Is my roof suitable for solar panels?

picture of a suitable roof with solar panelsThe majority of roofs on homes in the UK are suitable for solar panel installation. This is great news for anyone looking to generate more environmentally friendly power, cut their energy bills and even profit from the Feed-in Tariff. We took a look at some of the most frequently asked questions that you might want to consider before going solar.

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Which direction should my roof face for solar panels?

South facing roofs tend to generate the most electricity from solar panels, but not to worry if your roof faces another direction as you can likely still see plenty of benefit from installing a solar array. South facing roof panels see the sun when it is at its most intense for the longest period of time, which is why they generate the most energy. East and West facing roofs are also fine for solar panels and will still see a good deal of energy generation throughout the course of the day.

Unfortunately, it is not recommended that solar panels are installed on North facing roofs in the UK as they perform poorly in comparison.

Is my roof big enough for a solar array?

This depends on the size of the array you want installed. For a standard 4kW size system you would need around 28 square meters of clean roof space. You should bear in mind any areas of your roof that may cause obstructions or interrupt the layout of your solar panels. This includes things like skylights, turrets or roof vents. Whilst installers can generally work around these obstacles, it could have an impact on the installation cost. Shaded areas also need to be factored in here, which leads us to the next question…

My roof is in the shade, will solar panels still work?

Shade can really diminish the amount of power that solar PV panels can generate and even damage them! If your roof has a lot of shadows cast upon it for long time periods you may want to look at other solar options (for example ground mounted). Installers will be able to assess your situation, potentially perform a shading analysis and offer advice on the best way to proceed.

What does my roof need to be made from?

The material your roof is made from may impact the cost of installing an array, however a solar PV system can generally be installed on most roof types. One of the most important factors you will need to consider is how strong your roof is. Installers should carry out a structural report to assess this and likely recommend strengthening if your roof requires it. You can read more about this in our guide to questions you should ask your solar installer.

Will I need planning permission to have solar panels installed?

Generally home owners do not need planning permission to have solar panels installed. If you live in a conservation area or if your house is listed you may need planning permission in some cases.

If you are still in doubt, a qualified solar installer will be able to fully assess your roof and tell you for certain if your roof is suitable for a solar array. You can get free quotes from reputable MCS certified installers using our simple online application.

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