Constructing a Solar-Ready Home or Other Building

Any home or commercial building can be designed to fit a solar power system. Although these systems are usually retrofits, installations on new construction is growing in popularity. This means that more and more new buildings are solar ready, and solar-ready buildings have many features, including a pre-installed conduit for a photovoltaic (PV) system, enough space for solar panels, and a south facing roof with minimal shading. Building a solar-ready home or building also offers several advantages, such as;

  • The cost of the system can be added to the mortgage
  • Lowers the installation costs for the solar power system
  • Optimizes solar energy production

Even with these advantages, however, there are some major considerations for constructing a solar-ready home or commercial building:

Consider the Wall Space

To install a PV system, there must be enough wall space available in a home or other building’s mechanical room. This space must be allocated for a solar inverter, system monitoring hardware, and disconnects. Be sure to speak to your solar power provider about the amount of space that’s required to accommodate all three of these structures. This will ensure your building’s solar energy production can be properly monitored and recorded in the future.

Consider the Roof Type

The roof type and the direction it faces should always be a consideration when installing a solar power system. A roof with the optimal characteristics will provide the best conditions for solar energy production. The optimal characteristics, include:

  • A sloped roof made of asphalt or standing seam metal
  • A 45-degree pitch or 12:12 steep (a 7:12, 8:12 or 4:12 steep will suffice)
  • No obstructions, such as plumbing stacks, vents, flashing, dormers, or chimneys
  • Minimal shading with a south facing roof (a southwest, southeast, east or west facing roof will suffice)

If you know the basics of how to install solar panels, you know that there are some conditions you should avoid. For example, installing solar panels on a flat roof may require some structural changes, additional space for panel installation, and may come with an additional cost. It may also be more expensive to install solar panels on rubber tiles, composite, concrete, or corrugated metal roof types.

Consider the Conduit Requirements

For optimal solar production, your new building must have a continuous, easily accessible conduit. The conduit should be accessible from the roof or attic with its own wall space to house the electrical hardware. Speak to your solar installer about the type and size of conduit that’s best for your system and setup.

If you’re going to be building a new  home or business in the future, take into account the long-term savings that a solar power system can provide. Call us to learn more about what’s required for a solar-ready home or business.