In fact, places far north could receive as many as 22 hours of sunlight, while other parts of the continental United States would get around 14 to 16 hours. This happens because the Earth’s tilt to the Sun is at its most extreme point on this day. In the Southern Hemisphere, the situation is reversed – it’s the shortest day of the year.Of course, at Sunfinity, we like to celebrate the sun 365 days a year! We thought we’d mark today’s sun-spectacular with the debut of our brand-new video series, “Solar, The View From the Top.” We’ve partnered with do-it-yourself expert and author of The Greened House effect, Jeff Wilson. About 10 years ago, Jeff undertook a project to thoroughly renovate his 70+-year-old home in Ohio, making it as energy-efficient as possible. His book details the journey, including his adoption of solar. In this five-part video series, Jeff addresses a variety of questions about solar, like what does it cost, how much can I save, how does the tax credit work, and more. The first video in our series (watch it here) addresses the most common question of all: how do I know if solar will work at my home? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Solar can be installed on almost all types of roofs; the only roofs that don’t qualify are wood shake roofs. The most common type of roofing material is composite shake roof, and solar can definitely be installed over that. Since your solar system can last for decades, your roof should be in good condition, but it doesn’t need to be a new roof by any means.
- The more south-facing your roof, the better – that is the most direct sunlight. But a west or east-facing roof can still capture enough sunlight to be cost-effective. A north-facing roof won’t capture enough sun to make it worth the cost, so beware of any proposal that shows panels on a north-facing part of your home. Also, fire codes require a three-foot “set back” around the edges of the system – basically, three feet of open space in the event a fireman needs to be on your roof. That impacts the number of panels that will fit on your roof.
- If your roof is shaded by tall trees, that will reduce the available space for solar panel installation. Panels needs to receive as much direct sun as possible. When our solar team prepares a design for your home, they identify and factor in shading on your roof so that you have the most accurate estimate possible of how much electricity you can produce. If you want to produce even more electricity, we can show you the options if some of the shade is removed. We do have customers who will elect to remove one or more trees to let the sun shine in – but that decision is up to each homeowner.
- Here’s something you may not know – solar panels don’t have to go on your roof! There is a system called ground mount, where the racks and panels are installed at ground level and power is fed back to your house. Again, the “basics” apply – the panels should get as much direct sunlight as possible to give you the best results.