Are Solar Panels Right for Your Home?

Determining if Solar is Right

This is one of the more common questions we receive.  Most people who are just beginning to explore solar understand the concept of using the sun’s energy to power a home but struggle to understand what may or may not make a home a good candidate. 

As more and more people are becoming conscious of how their lifestyle choices impact not only their environmental footprint but also their wallet, solar energy systems are becoming more and more mainstream.  Identifying whether your home is a good candidate for solar is the number one place to start and can depend on a variety of factors.  Luckily, Prospect Solar is here to hold your hand as you walk through the process.

Solar Access

The number one factor in deciding if your home is a good candidate for solar is determining your solar access – or how many hours of direct sunlight your roof receives on a daily basis.  Directional orientation of the home, shade from nearby trees or other buildings, and shade from obstructions such as roof gables, window dormers, and chimney stacks all play a significant part in determining if your roof receives enough direct sunlight every day to justify the investment of switching to solar. 

Luckily, the efficiency and quality of equipment have increased to a point where even homeowners with less-than-ideal solar access can still take advantage of the environmental and economic benefits of switching to solar.

Shade Trees and Solar

Shade from nearby trees is the number one enemy of solar panels.  If your home is in a wooded area with very large, mature trees that have grown to eclipse your house, that is a tell-tale sign that your roof probably does not receive enough direct sunlight for a solar energy system to produce a significant amount of energy.  Alternatively, it does not always require several large trees and a mature canopy to block the benefits of solar energy.  One well-placed tree in a yard can make the difference between a home is an ideal candidate and a certain disqualifier. 

Prospect Solar can Help

Prospect Solar is headquartered in Loudoun County, Virginia where newer communities such as Brambleton in Ashburn or Willowsford in Aldie do not yet have the old-growth trees that you might find in older communities such as Falls Church or Vienna.  For these reasons, it is becoming exceedingly rare for a home to be disqualified based on shade. 

Satellite services such as GoogleMaps are an excellent resource to help you identify whether there are any obstructions on your property that essentially act as sundials in front of your home.  If you would like some assistance in determining if your home is a good candidate for going solar, Prospect Solar is happy to assist you.

Directional Orientation

In years past, solar typically provided the most economic benefits for homeowners who had large, south-facing roofs.  As the quality and efficiency of the equipment have evolved with the industry, the ideal south-facing roof has become less and less of a requirement.  While south-facing is still preferred, there is no reason why a home with east and west-facing roof planes cannot install a solar energy system that will be able to provide the majority of their home’s energy needs. 

Prospect Solar’s service territory ranges from Baltimore, Maryland to Richmond, Virginia.  Because of our geographic location in the mid-Atlantic region of the Northern Hemisphere, installing a solar energy system on a north-facing roof plane is really the only ill-advised directional orientation.  However, depending on the exact pitch of the roof and the quality of the equipment installed, there are specific scenarios in which installed on a north-facing roof may make economic sense. If you are looking for more information about adding a solar energy system to your home, Prospect Solar would love to assist you.

We will guide you through our evaluation and installation processes and answer any questions you may have, while at the same time being sure to keep your needs and budget in mind. Our goal is to make solar energy accessible to as many people as possible and promote its numerous benefits.  Call 703-444-2447 or email us at [email protected] to speak with one of our solar energy experts and see if switching to solar is as good for you economically as it is for the Earth environmentally.

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