A solar installer’s guide to building a solar ready home
A solar ready home refers to specific attributes incorporated into the home-building process that facilitate a future solar installation. Homeowners not ready to make the initial investment can opt to build a solar ready home to reduce installation expenses when they finally decide to go solar.
Thinking of installing solar panels and possibly a battery backup system? Then you’ll want to keep some things in mind. That’s why we’ve compiled a document for Washington State and Oregon residents that can serve as a home solar installation guide for new construction.
Download the solar ready home guide for detailed information on the following considerations:
Roof orientation: Roofs should face south to maximize solar production whenever possible. Consider the second-best orientation, West, and the third-best orientation, East, when south-facing isn’t possible. Download the guide for more details about the best roof pitch for solar systems facing West or East.
Roof pitch: A moderate, south-facing slope is the best roof pitch for a solar panel installation, while steeper roofs become more difficult, although not impossible.
Roof obstacles such as skylights and vents: Wherever possible, route ventilation and plumbing vents to the North facing roof in order to keep the solar-facing roof clear of obstructions. The same goes for chimneys and skylights.
Preferred roofing materials: Certain roof materials are more compatible with solar energy systems. Some considerations include structural integrity, durability, and heat absorption. Our solar installation guide provides a comprehensive list of the best roof materials for solar panels.
Shading: The lack of tree shading is critical to the effectiveness of a solar energy system. Our guide will outline best practices, as well as clarify how to ensure that trees will not affect solar production.
Square footage and costs: The cost of installing solar panels and battery storage will vary significantly until certain variables can be determined. However, the new construction guide can provide a helpful average for the relationship between roof square footage and the potential cost of installing solar panels.
Conduit and wire runs: Conduit and wiring for solar panels are extremely important to a home solar installation. Not only for safety but compliance with electrical code ensures homeowners will not incur fines or possible system shutdown. Other considerations include aesthetics, ease of maintenance, and maximizing solar performance. Find detailed wiring and conduit information, as well as a sample of an electrical line drawing in our solar-ready home guide.
Main service panel: As the main point of connection between a solar energy system and a home’s electrical system, the properties of a master service panel (MSP) need to be considered in relation to the solar energy system size. For instance, having a 200 amp solar-ready panel installed can greatly expedite a solar installation. Learn more about design considerations for a main service panel in our solar-ready home construction guide.
Energy storage for backup power: Currently, A&R Solar has identified the Tesla Powerwall battery as the leading solar battery storage system on the market. Download the construction guide for more information about whole home battery backup, including determining how many Powerwalls you need, where to install Tesla Powerwall, and what loads and circuits can benefit from the Tesla home battery storage.
Ground-mounted solar systems: As an excellent alternative to roof-mounted solar panels, ground-mounted solar panels allow for the ability to select optimal tilt and azimuth, while reducing the loss of power production as a result of shading. There are critical design considerations for ground-mounted solar systems which are explored in more detail in our downloadable guide.
Consider local policies: Local policies regarding solar energy can differ significantly, from state to county and even city. Understanding the specific regulations in your area is crucial, as they may cover a range of issues such as interconnection standards, net metering policies, and limits on system size and aggregate capacity. These policies will undoubtedly shape the design and dimensions of any solar energy system and consequently impact the planning and construction of a home.
We offer this guide free to homeowners, architects, and general contractors. Just fill out the form below, and we’ll send you the link to the downloadable PDF.
Architects/General Contractors: A&R Solar has a course for CEU. Please fill out the form below to be notified about the next live offering (and get a free copy of our New Construction Guide).
Next Generation Smart Home Energy Solutions
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The next generation of smart energy solutions is coming to market. We are field testing a totally integrated, future-ready platform that includes scaleable Solar PV, battery energy storage with advanced backup, EV Charging from excess solar and a growing list of connected smart home features to meet evolving needs (hot water heating, load activation).