Important Factors to Consider When Designing a Rooftop Solar Electric System Layout
Rooftop solar panels can give building owners long-term economic and environmental benefits. Modern solar panels are highly efficient these days with the improvement in technology. However certain points and factors should be considered before the installation of solar panels. It is important to get a thorough investigation of your area, rooftop, and other factors before making a decision to purchase or install the same.
If you look at commercial buildings with solar panels, you’ll notice that the look and the layout of these installations differ in shape and size. It depends on numerous factors and of course preferences. You’re probably looking for follow-up questions about the decision for a perfect installation of solar panels.
Determining the best solar panel configuration for a functional rooftop system is technical and requires a lot of expertise in the field. To design the most successful solar panel system for the client, many critical criteria must be considered.
To begin with, rooftops are not identical, different characteristics should be considered for different buildings. Here is the list of factors that are essential for deciding the best solar panel system for your building.
Available Rooftop Area
The first step is to assess the condition of the roof and the available mounting surface. If a construction plan is available and if it is accurate, the roof size can be determined from it. To design the most successful system for the client, many critical criteria must be considered. It would be better if you measure the roof surface yourself.
In some cases where the roof is not easily accessible, in such cases, the roof surface can be measured using a laser gauge or by using a solar installer to get a perfect measurement.
Shading and Orientation
Solar panels cannot be shaded by taller roofs, nearby structures, tree canopies, or adjacent solar panels in order to function correctly. Therefore, a shading analysis should be performed to make sure that the solar panels are free from such obstructions.
Adjacent solar panels generally have 5-10 degree tilt, so as to prevent them from shading one another. Ground panels have a higher power density Because the sun heats the panel perpendicularly.
For unshaded sites, a panel facing directly south produces the most solar energy; the ideal tilt angle is somewhat less than the local latitude. The peak need for electricity is usually in the afternoon, thus orienting the panel to the southwest can help match demand and production.
Installing solar panels on roofs with heights below 60feet is considered economical. The roof should not be too high or too low on the ground.
As the height of the building rises, the expense of reinforcing the armature that supports the panels rises as well. Solar installers recommend installations that are at least 12 feet off the ground to avoid destruction and damage caused by animals.
Solar panels generally weigh 2-6 pounds, per sq. feet. Therefore it is essential that roofs are designed and engineered in a way that it is able to withstand the load of solar panels. In such a citation a more detailed analysis of roof capacity should be conducted.
Solar panels should, in theory, generate more energy than the building consumes in order to attain net-zero energy. However, this is a high ambition that will require a big solar array. The overall electrical load of the building, as well as the producing capacity of the panels, must be understood in order to determine the array’s size.
If the size of the solar panel is small, it will produce less output than the demanded energy. Therefore by establishing the demands and requirements it will be easier to select the perfect size for solar panels.
PV panels do not need to be linked to the roof structure to keep them from shifting or blowing off due to wind unless they are in a high wind zone. Many manufacturers make ballasted supports to prevent such situations from happening. Such systems allow easy removal of panels, whenever it needs replacements. Since solar panels are low-maintenance, foot traffic near them should be kept to a minimum. In areas with high foot traffic, white pads should be incorporated with the roof design. This can increase the efficiency of panels.
Consult the roof manufacturer before installing any system to ensure that the installation will not void your warranty.
Deciding the Optimum size of Solar Panel System
There are many factors involved in deciding the optimum size for each project. Energy and site studies, as well as an awareness of the customer’s aims and wants, decide these project levers. For an instance, some commercial building owners want to offset their monthly electricity expenses while others may not want much and would be satisfied with a little less.
Some large buildings don’t need a huge energy supply, hence a small solar plant would suffice. Whereas, some small buildings use enormous amounts of electricity but could only afford to set up a small plant on the roof space available.
Hence energy requirement and roof space available are important factors to consider before any installation.
The size and output capacity of the modules
While solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, the installation has an inverter to convert Direct current (DC), received from sunlight to Alternating current (AC). AC or alternating current is used in running most machinery and electrical appliances. Selecting the right inverter size is crucial to bring out efficiency in the solar panel system. We may determine the particular number of panels required in the system by selecting the appropriate inverter size for the project.
As we have noticed, there are many important factors that should be considered for deciding on the best solar panel system for a roof. It’s not quite as simple as buying a product and getting it installed. A lot goes into its installation to bring out the best from these panels. If you’re thinking about installing solar panels to power the activities in your business, make sure you consult an experienced solar developer or a guide. Also, ensure you get the most out of your investment.