Ready to jump on the solar bandwagon and give your electricity bills the old heave-ho? Installing solar panels could be just the way to go. Solar panels today serve both commercial and residential purposes, with most homeowners integrating them into their modern houses.
Even so, putting solar panels onto the roof of your modern house is commonplace, but can you put solar panels on a garage roof?
Let’s find out.
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Can you put solar panels on a garage roof
Yes, you can. If anything, installing solar panels is an ideal way to harness the sun’s energy and significantly cut down on your electricity bills, especially if your garage serves as a mini-workshop. But before you do so, it is essential to note that solar panels can be heavy, with standard ones weighing approximately 40 to 50 pounds. This makes it necessary to evaluate whether your roof’s structure is sound enough to bear the immense weight of solar panels before performing an installation.
Structural soundness is but one of the several factors to consider before installing solar panels on your garage roof.
Let’s explore more aspects to consider while at it to establish whether your garage roof is suitable for solar panel installation or if it needs some adjustments to fit the bill.
What to consider when installing solar panels in a garage roof
No doubt, installing solar panels graces you with a myriad of benefits. Ranging from minimizing your energy bills to reducing your carbon footprint, solar panels are a catch. However, you might not entirely reap these benefits without adequate preparation and thorough evaluation of your garage roof.
That said, here are a few ducks to get in a row when installing solar panels on your garage roof:
The structural integrity of your garage roof is of utmost importance when installing solar panels. For instance, an old garage roof that has experienced wear and tear over the years may not be strong enough to bear the weight of the panels.
Therefore, consider evaluating the structural soundness of your garage roof and establish whether you’ll need any additional equipment beforehand. You can check for wear and tear on the roof and ensure it is strong enough.
If in doubt, you could reach out to a professional to give you an inside scoop on whether or not your garage roof is up to the task and make adjustments where necessary.
2. Roof Orientation
Why get a one-way ticket to sunshine-ville when you could get a first-class trip? In this case, consider a south-facing roof the first-class trip because it can absorb maximum sunlight, generating more energy. North-facing roofs, on the other hand, may not be able to catch all the sun’s rays, which means less available energy for use.
This, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t install solar panels if you have a north-facing garage roof. You can still go for it, only that the solar system won’t generate as much electricity as a south-facing garage roof.
Otherwise, consider reaching out to a professional to help you navigate your specific situation if you have a north-facing roof. The same applies if you’re unsure of your garage roof’s orientation.
3. Angle of Elevation
Finding the correct elevation angle is like identifying the sweet spot for your solar panels. An optimal angle is neither too steep nor too flat but just right to absorb the most sunlight. The ideal solar panel installation angle is 40 degrees, but a 20-degree angle should work during the summer.
However, there’s no cause for alarm if your garage roof isn’t at the perfect angle. You can always call a professional installer to make adjustments by installing a rack system or adjusting the angle of the roof itself.
Alternatively, go for tracking systems rather than fixed ones. Tracking systems can monitor the sun’s position and automatically adjust the solar panels’ elevation angle to maximize the energy they receive. The only downside is that these systems can be expensive compared to fixed solar systems.
Enhancing your solar panels’ accessibility to sunlight is the ultimate way to get the most energy out of the system. Therefore, when installing solar panels, keep an eye out for shading from trees or buildings nearby that could block the sun’s rays from reaching the panels.
If possible, avoid installing panels where there’s too much shade that prevents them from accessing sunlight. Otherwise, consider pruning trees or trimming branches to minimize shading. Installing anti-reflective coatings on the panels could also reduce the impact of shades on the solar panels, in turn maximizing the energy output.
5. Local rules and regulations
Ensuring that your solar panel installation complies with your local rules and regulations is essential to avoid unexpected hitches down the line. These regulations include permits, zoning laws, and building codes, and they vary depending on your specific location.
Also among these regulations is that your solar panels should satisfy your utility company’s requirements and be connected to the grid. The best way to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law is by reaching out to a professional to establish whether your installation complies with all the regulations if you’re unsure about them.
Can you put solar panels on a metal roof
Wondering whether you can utilize the sun’s energy with a metal roof? The short answer is yes, you can! If anything, you’re at an advantage because metal roofs offer unmatched durability and are strong enough to withstand the weight of solar panels.
Other than strength and durability, here are more advantages that come with solar panel installation on metal roofs:
Metal roofing is popular for its reflectivity that surpasses that of traditional roofs. This aspect gives metal roofs an upper hand regarding solar panel compatibility. With a metal roof, solar panels have more sunlight at their disposal thanks to the roof’s ability to reflect sunlight.
Unlike traditional roofs, metal ones mainly comprise recyclable materials. Therefore, if you’re an environmentalist, this pro is a bonus because you can simultaneously minimize your carbon footprint while enhancing environmental sustainability.
