How To Tell If Your Roof Is Right For Solar Panels

Are you thinking about installing solar panels to harvest energy from sunlight and pay less for power? If so, it’s important to know that in order to maximize the production of the solar energy system, the solar panels must be installed in the best and optimal location.

Is your house a good candidate for solar? Consider these tips

The rooftop of any building is the most suitable place for installing solar panels. It goes without saying that solar panels require maximum sunlight, but large rooftops facing south are the best to go solar. This is because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so a south-facing roof will receive sunlight throughout the entire day, as opposed to just morning or afternoon sun.

However, when roof placement is not possible, solar panels can also be installed on the ground, where land space is available. Here are some examples…


View of dual ground-mounts, part of a solar power system in Florence, SC designed & installed by Southern Current.

Even with the best location for installing solar panels, there are other conditions that must be taken into consideration to determine if your roof is suitable for solar.

Is Your Climate Suitable For Solar?

Solar panels require sunlight. So what if you live in a city that’s not sunny year round? It is interesting that most of the United States is far from being as sunny as California or Hawaii, and still solar panels are installed all across America. This is because if you do not live in the most sunlit of places, you can still produce your own power with a solar energy system part of the time.

So while a sunny climate is the perfect condition for solar energy generation, living where there is not a lot of sunshine should not deter you from considering solar energy as an option for your home.

After all, producing some amount of your own power is better than none at all. And every kilowatt-hour that you produce from solar is a kilowatt-hour that doesn’t have to be burned from a dirty power plant!

Is Your Roof Solar Ready?

There are a few factors to consider when thinking about solar panel placement on your roof:

Pitch Angle, Direction, Shape And Size Of Your Roof

The best position for solar panels is towards the south, but even west and east facing roofs can accommodate solar. A 30-degree angle is suitable for the best year-round solar production, but anywhere from 15 to 40 degrees can be great as well. Even panels installed on flat roofs can produce a decent amount of energy, as long as the sun is shining bright high up in the sky.

Aerial view of a Southern Current home solar panel install in Summerville, South Carolina.

Large roofs are great for solar panels, and generally the larger the roof the more room is available for solar placement. However, you should keep in mind that skylights, dormers and pipes can affect overall available space available for a solar installation.

Age Of Your Roof

Most solar panels carry a guaranteed lifetime of power production for 25 years, and recent studies have shown that solar panels continue producing power after 40 years. If your roof is old, it can create a problem, as having to remove and reinstall panels from a roof that needs to be replaced because of age is going to eat into the cost savings delivered by solar.

So consider having an older roof replaced before you go solar. Many installers have roofing backgrounds, and may be able to replace your roof or refer you to another company that can manage a roof replacement during the solar install.

Shading On The Roof

If your roof is shaded by nearby buildings or trees, this can reduce your amount of sunlight absorption and thus solar energy production. It is therefore vital to remove all obstructions to the sunlight coming into contact with the solar panels.

Trimming tree limbs can be a good solution, and even though removing trees is far from being environmentally friendly, the environmental benefits derived by switching to fossil fuel power (from the grid) to solar power (from your solar panels) can outweigh the potential harm of removing a tree.

Related Reading: The Environmental Benefits Of Solar Power In South Carolina

Further, you could seek to replant trees somewhere else on your property should you remove any to maximize your solar production.

Request a FREE home solar consultation to learn more

Hopefully this article has helped to inform you of the factors to consider before installing solar panels on your roof. If you are ready to take the next step, reach out to a professional solar installer and get an expert recommendation for your home. Southern Current is proud to be one of the largest solar installers in South Carolina, with services available across the Southeast.

Contact Southern Current to learn about $0 Down solar financing options and how you can save on your monthly power costs with solar panels installed on your roof.