in Australia are constructed out of tin or tile. Tin, or colourbond, are relatively straight forward to install on, with regular baton screws available to be used as anchor points for the installation of your solar panels. They are also easy to drill through, which is another added bonus. Generally speaking, having a tin roof is the cheapest to install a solar system on. Tile, on the other hand, poses a few problems which can often add extra costs. When installing solar panels on a tile roof, there is potential for cracking or breaking of the tiles from walking or drilling into the tiles. A good installer (like our installation teams here at GEM Energy) will ensure that you have some extra tiles on hand to replace any broken tiles. Other common occurrences is that the extra cost of this risk is built into your installation quote, or that you will need to pay for the tiles to be replaced by a roofer at extra cost to you after the installation. Other materials such as clay tiles, metals and rubber are also suitable, and should not pose any issues.
The next factor for consideration is the pitch of your roof. In layman’s terms, the pitch is the angle of your roof. Different angles affect the performance of your solar panels. The best way to maximize the efficiency of your solar panels is to have an inclined angle of approximately 10 degrees above horizontal to prevent rain and other dirt from accumulating. Of course, you can’t really change the angle of your roof, but there can be an option to include tilts in the mounting of your panels. But no matter what angle your current roof is, our professional solar technicians will be able to calculate the best configuration to maximise your output and return on your investment prior to installation.
Solar panels are relatively light, but with the average system size increasing to 6+kW, 20+ panels can certainly combine to have a significant weight factor, so it is crucial for solar technicians to assess your roof prior to installation. Some roofs may not be strong enough for solar panels. In this case, additional frame structure may be necessary before installation.
Different locations are also subjected to different wind loads, for example houses close to the sea tend to experience higher levels of wind loads. The angle of the roof again plays a part in this. The design of the solar mounting system will be determined by the uplift forces of the wind.
Attachment or mounting of the solar panels can be achieved quickly by using standard roofing screws if all is well with your roof, including the material of your roof. Also check and see if there are parapets on your roof. Although parapets are able to help reduce wind load on your roof, they may be increase shading which will impact the efficiency of your solar panels.
Roof access is another important aspect. Our technicians need to be able to have easy and safe access to your roof in order to do work on it. This includes access to your roof cavity, as well as getting onto the roof safely. Most residential houses in Australia are one or two storeys high, and this makes it easier to work on them. Professionals are able to install your solar panels without much risk or need for further safety precautions that come along with working at heights.
This is just a basic guide to provide you with some insights into how factors that aren’t commonly understood, such as roof type and pitch, can affect your potential or performance of solar energy. If you’d like to get a custom assessment of your home for a solar energy system, simply visit our Get a Quote page or call us today on 1300 969 471.