Lightforce solar articles

Is My Roof Suitable for Solar Panels?

by: Lightforce Solar
15 March 2024
Compatibility is key when it comes to solar panel roof installation. Use this blog post to determine whether solar panels are suitable for your home. continue reading below...

Interested in solar for your home or business?

An increasing number of New Zealand homeowners are investing in solar energy for their homes. If you’re contemplating making the switch, the first question you need to ask yourself is, “Is my roof suitable for solar panels?” This guide covers the key factors determining rooftop solar suitability, from the size and orientation of your roof to its materials.

Factors Affecting Solar Panel Suitability

Here are some key considerations to maximise your NZ solar panel investment.

Roof Type and Size

Knowing your roof type is crucial before considering solar panel installation. Most modern roof materials, such as asphalt shingles, gravel, and metal, can accommodate solar panel installations. Solar panels are easiest to install on metal roofing. This doesn’t mean that solar panels can’t be installed on other roof types but additional time and fixtures may be required.

The available area of your roof is also important. Adequate space is necessary to house the number of solar panels required to meet your energy needs.

Roof Orientation and Pitch

Your roof orientation determines how much sunlight your solar panels will receive. Solar panels in New Zealand get the most sunlight when positioned on a north-facing roof. However, placing them on an east or west will still produce substantial power.

The pitch of the roof is also factor, with a pitch of 30˚ to 40˚ being the most effective. For flat roofs or those with a low pitch solar panels can be raised so they are installed at the optimum angle.

Shade Assessment

Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity, so any shade on your roof can reduce how much power they make. Trees, nearby buildings, or chimneys can block sunlight and lower the energy your solar panels produce. The more direct sunlight your roof gets, the better for solar panel installation. However, if your roof is partially shaded, it doesn’t automatically mean solar is no longer suitable for you. New technologies like microinverters and DC optimisers can solve this and improve your system’s solar energy production under shading.

Roof Condition

If your roof is old or in bad shape, it might not be strong enough for solar panels. We recommend fixing any issues or replacing the roof before solar installation. Roof experts may advise you to replace the materials to ensure adequate support for a proper solar installation.

Local Regulations

Generally, most councils in New Zealand do not require consent applications for solar panel installations as they are considered energy work. However, there are exceptions. For instance, installations on heritage-listed buildings may require resource consent, and special interest zones may also have specific requirements. It’s important to check with the local council to ensure compliance with local requirements or regulations, as adding solar panels may affect height-to-boundary restrictions or be subject to specific planning regulations.

solar panel installation on a residential roof

Why Get a Professional Roof Inspection?

We recommend undergoing a professional inspection to review your roof’s current condition. A professional will assess whether your roof can support the additional weight of solar panels, ensuring the safety and longevity of both the roof and the solar panel system. They will reveal if any repairs or maintenance are needed on your roof before installation. A professional inspection also ensures that the installation will meet local building codes and safety standards, which is critical for both the functionality and legality of the solar panel system.

How Does the Installation Process Work?

The solar panel installation process involves a few key steps for a smooth and efficient setup. First, our solar consultants will assess your needs and ascertain if solar energy is a suitable option for your property. Consultations can be conducted in person or online for your convenience.

Our team can check your roof’s structural integrity by visiting your home; we’ll evaluate its condition, orientation, and shading. If your roof is eligible for solar installation, we can begin the design and planning stage. The Lightforce Solar team will work closely with you to design a system that maximises your investment and lowers your carbon footprint.

Is it Worth it?

If your roof is suitable for solar panels, investing in solar energy is absolutely worth the investment. With advancements in technology, solar panels have become more efficient and cost-effective. They can reduce your energy bills, lower your carbon footprint due to being clean and renewable, and increase your home value. Solar panels are also relatively easy to maintain, making them cost-effective in the long run.

Start Your Solar Journey with Lightforce Solar

Lightforce Solar understands that every household is unique and has different energy requirements. Our team can help you navigate through your options. A consultant will talk to you about your residential solar needs to find the best solution.

Our team will also review your roof’s eligibility before the design process. We use LiDAR software to check your roof’s pitch, sun direction, intensity, and shading, ensuring we take the best approach for your solar panel installation. Ready to start? Contact us today to find out how much you can save with solar.

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