Important Questions for Your Solar Installer

Investing in a solar system for your home or business is a great way to save on energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Not sure your property is suitable? Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering whether you’re a good candidate for solar.

  1. Will I Need to Replace My Roof? 

When conducting a thorough review of your home, our experienced site analyst will assess the condition of your roof to determine if replacement is necessary. It’s important to make sure the shingles can withstand the force of a solar installation. Roof shingles tend to show significant wear, particularly on the south side of the house where sun exposure is the highest. Prolonged exposure to sunlight will dry out the shingles, causing them to crack. As a rule of thumb, if your roof is over fifteen years old, you should plan to replace it beforehand. If you do not, you risk having to pay for a removal/re-installation of the panels at a later time.  

  1. What is the Ideal Roof Type and Orientation? 

An experienced solar company can install on almost any roofing material. The most common type being architectural asphalt shingles. Another suitable option are cedar shake shingles, however it is preferred that these be new or nearly new prior to installation. Over time, cedar shake becomes quite brittle and the risk of cracking increases. Asphalt shingles are a bit more forgiving, but will also dry out and crack over time. Standing seam metal roofs are durable and long-lasting, but may require your installer to double up the attachments when securing the panels in place. A less popular material is rubber, since rubber roofs typically have a very slight pitch, the chance for water to pool and cause leaks increases. For this reason, some roofers may suggest adding a layer of ice and water shield underneath.  

The ideal roof orientation is due south (180° True), though anything within 45 degrees of south will perform well. For roofs within this range, slopes in the range of 30-45° will perform best. In the event the house has roof slopes that face more east-west, a shallower pitch (14-22°) will help mitigate the loss due to orientation. 

  1. Will I Need to Remove Trees?

At E2 Solar we prioritize maximizing efficiency while minimizing disturbance to vegetation whenever possible. We take the time to analyze which trees are creating shade on your roof and make appropriate recommendations to increase sun access while preserving the natural landscape. If needed, we can offer a no-cut shade analysis and a with-cut shade analysis, so homeowners can make an informed decision based on their energy needs. Oftentimes it’s as straightforward as cutting back a few branches. Other times, homeowners have to accept that their property is not conducive to solar unless they remove trees. 

  1. Will Solar Affect My Home’s Resale Value? 

Rising electricity costs coupled with renewable energy initiatives across Massachusetts have led to an increased demand for solar. The long term savings that come from solar panels is a compelling factor for potential homebuyers. The popular real estate website Zillow conducted research showing solar panels can increase a home’s value by about 4%. For a $500,000 home that’s an increase of $20,000! As the seller it’s important to make sure the system is in good working condition to maximize lifespan and energy-generating ability, therefore increasing the property value.