Now is a great time to invest in your eco-friendly home and the future with solar energy. For a limited time, the federal government has extended to “residential solar tax credit”, which entitles those who purchase solar panels to provide green energy to their homes and earn a credit equal to 30% of cost, including solar panel installation. But is your roof ready? You may be surprised.

Does my roof get enough sun?sec4 has handy maps to help you understand how much sun you get in your area. The solar radiation in your area will help a professional determine how many or what type panels you need. But you may be surprised to find that Germany, a country that annually get less sun than Washington, is the world leader in solar usage, demonstrating that it is a viable option even in areas that we do not consider sunny. It is also important to evaluate trees and other obstructions that may block the sun.

Do I have to have a south facing roof for solar energy?

You will want to put panels on the side that gets the most sun throughout the day. For most this will be the south-facing side of your roof. However, if you only have an east-west roof, you can still get panels. But you will be getting slightly less sun per panel, so you will need 1 or more additional panels to compensate for the reduced hours of sun. Solar is still a cost saving and eco-friendly option for you.

Will my roof hold the extra weight?

While your home’s roof may not be able to handle the load of a commercial solar array, unless your roof is dry rotted or otherwise not structurally sound, it should support panels. Professionals will thoroughly assess your home before moving forward with installation.

How much space is required for solar panels?

The amount of space that you need for your solar panels will depend on how much green energy you need to produce for your home. The average U.S. home uses about 900 Kilowatts per month. There are several factors to consider to determine how much energy you can get out of one panel, but conservatively 25 panels will produce about 5 kilowatts per hour (kWh) during the day. Then you’ll use of your battery stored energy at night. So about 25 panels will handle the average home. Take a look at your electric bill to see where you fall in the average.

Each panel is around 17.5 square feet. You will need to measure the side of your roof that gets the most sun to determine how many panels could fit on the roof. Don’t forget to leave room for flashings and vents in your measurements as installers will need to work around them. Simply divide the size of your sun-facing roof by 17.5. This will give you a good estimate, but you will need a professional to determine your roof’s energy producing potential.

Is your roof ready?

The above will allow you to self-evaluate your roof for solar panels. If you would like to learn more or have your roof evaluated for solar panels, contact a trusted professional who will be able to evaluate your unique situation and develop a system that will work for you.