Can You Put Solar Panels on a Garage Roof?
Sometimes it can be tricky to decide whether or not you want to install solar panels on your garage roof. Given that the price of electricity is constantly rising, the need for solar panels on the garage roof can be a good investment. The panels can be easily fitted to the surface of a garage roof, as long as it is suitable for its construction.
Also, when installing solar panels on your roof, you can connect them to the existing electrical network into which unused energy can be transferred to the grid, and you will be paid for that. On the other hand, you have an option where you can charge solar batteries, and that way, you’ll have an off-grid solar-powered garage.
So Can You Put Solar Panels on a Garage Roof? Solar panels can be installed on the garage roof if the roof’s slope is appropriate. Before installing solar panels on your roof it is important to check the orientation of your roof, elevation, planning permission, and the roof’s strength. Most detached garages can be used as a great source of solar power.
You can install solar panels on the roof of the garage yourself, or you can hire a professional. The cost of installing solar panels is approximately $30,000, while the installation process can be done in about 10 hours if you have experience in this field. Below we will explain why installing solar panels on the garage roof is a good decision and how you need to place them. Let’s start!
Is My Garage Roof Suitable For Solar Panels?
Before you decide to buy solar panels for your garage roof, you need to make sure that your roof can withstand such an additional load. In fact, there are not many requirements that need to be met in order to determine whether a garage roof meets the requirements for installation or not. Let’s go through a list of what makes a garage roof suitable for installing solar panels and why.
If you want to learn more, be sure to read The Pros and Cons Of Garage Door Opener.
Requirements for the installation process of solar panels on the garage roof:
|Placing solar panels on the roof:||Installation instructions:|
|1. Orientation Of The Roof||The roof of the garage should be facing south.|
|2. Elevation of The Panels||The elevation of solar panels should be 40 degrees.|
|3. Avoid Shade||Try to avoid shade when placing solar panels.|
|4. The Strength Of The Roof||The garage roof should be solid when installing the panels.|
|5. Planning Permission||In some countries, a planning premium is required.|
1. Orientation Of The Roof
To get the best out of solar panels, you need to face them to the sun as much as possible. This can be done by placing solar panels facing south. However, most PV panels can also be placed so that they are oriented to the west since they work on ‘light energy’, but in that case, they will not produce the same amount of energy as if they are oriented to the south.
Note! This instruction applies to readers that are located in the northern hemisphere. If you are located in the southern hemisphere, then it’s visa-versa!
Placing solar panels to face south will allow you to collect maximum solar energy. If you do not know which side of the world your garage’s roof is facing, be sure to use a compass or a mobile app to determine this.
2. Elevation of The Panels
The ideal roof elevation for installing solar panels is 40 degrees. That way, you can get the most exposure during the season. Elevation off 45 degrees is recommended for the spring months, while the elevation of 20 degrees is good for the summer. If you want to make sure that the elevation is always well set, be sure to place solar panels to a 40 degrees elevation.
Solar panels can also be installed on flat roofs or low pitched roofs. In such cases, brackets are used to ensure a suitable slope when installing the panels. Also, those who have a flat roof or a low-slope roof, and are willing to spend more money on solar panels, can install a system that automatically tracks the movement of the sun.
3. Avoid Shade
Since the basic principle of solar panels is to collect energy from the sun, they should not be shaded from the sun. However, solar panels can be obscured from direct sunlight by your or a neighbor’s house, chimney, or tree.
As the sun moves, certain parts of the roof can be shaded at different times of the day. If you are unsure if this is the case with you, it would be good to check it yourself at different times of the day. Or, better yet, use time-lapse video for that purpose. You probably know when your roof is in the shadows and when it isn’t and why that is the case. Pay attention to the trees near your house. If a tree obscures the solar panels, cut it down.
4. The Strength Of The Roof
The roof’s strength is one of the most important things to consider when installing solar panels. If you place them on a roof that cannot withstand their weight, the roof may sag, and damage your garage. Even though solar panels are not heavy, the weight adds up when they are placed in series or parallel, together with brackets and cables. Be sure to check how much weight your roof can withstand before you decide to install solar panels. If you do not have enough experience with this, be sure to hire a professional.
5. Planning Permission
In most cases, solar panel installations don’t require planning permission. However, this is not the case in the UK if you decide to install solar panels on a flat roof. Whether you will need a permit to install solar panels depends on your garage/home location. So check the laws in your state.
