There are various factors that determine if your home is a good candidate for a solar rooftop. If it doesn’t meet these criteria, you may be out of luck. “The best homes for rooftop solar are south-facing, flat roofs, without obstructions like chimneys or vents, and without blockages like trees or shade from neighboring homes,” says David Amster-Olszewski, founder and CEO of SunShare, one of the country’s first and largest community solar company in Denver, CO.
“There are many reasons a rooftop may be unsuitable for rooftop photovoltaic panels, for example, the pitch of the roof may not catch enough of the solar energy to make it viable.” It may also depend on where you live. “The location of the home within the country may factor in with flatter roofs in warmer climates with greater amounts of sunshine versus angled roofs in colder climates.” So why is this important? Amster-Olszewski explained location can affect how many hours of sunshine the home receives at different times of the year.
And since the panels need to be placed together, the size of your roof also matters. “If you have a small rooftop or one with limited space, putting solar on the roof is impractical,” said Andrew Carr at Harvest Power, a solar energy design and installation firm. And besides trees or shade from neighboring homes, there are other factors that can determine viability.
“Rooftops are heavily shaded by obstructions such as water towers, chimneys, elevator shafts, etc., won’t allow the solar to generate sufficient power to make the economics of the solar pay off,” Carr explained.
In addition, there are two additional factors to consider. “Roofing materials or strength of support could impact the suitability,” Amster-Olszewski said. “Frequency of hail should also be considered when taking maintenance into account.”