Solar Power Assessment Tips: Is Your NY Home a Candidate?

Solar power is an increasingly popular way to power homes and businesses today. It provides clean, reliable energy whenever the sun is shining. If everyone converted to solar panels, imagine the energy savings and positive effect the change could have on global warming!

An important factor to consider when switching to solar is whether your property is a good candidate. Solar panels are most often installed on the roof to increase sun exposure and prevent taking up valuable land space. See what goes into a solar power assessment in NY to help you determine if your Rockland or Orange County home is a good candidate for solar.

Roof Orientation and Tilt

In the northern hemisphere, the sun always stays in the southern part of the sky. For the best sun exposure, your solar panels should be mounted on a south-facing roof. This way, as the sun travels across the sky, the solar panels absorb as much energy as possible. Southwest- and west-facing roofs are also acceptable but less ideal. Special mounts can improve the angle of solar panels installed somewhere other than a south-facing roof.

Solar panels should also be mounted at about a 40-degree tilt. If your roof pitch is close to this degree, great! If not, tilted mounts are available to aim your solar panels to more directly face the midday sun.

Roof Condition

During a solar power assessment in NY, technicians check the stability and overall condition of your roof. They won’t install solar panels unless they determine your roof is structurally sound and can support the added weight.

While it’s not a deal breaker, having a roof in poor condition could delay a solar installation and increase the project’s cost because you’ll need to have the roof replaced before you install solar panels.

Roof Surface Area

The size of your roof determines the number of panels you can install there. Keep in mind that each solar panel is about 5 feet by 3.3 feet. Any roof obstructions – such as furnace and water heater vents, chimneys, skylights or bathroom exhaust fans – could decrease the workable surface area of your roof. Solar installers typically look for at least a 300- to 400-square-foot area of unobstructed south-facing roof to install solar panels.

Shading

As you might imagine, solar panels don’t work as well if they’re partially shaded by surrounding structures or trees. The goal is to have full sun exposure from at least 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The less amount of shading that occurs at other parts of the day, the better.

If nearby trees shade your roof at midday, you may want to consider trimming branches back or removing the trees altogether. If this isn’t possible, you can consider a ground-mounted system if you have room on your property.

Easy Way to Check Your Roof

It’s hard to tell from the ground how many obstructions protrude through the roof or how much surrounding trees will overshadow the roof throughout the day. An easy way to check is to search for your address on Google Earth. Zoom in and examine your roof. You should be able to make out any obstructions on the south- or west-facing side of the roof. You can also double check tree and building locations near your home to assess whether they cast a shadow on your roof during the day.

Homeownership and Moving Factors

Aside from your property’s physical attributes, you also need to take your homeownership status into account. Solar panels are usually not allowed in rental situations. If you rent your home, consider speaking with your landlord about investing in solar panels for the property.

If you own your home, it’s up to you what improvements you wish to make on your own property. Of course, the investment is probably only worth it if you plan to stay at your current residence for many years to come. After all, you want to reap the rewards of a solar installation for a long time. If you do end up moving, your solar installer can work with you to either physically move the panels to your new home or transfer ownership to the homebuyer.

How to Know for Sure

While these guidelines give you an idea of whether your home is a good candidate for solar, the only way to know for sure is to have a solar power assessment in NY performed by a qualified installer. An onsite inspection clears up any doubts, allowing you to move forward with the solar design and installation process.

Contact a solar installer in Rockland and Orange County to schedule your solar power assessment in NY today!

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