When designing and constructing a new home, you may wish to consider how to make it a solar-friendly site. There are three factors that directly impact the efficiency of a solar system:
The roof orientation, or azimuth, is extremely important to the efficiency of a solar system. A roof facing true south is ideal in Massachusetts; on a compass, this is 180 degrees. Next, it is very important that the roof be free of shade from trees or other nearby obstructions. Here’s a good rule of thumb: a tree should be at least 2-3 times as far away from the house as it is tall. If not, it will likely throw some shading on the roof during the year. Lastly, the roof pitch will affect the efficiency of the system, though not quite as much as roof orientation and shading. A pitch of around 38-45 degrees is great for solar electric systems.
Solar systems are most commonly placed on asphalt shingle roofs, though we can easily install a solar system on a metal or rubber roof. Cedar shingle roofs are more difficult, but with enough advance notice, we can install our flashings as the roof is being installed and this solves most of the issues that arise with cedar shingles. Slate roofs are nearly impossible to install a solar system on, and we do not recommend it. If your new construction home features a slate roof, you may wish to consider a ground mounted solar system.
When designing your new home, you should also consider any roof obstructions that may be present on the southern-facing roof. Dormers, intersecting roof lines, skylights, and vents all detract from the amount of usable space for a solar system. Try to keep your southern-facing roof as free from obstructions as possible.
Please feel free to contact us at anytime during the design or construction phase for your new home!