Solar Tribune

Is My House a Good Fit for Solar?

Not everyone is a good candidate for solar. Learn if you house is a good fit for a solar energy system.

Roof Orientation

To generate most electricity, the location of solar panels should be such that the maximum amount of solar radiation reaches them. In the northern hemisphere, the optimum solar panel location is a south-facing roof. West facing orientations are also suitable for solar installation–as these systems produce energy later in the day when electricity is generally more expensive.

solar panel orientation

For best performance, you need around 100 square ft of unshaded sroof space for every kilowatt of electricity. The amount of solar radiation will be less if your roof faces SE or SW.

Try to avoid mounting PV panels in areas that receive shade from trees, electrical cables, buildings, chimneys, vents or any other source. Remember that shading in an area can change from summer to winter as the sun’s path changes. An installation professional can estimate the shading your system will receive.

Roof Condition & Shading

The condition of your roof is important, too. Ensure the roof can hold the weight of the system (about 3-5lb per square foot) and that the roofing material will last as long as the PV system (25-30 years). If your roof is in poor condition, you may be a good candidate for solar roofing.

Electric Bill

Typically, a solar system will only make financial sense if you pay more than $100 per month for electricity.

Home Ownership

A solar system can only be installed if you own your home.