Condor Solar News Blog

Is your roof suitable for a Solar PV installation?

There are a few considerations when deciding whether your roof is suitable for a solar PV installation.

This is one of the reasons why it it important to have a solar energy professional provide a thorough assessment of your roof.

1. Size

Firstly, your roof must be fairly large. As PV installations can be fairly costly, larger roofs are required to ensure cost effectiveness. 

Larger roofs allow for greater amounts of electricity to be generated and higher economic returns.

50 watt/m2 is often used to calculate a conservative generation potential of a roof. 

However solar PV installations can have efficiencies of up to 200 watt/m2 depending on the technology used.

Roof windows or hips on your roof will decrease the total size available for the solar PV and should be taken into account in the initial planning.

2. Structural integrity of the roof

Some roofs are automatically ruled out for installation. These include roofs with asbestos, and roofs that are in a structurally poor condition as well as roofs that can’t bear the extra weight.

If you are unsure about whether your roof can manage the load of the solar PV installation it is recommended that you consult a specialist / structural engineer.

3. Orientation & Shade

In the Western Cape, it is recommended that your roof face north, north west or north east. Roofs that face west and east can also be used, but the installation will be less efficient. 

If your roof faces south then installing a solar PV system would most probably not be suitable.

Even if your roof faces north, it is important that the roof is not shaded by taller buildings or trees in the vicinity. 

Shade on only a portion of the installation, such as from a chimney, can potentially degrade the performance of the entire installation.

4. Angle

Many solar PV developers use the latitude of the given location as the angle at which the panel should be tilted.

In the case of Cape Town, which is at 33 degrees, the solar PV panel will be tilted at an angle of 33 degrees. However, angles over 20 degrees up to 45 degrees are suitable.

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