The design and performance of your PV system will depend on how much of the sun's energy reaches your site. Even if you are not in a sunny region like the Southwest, your site may have an adequate solar resource. See Solar Maps from the U.S. Department of Energy for information on solar resources in your region.
Rooftop exposure and positioning can also impact system performance. Rooftop space must be relatively unobstructed by trees or tall buildings. South-facing rooftops are best, but panels can be installed to capture the sun from other directions.
A qualified professional can perform a site assessment to determine whether or not your site is appropriate for a PV installation, as well as the on-site location that will maximize power generation.
When evaluating the feasibility of a solar project, consider these structural factors:
- The amount of free rooftop space available. About 120 square feet of panel area is needed to generate one kW of power
- The age and condition of the roof. Older roofs may not be adequate structurally to handle the extra weight.
State and local building and fire codes may also apply. Check with your local building inspector.
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