The design of your home’s roof will play a significant role in determining how and where your solar system panels will be attached. First, the system designer must consider the sunlight exposure of your roof area, as it is crucial for panels to face either south, east, or west and be free from trees or structures that can block the sunlight. Also, your roof needs to have enough space to accommodate the panels. In a typical residential installation, 300 to 600 feet of surface space is needed.
Next, the type of roofing you have and its age are considered. If your home has an older roof, it is a good idea to go ahead and replace it before installing solar system panels, as the panels will outlast the roofing material and will need to be removed and replaced when it’s time for a new roof. Composite shingle roofing is ideal for solar installations, as they aren’t as fragile and can better withstand being drilled through to mount solar panels. Tile, concrete, and slate roofs can still accommodate a solar installation, but extra care and components will be needed to protect the integrity of the roofing.
There are three types of mounts that can be used to attach solar system panels to a home’s roof:
- Direct mounts attach panels directly to the roof. We don’t recommend this mount because it doesn't facilitate airflow under the panels, which is necessary to cool them.
- Integrated mounts attach panels to roof rafters. Roofing materials will have to be removed to do so. Because of this, this mount is best suited for new construction.
- Stand-off mounts, also known as rack mounts, are most commonly used for residential systems. The racks are attached to roof supports, and panels attached to them. They promote good airflow and can be set at the proper angle for maximum sunlight exposure.