How To Make Your Home Solar Ready
Factors to Consider When Installing Solar on a New Home
While we think it makes the most sense to consider solar in the context of a new home that is also energy-efficient, we have plenty of experience integrating solar with conventionally built homes as well.
The primary factors to consider when installing solar for a new home:
- South-facing roof – Probably the most important attribute for new construction is that a home be built with an adequate south-facing roof. The roof does not need to face perfect (195°) solar south, +/- 90 degrees is still viable for solar). A roof pitch between 5 – 12 is ideal. Lower sloped roofs bias towards summer production, higher roofs bias towards winter. Roof features such as dormers, vent pipes, chimneys, and other roof mounted utilities interrupt the roof-span and make it more difficult to install solar arrays.
- Shade-free site – The south-facing roof space should be located in a shade-free area of the site. Ideally there will be a clear solar window from 9am-3pm, year round, to maximize solar performance. ReVision Energy solar technicians can provide a shade analysis using the SunEye™ site assessment tool during a complimentary solar evaluation.
- Access to utility room – A solar array will require a pipe run and/or a wire run depending on system configuration. New construction is an ideal time to integrate pipe or wire runs within the home’s frame.
- Obstructions such as vent pipes and chimneys should be avoided on the solar roof. If they are present they should be held towards the ridge and/or to one end of the roof. Place them as far away from south as possible.
- Avoid dormers on the south-facing roof as much as possible.
- Asphalt shingle and standing seam metal roofs are ideal choices when installing a solar system. Avoid metal shingles, cedar shingles, and exposed fastener metal roofs whenever possible.
- As far as wiring is concerned, if you want to prep for solar but not install solar as part of the initial construction, run two EMT conduits from the utility room to your attic to later connect to your solar panels. A 1″ diameter and 3/4″ diameter EMT should be sufficient. If you have us install solar on your new building, this is part of our normal scope of work. We can always retrofit but it’s a little easier to put the pipe in while the walls are already opened up.
- Roof load – Generally speaking a code-built roof will be sufficient to carry the additional load of solar panels. There is the snow factor; a reasonably pitched roof sheds snow pretty readily.