Is your Home a Good Fit for Solar?

Solar install western massachusetts.jpgYou are probably familiar with the numerous reasons to transition your home to solar (energy independence, lower electric bills, and a cleaner future - to name a few). However, you may be looking at your home and wondering "am I a good fit for solar?" While we believe the benefits of solar are for everyone, some homes are more suitable for solar installations than others. 

There are several factors we look at when planning a solar project, including your location, your home and property, and your financing preferences. This guide prepares you for the conversations you will have with us when evaluating your home for solar:

  1. What type of home do you live in?
  2. Is your roof ideal for solar?
  3. What are your options if you don't have an ideal home for solar?

If you are interested in exploring these questions with our expert Solar Advisor team, don't hesitate to reach out. We'll be happy to get you started on your solar journey!

What type of home do you live in?

This might seem obvious, but your home is a huge factor in determining whether you are a good fit for solar, as well as whether you own or rent your home. It is very difficult to install solar panels on your home if you don’t own the house, building, or property on which you live.

Similarly, if you live in a multi-family property, apartments, or a condo building, it may be more difficult to take advantage of solar. Lastly, if your home is very old or if it needs certain types of renovation or remodeling projects in the future, a rooftop solar array might not be the best option to reduce your energy bill.

During our initial consultation, we will review the details of your home and property to best determine what kind of solar project will suit your home's specifics, and will meet your energy goals. Factors to consider during this conversation include your location, the age of your home, and recent renovations or home updates.

Is your roof ideal for solar?

We consider several factors when determining whether a roof is a good option for solar. We encourage you to consider the following questions and gather any information you can to help our evaluation process:

How old is your roof? 

Since solar systems last for three decades, if your roof is near the end of its lifetime it’s worth replacing it before installing solar. If you will need a new roof in the next 5 years, we recommend re-roofing first.

What material is your roof? 

You can install solar panels on most types of roof material, with a few exceptions. It’s very difficult (nearly impossible) to install solar on slate and wood roofs because they are so brittle, and we typically avoid corrugated metal roofs because of installer safety concerns.

How big is your roof? What shape is it? 

Do you have an open roof that’s free of obstacles like vents, skylights, and chimneys? Or is your roof uniquely-shaped with dormers and other obstructions? Large, wide roofs are best for maximizing your solar system, but even with limited space, you might be able to install a smaller number of high-efficiency panels to produce as much power as possible with the available space.

SA-NH_sun-path.pngWhat angle is your roof tilt? 

As a general rule of thumb, anywhere between 30 to 45 degrees is the optimal tilt (roof angle) for most solar systems. Luckily, that’s the most commonly built roof in the U.S. Panels that are installed on a steep roof generally produce less electricity and are more difficult to install, and panels on a flat roof might require more seasonal maintenance.

What direction does your roof face? 

Any roof facing between Southeast and Southwest is great for solar. If you want to get scientific, use a compass or compass smartphone app to see which direction your roof faces. The perfect solar orientation in New England is 195 degrees (15 degrees West of due magnetic South on a compass, also known as ‘true south’) but any orientation between 150 and 240 degrees is within 10% of perfect.

Does your roof experience a lot of shading? 

Ideally, we like to see a shade-free solar ‘window’ between 9am-3pm, year-round. When evaluating your site, a solar professional will use a tool such as a SunEye or Solar Pathfinder. These tools take a fish-eye photo of the open sky, taking trees and other obstacles into account, and then super-impose the sun’s arc (adjusted for longitude) onto the open sky photo. The results can be interpreted by software to develop a percentage figure of available solar access at a site; generally greater than 80% is required but we prefer to see access that is 90% or more.

What if you don't have the ideal roof for solar?

Not every home can have a large, unobstructed, unshaded roof that happens to be south facing. In fact, most homes we install solar on don't have the "ideal" roof for solar. Luckily, our talented solar design team can usually design a rooftop array that gets the most possible solar generation out of a roof's potential. 

Depending on your home's situation, we can typically increase the number of panels or get clever with the orientation of array (for example, if you have a large roof that is made up of several sections facing different directions). Other times we can work with the customer to increase sun exposure, by helping them remove trees or installing additional panels on nearby structure such as a garage or barn.  

If your roof is too old, made of certain materials that aren't suitable for installing solar, or simply facing the wrong direction, there are other options you can explore.

Ground Mount Solar

Ground mounts are a great option for customers who are unable to install panels on their roof. While not as popular as rooftop solar, ground mounted arrays offer a number of advantages over rooftop systems:

  1. The systems can be oriented at perfect angle in a shade-free area, making them easier to design for maximum solar generation.
  2. Arrays can be located in less conspicuous area than on the roof.
  3. No rooftop work required, so certain parts of the installation go much more quickly.


Community Solar Farms (ME & NH only)

For Maine and New Hampshire residents, joining a ReVision built Community Solar Farm (CSF) is a great alternative when installing solar on your home or property is not an option. 

For community solar, ReVision builds a large-scale, ownership model solar farm at an ideal solar location, working with the landowner or local organizations to responsibly site the project. Power generated from the solar farm feeds into the grid, which is then distributed to the members of the CSF. There are several benefits to joining a CSF:

  • You, the owner-member, receive the full financial benefit of the federal tax credit.
  • You lock in the lowest 25-year cost of power by buying at a fixed price. 
  • You receive long-term support from a local New England company (that's us!).
  • You can purchase upfront or finance with our lending partner and a $1,000 deposit.

Our experienced Solar Advisor team has guided thousands of New Englanders through their solar journey, working with them to design solar projects to meet the unique requirements and needs of their home. To learn more about your home's solar potential, schedule a free site evaluation or contact our team using the Get Started button below. 

Why go with ReVision as your trusted solar partner?

Cait_installer_resize.jpgWe're Experienced, Full Service Solar Installers

Since 2003, our team of solar experts has installed and maintained solar project in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. Along the way we have gained a deep track record of experience working on every kind of solar project imaginable, and have perfected our process from customer outreach to install to service.

We're Highly Rated & Highly Reviewed

When you go solar with ReVision Energy, you're putting trust in a team that is consistently rated a top 10 Solar Installer in the country from Solar Power World. We are also highly reviewed by customers in Massachusetts, with hundreds of five-star reviews and testimonials from ReVision Solar Champions who refer us to their families and friends.

We're Employee-Owned

Employee ownership also means we're built for the long-haul -- other solar installers may come and go, but we'll be around to support and service all projects we install for decades to come. We offer genuine long-term service, and will be there for you in all the fossil fuel-free years ahead.