After their installation, metal roofs require little to no maintenance from you. The same goes for solar panels because they are devoid of moving parts. This gives you an easy time once you perform your installation on a metal roof.
These are but a few perks that come with installing solar panels on a metal roof. An essential factor to note beforehand is the color of your metal roof. You will want to opt for a lighter color, as it enhances the roof’s reflectivity, availing more sunlight to be absorbed by the solar panels.
Even though solar panels are compatible with almost any type of metal roof, it’s better if you have a standing seam metal roof. With this type of metal roof in place, you’ll have an easy time installing the solar panels due to the raised seams that tend to create a channel between the roof and the panels. Even better is that they enhance the longevity of your solar panels by protecting them from water damage through their raised seams.
Corrugated metal roofs are also a bargain when it comes to solar panel installation. Their wavy pattern creates a channel through which you can easily install solar panels. More importantly, ensure you assess the roof’s overall condition before going in with solar panels, regardless of the type of metal roof in place.
If you decide to install the system on a metal roof, consider opting for either of the following panels, as they are more suitable for metal roofs:
- Thin-Film Laminates
As the name implies, thin-film laminates tend to be lighter, making them an ideal option. They have the upper hand mainly because their installation mode minimizes the chances of compromising the integrity of your metal roof. You can easily install them onto the roof using adhesive rather than having to penetrate the roof through drilling.
- Crystalline panels
Metal roofs can exhibit high-temperature variations, which is where crystalline panels come into play. They can withstand various temperature variations, making them ideal for metal roofs. These panels also have a higher energy conversion rate than thin-film laminates and can keep generating energy despite the extreme temperature.
They are also easy to install through mounting systems rather than drilling through the roof. However, they tend to be heavier than thin-film laminates, making it necessary to thoroughly assess the strength of your metal roof before installing the panels.
Can I power my garage with solar panels
Yes, you can power your garage with solar panels, just as you would for your house. The garage roof is often unused, so why not put it to work by installing solar panels? If anything, garage roofs usually have a large surface area and are easily accessible to sunlight. Even if your garage roof isn’t as spacious, it can still accommodate a sizeable solar panel system that could help you offset some bills.
Whether you use the garage as a workshop, gym, storage space, or just for lounging, powering it with solar panels will come in handy in some way. You could use it to run your tools, charge electric vehicles, or power up your cooling or heating systems. Alternatively, you can use the system to light up the garage space, saving you some money.
Even better is that with solar panels, you can say goodbye to unexpected interruptions in the power supply. You could even utilize the same solar energy in your house or transfer appliances that consume too much energy to the garage to help reduce costs.
While at it, keep in mind the essential factors you should consider before performing the installation. Factors such as roof structure, orientation, shading, elevation, and, more importantly, local rules and regulations should help determine whether you can power your garage with solar panels. With these aspects in check, your solar panel system installation will be as efficient as possible, and you’ll undoubtedly get a bang for your buck.
Do solar panels cause roof leaks?
Although rare, solar panels can cause roof leaks, especially following poor installation. Roof leaks can be a significant trade-off when it comes to solar panel installation. However, you don’t have to experience leaks if you decide to install solar panels on your roof.
Various factors predispose your roof to leaks; once you counter these, you’ll be good to go. They include:
Consider your roof as a foundation when it comes to solar panel installation. Without a rock-solid foundation, solar panels can overwhelm your roof, leading to leaks. The roof condition is a prime factor to consider during installation, especially if the roof has served you for a long time.
An old roof is subject to cracks or holes, and installing solar panels on such a roof will do more harm than good. That said, ensure you thoroughly assess your roof’s condition and repair it if necessary to avoid ending up with a leaking roof.
The many benefits of solar panels can be tempting, but it’s important to note that not all roofs are compatible with solar panels. If your roof isn’t compatible with solar panels, you can decide not to install them because they could damage your roof and cause significant losses.
Flat roofs, for instance, are more prone to water pooling issues that can cause the roof to leak. Roofs with low slopes also tend to have water drainage issues that could compromise the roof’s integrity. To be safe, you could reach out to a professional installer if you’re unsure of your roof’s compatibility with solar panels.
Poor installation of solar panels is often the cause of roof leaks. Most solar panel installations involve manipulating the roof and drilling through it to secure the panels. This means a simple mistake could damage the roof and cause leaks. Choosing the DIY route can be good for your wallet, but without proper care, you could incur losses instead.
On the other hand, a professional solar installer can evaluate the condition and compatibility of your roof to foster a successful installation. A professional is more likely to have the right tools and techniques to make the installation efficient. It’s better to opt for installers that offer you a warranty just in case anything goes wrong after the installation. More importantly, note that not all roofing contractors are professional solar installers.
