Can You Put Solar Panels on a Garage Roof?


Solar power is becoming more affordable and easier to have installed on homes. It’s important to make use of all of the space you have because some roofs can’t have solar panels placed on them.

You can put solar panels on a garage roof if the slope of the roof will allow you to do so. Detached garages can be utilized as a great source of solar power. If you don’t like the look of solar panels on your house, you can put them in your garage as an alternative if it isn’t seen from the street.

You can hire a professional to install solar panels on your garage, or you can do it yourself. The project can be a 10-hour job and cost around $30,000 to complete.

Let’s take a look at why solar panels are a good idea and where you can install them in your garage.

Where Can Solar Panels Be Placed?

Solar panels can be placed in various locations, but there are a couple of basic criteria that need to be met first: 

  • They can’t be placed in the shade
  • Must have an unobstructed view
  • The location needs to be structurally sound
  • If placed on a roof, the roof needs to be in good shape
  • They need to be compliant with your HOA (if applicable)

The biggest concern is that you have enough sun during the day, in all seasons. As long as you do, most garages will easily be able to meet the other conditions.

Detached garages are typically behind the house. So, if your HOA has strict rules about aesthetics, you have a better chance of being able to put panels on your garage if it can’t be seen from the street.

The shape of your roof also plays a big part in how many panels you can use. Gable roofs typically have plenty of room for several solar panels. Gambrel and hip roofs, however, don’t have a lot of room for panels, although they might look like they do.

Here in the Northern hemisphere, solar panels need to face south. They’ll also need to be at an appropriate angle, depending on your home’s latitude.

Unfortunately, not every roof will provide a lot of ideal conditions.

Solar Panels and The Condition of Your Roof

Speaking of your roof, it’s critical that your roof is in good shape before you install solar panels.

If you think you will need to replace the roof in the near future, plan to do it before you install the solar panels. The panels will need to be removed during the roof work and that can get expensive.

How expensive?

EnergySage says that “on average, residential installations tend to cost somewhere between $1,500 to $6,000 to remove and reinstall.”

Before you install solar panels on your garage roof (or the roof of your house), ask these questions:

  • Is the roof structurally sound? 
  • Can it hold the weight of solar panels?
  • When was the roof last replaced?
  • When will the roof need to be replaced?

If you have any doubts, find an inspector to make sure your garage is structurally sound and that the roof will be able to hold the panels before you purchase them.

Why Solar Panels On Your Garage?

Many people around the world are turning to solar power as an alternative source of electricity. It’s cleaner and more efficient than our typical sources of electricity and a great way to lower your electric bills.

For me, that was more than enough incentive to get solar panels installed on my home and garage.

There are many benefits of installing solar panels on your property. Here are a few of the top reasons why many people switch to solar power.

Lower Utility Bills

Solar power lowers my electricity bill by 30%-40% each month. I’m not at the point where I can completely replace the power company, but solar helps to keep it manageable.

How so?

When the panels are installed on your property, they begin to produce power for your home. Depending on how your community handles solar power, your house will use the electricity created by the panels first.

Here in Florida, it’s a bit different. We’re still “on the grid” event if your home produces all the power you need through solar.

But if you’re using power created by your solar panels, it’s essentially free because you won’t be charged for that electricity by the power company.

Many homes don’t have enough space for enough solar panels or they get too much shade.

In that case, the solar panels won’t be able to produce enough power to support the home all day. You’ll need to use power from the electric company.

However, if you use the power from your panels first, you’re using less energy from the grid.

That means your energy bill is lower.

Image: tesla.com

Going Off-Grid With Solar

Depending on where you live, it’s possible to not need your power company at all.

When the sun’s out during the day, your solar panels might be able to provide enough electricity to power your home. But what happens at night?

To completely go off-grid, you’ll need solar batteries. The batteries store excess power that’s generated so you’ll be able to use it at night or on cloudy days.

I have a small, 2kW solar panel system, so they don’t produce enough electricity to take my house off-grid. I’d need roughly an 8kW system for my small house.

For most people, going off-grid is an expensive project. You need enough solar panels as well as a battery large enough to hold the excess power. That puts it out of reach for many homeowners.

However, for some, the electricity savings is worth it. Over the years, you may be able to make your money back on the investment.

Eco-Friendly Option

Solar power is one of the clean, renewable sources of power. It doesn’t pollute the air or water, although some of the materials used to make the panels are toxic.

The only major downside to using solar power is how much space it takes up. Near my house is a huge solar farm that takes up acres and acres of land.

Putting solar panels on existing buildings, however, avoids that problem. They make use of space that’s otherwise not being used.

Your garage roof protects your car from the elements, so you might as well make it even more useful by adding solar panels to produce energy.

Conclusion

Solar power is a clean energy solution that can reduce your energy bill if you receive enough sunlight. You can place them on the roof of your garage or house. The garage can be an excellent choice if it receives more sunlight than the house or has fewer obstructions. It’s also a great location if you don’t like the look of solar panels on your house.

Once you’ve installed your solar panels, the next step is to channel that power to your garage. But there’s more to charging your EV than just plugging it in. To make sure you have the right type of outlet electric vehicle, check out our guide here.

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