Most of us envision panels attached to the roof when we think about adding solar energy production to our homes but I’d like to challenge you to think outside that box.
There are alternatives for locating solar panels that can reduce construction costs, provide easier access for cleaning, be more esthetically pleasing and serve a dual purpose, while avoiding the risks associated with roof penetrations. Here are few ideas:
Overhangs: The longevity of doors and windows is increased when shaded from sun and rain by an overhang. The garage side of the home in the photograph below offered a perfect southern exposure (the optimum direction for solar); something the roof could not provide. By utilizing the solar hot water panels as an overhang for the garage door, the architect, Ed Binkley, was able to take advantage of the southern exposure, provide a degree of protection for the garage door, avoid roof penetrations and enable the homeowner to access the panels for cleaning. Pretty cool, huh?
Photograph courtesy of Ed Binkley Designs.
Porch Roofing: Will your new or remodeled home include a south-facing, roofed porch? That was the case with this new home (pictured below) providing the opportunity for incorporation of solar panels to serve as both the porch roof and the electrical power source for the structure. You’re looking at 69 panels in the array, consisting of 3 rows of 23 panels – totaling 13,455 watts. Because of the balcony above the porch, the homeowner will be able to clean them from above utilizing an extension pole.
Due to the fact that these panels are bi-facial, they can capture reflected sunlight from the bottom of the array, thereby exceeding the rated power production of each panel by 30%. Another benefit is that 15% of the natural light penetrates through the panel enhancing the atmosphere and look of the lanai as shown below.
The builder, Rob Smith – E2 Homes, explained that in comparing the extra expense necessary for trusses engineered to handle the additional weight, it was actually less costly to install the panels as the porch roof. Plus, all those roof penetrations were avoided.
For more information on this project visit, E2 Homes.
Yard Installation: Although more common, installing an array in the yard is also an alternative that will provide easy access for solar maintenance, offer more flexibility in positioning and avoid roof penetrations.
We’re actually in the process of looking into this option for our home. Our yard offers plenty of room and unobstructed Florida sun.
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As always, The Difference is in the Details.