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5 ways to see if your roof is solar ready

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Utah home with solar panels.


This story is sponsored by Clear Solar. Learn more about Clear Solar.

Having solar panels installed on your roof has become a viable option for homeowners practically everywhere. To find out whether your roof is ready for solar panels, you'll just need to consider a couple of factors, including how much sun you receive annually and how many solar panels will be required. Here are some ways to determine whether your roof meets the proper criteria.

Use the Solar Panel Suitability Checker app

Wonder if your roof is situated appropriately for solar panels? Download the free Solar Panel Suitability Checker app to your smartphone or tablet and simply type in your address. It will tell you whether your roof is facing the right direction to receive the optimal level of sunlight for solar panels.

Magazine.good.is says you can also use this app if you're considering placing solar panels elsewhere to determine if there is anything that might block the sunlight. The system isn't foolproof, however, it's only as accurate as the current version of Google maps.

Another option Google hopes one day to make available nationwide is Project Sunroof. Similar to the app, you'll be able to type in your address and it will use 3D modeling and aerial images to determine how many square feet of solar panels you'd need to supply 99 percent of your energy usage. Currently, however, it is only available to certain cities in California and on the East Coast.

Estimate with the PVWatts Calculator

If you want even more specific estimates on how solar panels can save you money and whether your roof is the right location for them, you can use a free online tool created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory called the PVWatts Calculator. It takes into account the weather at your location, what type of system you'd be installing, the cost of utilities, etc. to give you an annual estimate of your savings.


Determine how long you'll be living in the home

It doesn't make sense to make such a long-term commitment if you're planning on moving in a year or two. Whether you lease, get a loan, or pay for the solar panels outright, you'll see the highest savings if you're staying in the home for the foreseeable future. This kind of commitment is especially important when you realize you'll be seeing those panels every day on your roof. Don't buy into something you aren't prepared for.

Evaluate the condition of your current roof

The great thing about solar panels is they can last upward of 20 years or more before needing to be replaced (assuming they're kept in good repair). That lifespan will be significantly less, however, if the roof material they're installed on is already nearing the end of its lifespan. Before investing in solar panels, determine whether your current roofing material needs to be replaced or repaired.

Metalroofnet.com suggests replacing any roof older than 10 years for optimal conditions. You won't want to have to remove the solar panels in a year or two, replace your roof, and then reinstall them if you can help it, as the extra steps could add thousands to your renovation budget.

Get an estimate from a professional

The only really foolproof way to figure out if your roof is solar ready is by getting an estimate from professionals in the business. With their practiced eyes, they can spot potential obstacles to your roof's solar rays either now or in the future, draw up specs on how the solar panels would be situated and quote you an accurate cost based on how you'll be paying for your panels. They'll be able to create a custom plan based on what you can afford, how big your roof is and how much annual sunlight your receive.

Contact Clearsolar.us today to get a free quote for installing money-saving solar panels to your home.