When you are unsure whether you need a permit, it is always best to check this with your local council. Most local government structures usually highlight this type of information on their websites.
We recommend you watch this video to see how this is done.
Check The Condition of Your Roof Before Installing Solar Panels
Your roof must be in good condition before installing solar panels on it. If you believe that you will have to change the roof construction in a few years, it is recommended that you do so before you start installing solar panels. The reason is simple – to change the roof construction, solar panels must be removed and then put back on the new roof. This is a very expensive undertaking! What exactly is the cost?
According to EnergySage, removing and reinstalling solar panels on a home costs between $1,500 and $6,000. Therefore, before installing solar panels on the roof of a house or garage, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the roof structurally sound?
- Can the roof hold the solar panels weight?
- When the roof was last replaced?
- When it is time to replace the roof again?
If you have any doubts about this topic, before buying solar panels, we recommend that you hire an expert who will tell you exactly whether your roof can withstand its weight.
Benefits Of Solar Panels On A Garage Roof
All over the world, homeowners are turning to solar energy as an alternative source of electricity. Solar energy is clean and far more efficient than other energy sources and is a great way to save on your household budget. All of this prompted me to install solar panels on my garage. The benefits of going solar are numerous. Let’s see below are the main reasons why it is recommended to switch to solar energy.
Lower Utility Bills
Since using solar panels as the main source of electricity in my home, my monthly electricity bills are reduced by 30% to 40%. Once you install solar panels on your roof, they start supplying your home or garage with electricity. Most often, all the electricity consumed in your household will first come from solar panels, although there are areas where this is not the case. For example, in Florida, homes remain in the grid of distributors even if their solar panels produce enough energy for the entire household’s needs.
But even if local regulations do not allow you to go off the grid, when you use only the electricity produced by solar panels, you will not have to pay the bills. It is often the case that solar panels set up in homes cannot produce enough electricity for all household needs. In that case, it’s a good idea to be connected to a distributor grid.
Going Off-Grid With Solar
Depending on where you live, there is a possibility that you can disconnect from your electricity distributor. However, this is possible only if you have enough solar panels on your roof. But how to provide electricity when it gets dark? This is where solar batteries come into play. Solar batteries (also known as backup batteries) can store electricity that is coming from solar panels so that your off-grid house has energy when it’s needed. Even on cloudy days and nights.
Keep in mind that if you decide to completely disconnect from the grid, this process will be very expensive and it will require a large number of solar panels and batteries. However, the savings that you can make can be huge, and at the same time, that investment can pay off over time.
Solar energy is renewable and clean energy that does not pollute water or air. However, some of the materials that are used for panels are toxic. There is only one disadvantage when it comes to solar panels, and that’s they use a lot of space. Near my house is a large solar farm that stretches over so many acres.
However, the problem of too much space is avoided as solar panels are usually installed on the existing building (in this case the garage roof). The garage roof is here to protect your car from bad weather and elements, so why not add solar panels to the roof to produce energy.
Regular Maintenance of Solar Panels On Garage Roof
Solar panels, as we have already pointed out, do not require a lot of maintenance. However, there are several things that you can do to maximize their durability and life span.
Clean Them Regularly
To make the most of your solar panels, make sure to clean them regularly so that there would be no dirt, dust, or pollen on them. However, you have to be very careful when it comes to cleaning because these are sensitive elements that can be easily damaged.
You will do a good job with water, mild soap, and a soft brush. However, you can also buy specialized solar panel cleaning kits at a low price. They guarantee that the cleaning will pass without damage.
Note! The lower the slope of your roof, the more often you will have to clean it.
You should regularly check if something is covering your solar panels. If you find some obstacles like trees, be sure to cut them down. If not, they will reduce the efficiency of the solar panels. These are most often branches of trees or debris that are simply found on the roof carried by the wind. Be sure to remove them.
Regular Inverter Service
Approximately every 12 months, you should hire an expert to check your inverter that converts solar energy into electrical energy for your house. This is a routine check functionality, but such a check should definitely be done by someone who specializes in solar panels.
If you have a garage door opener, this would be an interesting topic for you to read: How Much Power (kWh) Does a Garage Door Opener Use?
Solar energy is a great source of clean energy that can be used if your home garage is exposed to the sun. Also, keep in mind that solar panels that convert solar energy to electrical energy can significantly reduce your home energy bill as well. A garage is a good choice to install solar panels also if you think they would not spoil the look of your home. But you must know that this process is not as simple as it seems at first glance. I hope that this article has helped you.