Building A Solar Ready Home
When building your new home, you have the opportunity to install solar from the very beginning, helping you to save tens of thousands of dollars in utility costs over decades. Solar installation costs have fallen rapidly over the past several years and when coupled with low interest rates and renewable energy incentive programs, now is a great time to go solar and begin to quickly harness your energy savings.
Here are some reasons to consider solar in the design and building of your new home along with some particulars to consider during the home design process.
Built-in Financing Through a Mortgage
Including solar as part of a new home mortgage allows you to combine two payments into one. The added amount in the monthly payment will be offset by the savings on your electricity bill every month. Currently, with low-cost financing options and low interest rates, adding solar to a new construction home makes great financial sense. Additionally, homeowners can also tap into a low interest home equity line-of-credit should you choose to add or expand your existing solar energy system as your family’s energy usage grows. Learn more about solar financing options click here.
Increase the Life of Your Roof
A roof-mounted solar array adds a fantastic layer of protection to your new roof protecting the shingles from a majority of weather elements thus helping to extend the usable life of the shingles. Solar Panels are mounted to aluminum rails. The rails are then mounted to shingles using flashing designed to be elevated and encapsulated to prevent water intrusion.
Design Elements for a Solar Friendly Home
• Roof Design – One main attribute for the design and engineering of an optimal roof-mount solar array is the placement of the array on a south-facing rooftop (195° +/-90°). Additionally, consider your preference for the panel location(s). Panels can be mounted on east or west-facing rooftops; however, south is always preferred for maximum sun exposure. The optimal roof pitch is a 7/12 pitch to maximize year-round production.
• Shade-Free – Secondary to the direction of a roof line is the amount of shade cast on the array once mounted to the roof. The ideal space should maintain a clear window of sun from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm throughout the year to maximize production.
• Obstruction-Free – Structural rooftop elements such as chimneys, vent pipes, dormers and sky lights should be avoided (if possible) on the roof face where the solar array will be mounted. If the home design allows, keep them toward the ridge and/or to one end of the roof.
• Conduit – The perfect time to install solar specific conduit for a roof or ground solar array is during the construction phase of your new home. For easy solar installation place a 2″ metallic conduit from the attic to the location of the load center to be used for DC wiring. A ground-mounted solar array will often tap into the home next to the exterior utility meter.
• Ground Arrays – Try to keep public and private utility lines out of any possible trench pathway from the location of the array to the utility meter. The ideal space for a ground array is a flat area south-facing with little shading to have maximum production. The size of the area varies based on the amount of panels needed to offset your electricity consumption.
• Electrical/Utility Areas – Leave approximately four foot of wall space on either side of your electrical load center for placement of the solar inverter(s). Additionally, leave three foot of wall space on either side of the utility meter for a required utility disconnect. A majority of arrays can be connected in the electrical load center of the home with our recommendation of a 225 A Square D Homeline load center with a 200A main breaker. A residential solar array will typically need two free slots on the opposite end of the bus bar from the main breaker.
• Communications – The solar array inverters require an internet connection for online monitoring services. For the easiest connection, place your internet router near the load center of the home.
Still have questions about the design of solar for your new home? We are available to continue the conversation and help you throughout the building process to ensure going solar is easy and provides you with optimal results. Initial building plans are a helpful guide in preliminary conversations and the initial design of your solar array. Connect with us here.
Ready to learn more? Complete our Free Solar Analysis Form to being your solar journey: https://eaglepointsolar.com/solar-analysis/