Is my roof suitable for PV solar panels?

We all live in boxes. Some people’s boxes are bigger than others, but ultimately, it’s a box that contains our lives.

Most UK homes have the two main ingredients for PV solar panels.

Most UK homes have the two main ingredients for PV solar panels.

Now let’s power our boxes without full dependence on global politics with PV solar panels.

The most important factor concerning your roof’s ability to host solar panels is orientation.

For the best performance of your PV solar panels (photovoltaic), your roof needs to be South or South East, South West in its orientation.

Many also install on a split East/West roof, and although this is acceptable, the output of the panels will be significantly reduced compared to southerly facing roof space.

North facing roof is unsuitable.

If you have a tall chimney or other possible shading issues as the sun travels from the eastern to western skies – then all isn’t lost. Today, there are significant panel and inverter combinations that help offset the performance loss that some shading issues can cause.

A good installer will technically assess your home before giving you a quotation and not give you a long-winded sales pitch.

Once you have your home’s orientation confirmed stress testing at BRE has been vigorous throughout recent years and gave peace of mind to those who adopt this technology.

Weather-resistant roof anchors steadfastly retain your array to your roof’s batons. Strengthened self-tapping bolts to reinforce the fixing points and ironically, the panels themselves are very lightweight, so contrary to popular belief, it’s not the weight that is an issue.

Once the retaining roof anchors are installed, your original roof tiles or slates remain in their unique position. The anchors protrude out from underneath the tiles/slate in situ.

Once in position, the lightweight aluminium rails are screwed into place, and these locate the panels and give an ultra-neat finished look. This work is done by installers within a day or two, depending on the system size. Connecting wires are routed down through the roof and into your attic space where the central inverter converts the panels electricity to a usable current.

Although the most common type of PV solar panel in the UK are Monocrystalline, different installers use their preferred panel manufacturer, so the panel sizes vary across the industry. As a rough guide, individual panels are generally of a similar size to a flat-screen TV.

The increase in PV solar panels across the UK has brought many installation companies into the industry – like most other industries, many are good, but some are not so. That’s why it’s imperative and just as essential to research and find a good installer as it is to select a suitable panel type.

Interestingly, this fact will make you sound PV smart. Photovoltaic solar panels perform more efficiently when cooler than hotter. This is why they are ideal for the UK climate – just ask the Germans with a similar climate.

Intriguingly, contrary to popular belief, the magic occurs, not within the panels themselves, but the inverter box. The inverter is the keystone component in the system and installing a good inverter will give you peace of mind during the system’s long 30+ year lifespan.

Research, research, research and you’ll get a good kit at a reasonable price by a good installer, and you’ll reap the benefits of the world around your box get crazier and crazier.

"Light is life."

Stuart Lovatt 2015-11-05
Founder of Power My Home.