Where Is The Right Place To Install Solar Panels?

Finding the right location on your property is one of the most basic aspects of a residential solar panel system install. If you want to maximize the output of a set of panels, you need to ensure they'll get the most sunlight possible. More importantly, you want to keep the panels in a spot where they can deliver consistent output.

How do you determine the best place for a residential solar panel install? Contractors usually make the following four recommendations.

South-Facing Locations

Anyone installing panels in the northern hemisphere will want their solar setup pointing as directly at true south as possible. Bear in mind that magnetic south on a compass isn't true south, but a compass will at least point you roughly in the right direction. Ideally, your property has an open space facing directly south where a residential solar panel can soak up lots of light throughout the year.

Mounting to Structures

One of the most common choices is to perform a residential solar panel system install on a home's roof. This is an unused surface that's also flat so there's little to no sacrifice involved with the installation. Even in snowy regions, an aggressively sloped roof should provide enough of a grade to keep the panels clear.

Not all roofs are in great locations, though. A common alternative is the top of a large porch or the side of a deck. These generally don't offer as much surface area as the home's roof, but they're often better positioned if the roof doesn't allow you to point the solar panel to the south. Garage and shed roofs are also good places for panels.

Installing arrays in yards is becoming a more popular choice. If you have a large and open yard, you can configure motorized arrays to track the sun throughout the day and maximize output. People are also starting to create mixed-use spaces, such as gardens with shade-loving plants underneath the solar panels.

Distance to the House

You don't want the panels to be extremely far from the house. Even if you use the highest-quality lines, there will be some loss if you have to run the lines hundreds of feet.

Beware of Shade

Surrounding sources of shade can spoil an otherwise excellent location. Your property might receive shade from tall trees, neighboring houses, or nearby hills. In extreme cases, people may trim or remove trees on their properties to maximize solar performance. However, it's often cheaper and simpler to choose a slightly less optimal spot.

Contact a company like Merrimack Solar - Affiliate of SunRun to learn more.