Can I Install Solar Panels on a Flat Roof?
Most of our residential installations are done on roofs with an angle, or tilt. However, if you have a flat roof, don’t fear! You have options so that you can still take advantage of solar power for your home.
Where we are in the northeast, solar panels need a little more tilt to best capture the sun’s energy all day long. So, the optimal tilt angle is between 30 and 45 degrees. Additionally, to produce the most power in the northern hemisphere, solar panels should be facing south.
If you have a flat roof, we can still install solar panels for you. In fact, most of our commercial installations, like the one below, are installed on buildings with no roof tilting. These systems still produce a generous power output for the building.
However, we must mount the panels at an angle to produce this output. Unmounted solar panels will be less efficient, because they will only get full sun when the sun is positioned directly overhead. By placing the panels at an angle, they will receive full sun for most of the day and thus produce more energy. Also, flat panels are harder to clean. Without being tilted at an angle, panels can have snow or dirt buildup that also decreases efficiency.
Luckily, flat roofs actually allow more flexibility in the installation process. We can adjust the tilt and direction of the solar panels to be within the optimal range of 30 – 45 degrees. To do this, we mount them, like shown in the picture on the to the right. Lastly, we can orient them to face directly south to optimize efficiency.
The only other downside to installing on a flat roof is that the panels must be spaced out more, to avoid shading. Since the panels are mounted, if rows of panels are placed right next to each other, the row in front would partially shade the row behind it. So, they must be placed with a little buffer space to avoid this shading effect. Thus, this type of solar array is slightly less space efficient. However, this effect is largely mitigated by the increase in efficiency that comes with being able to select the angle and orientation of the panels. So overall, if you have a flat roof – yes you can install solar panels! And they can produce just as much power as installing on a typical tilted roof.
In addition to rooftop solar, we also install ground mounts. These are a great option for homes with roofs that are unsuitable for solar panels, whether that be the roof angle, direction, or square footage. With a ground mount, you can install a system that fits your exact capacity needs, without worrying about the space on your roof. This can be a great option for homes with atypical roofs.
More questions? Feel free to reach out to us through our contact form, phone number on our website, or any of our social media pages!