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Community and Q&A

Prep for future solar

JTyler | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

I am beginning construction of a new home in June. I would like the option to add solar in the future. Because the roof of the home will be a lower than ideal pitch, the solar panels would be installed on the roof of an existing barn or on a rack constructed in another location.

It seems like I should include an extra conduit through the foundation near the panel. What else can I do to make the future installation of solar as easy as possible?

Thanks again for the help!

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    I assume that you have already read this article: Solar Now or Later?

    You need to leave room near your electrical panel to install a wall-mounted inverter. You may want to plan ahead for a second utility meter.

    Other suggestions can be found in the article I linked to (and in the comments posted on that page).

  2. user-2453173 | | #2

    You said: "Because the roof of the home will be a lower than ideal pitch,..."

    Can you elaborate? What type of roof are you planning on, what slope, and what direction(s).

    People are often surprised by the relatively small differences in production from "lower than ideal" roof pitches and/or less than perfect orientation.

    As prices keep falling in the solar arena, the old rules of thumb are less and less useful.

  3. STEPHEN SHEEHY | | #3

    I agree with Daniel-I have panels on two roof sections, 8/12 and 3/12. I am surprised at how little difference there is between the two. At this minute, there is less than a 5% difference in power production (bright sun today) from the panels on each roof pitch.
    It would probably be much cheaper and easier to add a few extra panels on the roof as opposed to putting the panels on the barn or garage to optimize angle and then running heavy electrical wire (in conduit) between the outbuilding and the house. As a poster in another thread noted, at pitches over 8/12 installation gets more costly. Similarly, if the outbuilding is high, that installation can cost more.

  4. wisjim | | #4

    With the prices of PVs dropping regularly, I think that the main advantage of "proper" angle of panels, or steeper vs. shallower pitch, is that in our climate (western Wisconsin) with lots of winter snow, the snow sheds from the panels much quicker with a steeper pitch, giving me a few more days of energy production in each of the winter months. (But my all time--in over 30 years of PV use- lowest day of production was a May 1st snowfall with wet sticky snow that totally stopped all light from reaching the panels for over a day.)

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