Solar Panel Placement: Where To Install Solar Panels
September 21, 2021
If you’re going solar, solar panel placement is probably on your mind. After all, knowing where to install solar panels is key to getting the most use out of them!
Before it’s time to install, you’ll need to consider three main factors:
- The geographic location of your house
- The direction your roof faces
- The size of your panels
Here are some tips from Freedom Solar to help you decide.
Solar Panel Placement Options
In terms of solar panel placement, you have three options: roof, ground and south-facing wall.
Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof
People most commonly install solar panels on roofs. But what many folks fail to consider is that you can install solar panels on more than just the roof of your home or business. In fact, you can install them on any roof on your property.
For example, you can easily mount solar panels on the roof of your garage or a detached building, like a shed. Installing your solar panel system on a different structure on your property makes sense if your home’s roof isn’t big enough for them, or if the other structure has more direct sun exposure.
South-facing roofs are the most viable option for solar panel installations because they help produce the most energy. However, southeast- and southwest-facing roofs typically work as well.
Whichever structure you choose, the primary benefit of roof installation is that your panels are out of the way. Solar panels can also protect your roof from harsh weather (like hail, heavy rain, snow, abrasive debris from wind and more). Plus, they can block the sun from hitting the roof, which keeps your house cooler.
However, if your roof isn’t south-facing or is too tree-shaded, a roof may not be the best choice for your home solar panel installation. Some homeowners may choose to skip roof installation because they don’t want to compromise their roof’s aesthetic. Fortunately, you have options to help create a seamless and attractive design, such as SunPower’s OneRoof.
[Related: What Is the Best Roof for Solar Panels?]
Installing Solar Panels on the Ground
Installing solar panels on the ground is another great option to consider, especially if your home or business doesn’t have an ideal roof for solar panel installation.
Major benefits of ground installation include easier and safer installation and maintenance because you can reach the panels without climbing onto the roof. This isn’t a concern for professionals, but you may like being able to easily spray your solar panels yourself without grabbing a ladder or calling in help.
Ground solar panel systems often feature better efficiency because the space beneath them allows for airflow, which helps keep the panels cool. And unlike with a roof, you can expand your system on the ground. A roof has only so much give, but a ground system affords you more space to add panels in the future.
The primary drawback of installing solar panels on the ground is that they take up space on your property. If you go this route, consider where they’ll be least in the way.
For example, some people install solar panels in their front yard rather than the back so that they don’t eat into activity space. This is also a great option if you want to show off your panels — they’ll be visible from the street.
[Related: Guide to Ground-Mounted Solar Panels]
Installing Solar Panels on a South-Facing Wall
If you don’t have a south-facing roof, or if you’d like to keep the solar panel system off the ground, then installing them on a south-facing wall might be the way to go.
You must use a south-facing wall so that your panels can reach their full solar power potential. This includes excess power generation that will store in your battery as reserves and qualify for net metering credits.
Some homeowners enjoy the fact that wall-mounted systems leave both their roofs and lawns exposed and untouched. And that’s definitely a perk if you love your home’s design elements and don’t want to change them.
But it’s usually sheer luck to have a south-facing wall with no windows, doors or decorative obstructions, which can leave little room for solar panels. Plus, wall-mounted systems produce less energy on average than roof or ground panels because they’re at a 90-degree pitch. They’ll produce the most energy at the very end of the day, when the sun is low and its rays aren’t as intense.
[Related: Guide to Wall-Mounted Solar Panels]
Where Is the Best Place To Install Solar Panels?
All solar panel installations are a little different. Depending on your preferences and your home’s style and orientation, some places might be better than others for an install.
Here are some of the pros and cons of each solar panel placement location.
Roof installation makes the most sense if these things are true:
- Your roof is south-facing and gets enough sun exposure.
- No buildings or trees create shade on your roof.
- You don’t want to take up vacant space on your property.
- You want to protect your roof from harsh weather conditions.
- You want to keep your house cooler.
Ground installation makes the most sense if these things are true:
- You want easy access to your panels for maintenance and cleaning.
- You don’t want to cover or obstruct your roof’s design elements.
- You don’t mind solar panels taking up yard space.
- You want your panels visible from the front yard.
- You want the option to expand your system later.
South-facing wall installation makes the most sense if these things are true:
- You don’t want your roof covered, but you want the panels attached to your home.
- You have a wall that faces true south with no obstructions (like windows and doors).
- Your home doesn’t need large amounts of energy to power.
- You live in north latitudes, where the sun stays south and low in the sky.
[Related: Solar for Senior Living]
Go Solar With Freedom Solar
If you’re thinking about getting (or already have) solar panels and are unsure about where to install them, one of the best steps is to consult a professional. Freedom Solar can send a specialist to your home to assess the best solar panel placement for you.
For more information about Freedom Solar, our SunPower solar panels or our installation process, get in touch! Call (877) 281-6197 or complete our online inquiry form to begin your free initial consultation.