The roof matters!! Some decisions around how you design and orient your home can have big impacts on solar.


    • Everyone knows that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west… But did you know it tracks along the southern skyline as it does so? This is why solar panels (in the Northern Hemisphere) get oriented to the south. The sun is relatively higher in the skyline during the summer, and relatively lower in the wintertime.
    • “True” south in New England is 195 degrees on the compass (slightly west of magnetic south).
    • A perfect solar array will be on a pitched roof (6/12 to 12/12) facing +/- 15 degrees of true south.
    • That said, solar panels will produce up to 90% of their rated output even at more east and west orientations, so if your future home’s site makes a southerly orientation impossible, it’s not the end of the world.
    • NO SHADE – Shade trees (or other obstructions) have a serious negative effect on solar production.
    • Simple roof layouts (minimum dormers, plumbing vents, chimneys, etc) are much better for solar. Put plumbing vents and chimneys on the north side of the roof, if possible.
    • If you absolutely can’t design your roof in such a way that it is compatible with solar, you can install solar elsewhere! We have ground-mounted solar, dual-axis solar trackers, and solar canopy options available.

To Chapter 2

To Chapter 4