Alternatively, if you insist on DIY, consider going for solar panels whose installation doesn’t involve penetrating the roof. Some panels, such as thin-film laminates, only require you to secure them onto the roof using adhesives. This way, the chances of wrongly manipulating the roof are minimal.
Even though solar panels require little maintenance following installation, performing occasional inspections won’t hurt. Inspecting the panels could enable you to identify and rectify potential damage or leaks before it’s too late.
How many years does a solar battery last?
A solar battery can serve you for 5 to 15 years. This lifespan isn’t constant as it depends on various factors. For instance, proper maintenance, including appropriate use and storage of solar batteries, could extend your battery’s lifespan by a few years.
Other than maintenance, consider these factors to enable your batteries to last even longer:
The more you use your solar battery, the faster it becomes depleted. For instance, using your solar battery as the sole energy source in the garage will make it serve you for a shorter time. Even worse is if you have appliances that consume excessive energy.
However, if you use a grid-tied system, you’ll most likely utilize solar energy only when there’s an interruption in the power supply. In such cases, expect the battery to last longer because it will take a while to deplete the available cycles.
Solar batteries also come with a specific depth of discharge. When you surpass this depth, the battery’s lifespan shortens. Therefore, look out for the manufacturer’s recommended depth of discharge to avoid exploiting the battery.
Solar batteries usually differ in design, meaning some can last longer than others. Lithium-ion batteries, for instance, exhibit less temperature sensitivity and can serve you longer than their counterparts, even with minimal maintenance. On the other hand, lead-acid batteries are more sensitive to temperature, require regular maintenance, and tend to last for a shorter time.
Other battery types, including nickel-cadmium (NiCad), are also designed differently, and their lifespan differs from other types. You can consider opting for solar batteries backed by a warranty, which could prolong their lifespan.
Since solar batteries comprise different chemicals, it is no surprise that they can easily react to extreme temperature variations. Even robust batteries like Lithium-ion can still exhibit some temperature sensitivity.
The hotter the environment, the faster the battery wears out, and the colder the environment, the faster it drains. Therefore, it is advisable to store solar batteries in temperature-controlled environments to help prolong their lifespan.
The below video shows how to install solar panel on a garage roof. Watch and learn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Can solar batteries be installed in the garage?
Yes, solar batteries can be installed in the garage as long as you take certain factors into account. A significant factor to keep in mind is the battery’s sensitivity to temperature. The garage’s extreme temperatures and humidity levels could take a toll on your solar battery. However, if your garage is temperature-controlled, you’re good to go.
Also, ensure your garage has adequate ventilation to promote airflow and prevent the battery from overheating, which could cause wear and tear. Lastly, be sure to install the battery at a safe location, away from accidental damage by garage users or tools.
Q2. Where does solar go when batteries are full?
Excess solar energy can be dangerous to the battery, but that is where the inverter and charge controller come into play. Solar panels come with an inverter and charge controller, whose work is to divert excess energy that would otherwise damage the battery. How these features divert energy depends on the specific solar panel model. The diversion could occur in three ways:
- The energy could be diverted back to the panels, causing power loss.
- The system could store it in extra batteries or use the energy to power other appliances.
- It could resend the energy to the grid through net metering.
Q3. Do you need planning permission for solar panels on a garage?
Fortunately, in most cases, you won’t need planning permission for solar panels on a garage. Such installations often qualify as permitted developments, meaning planning is allowed under certain conditions. The conditions can vary from region to region, making it essential to check with local regulations beforehand.
Q4. Can I install solar panels myself?
Yes, going the DIY route can give your wallet a breather, especially with the high initial cost. However, it may not be as safe or efficient as professional installation. Solar panel installation involves filling out paperwork, climbing onto high roofs, and dealing with electrical wires. These escapades can be dangerous to you and your household members, and it’s best to leave the job to the experts.
Q5. How much does it cost to put solar panels on your roof?
Installing solar panels on your roof will cost you 15000 to 25000 dollars, give or take. Many factors come into play, including your type of roof, its condition, the cost of living in your area, the size and type of solar panels you choose, and installation costs. Therefore, it is advisable to contact a professional installer to assess your situation and give you a more precise quote.
Q6. Can you put solar panels on a patio cover?
Yes, putting solar panels on a patio cover is possible, provided you consider certain aspects. For instance, the type of your patio cover is a significant determinant of its suitability for solar panel installation. It should be structurally sturdy to accommodate heavy solar panels. Other factors, such as orientation, elevation, and shading, also come into play.
Ultimately, putting solar panels on your garage roof is a no-brainer, especially due to its benefits to you and the environment. Of importance is to put relevant factors such as your roof’s structural integrity into consideration.
Hiring a professional will make your work easier, and you’ll reap all the rewards of your solar panel system. Although initially costly, proper installation guarantees a bang for your buck in the long run. So why wait? Do yourself and Mother Nature a favor by turning your garage into a self-sufficient powerhouse.