Are you thinking about installing solar panels on your carport or garage roof?

I know that it can be tricky to figure out whether or not you can install solar panels on your carport or garage roof- after all, there are a lot of factors to consider! 

But don’t worry, I’m here to help.

In this article, I’ll outline everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision about installing solar panels on your carport or garage roof.

Not only will installing solar panels on your carport or garage roof save you money in the long run, but it’ll also help reduce your carbon footprint.

Why Would You Want to Carport or Garage Roof?

Let’s face it, the vast majority of solar panels are installed on house roofs. After all, that’s where most people have the space and the sun exposure needed to make solar panels work their magic.

However, what if you have additional space on your carport or garage roof?

Can you install solar panels there too?

The answer is yes, you can! And there are actually a number of reasons why you might want to consider installing solar panels on your carport or garage roof:

  1. First and foremost, if your house roof isn’t suitable for solar panels – either because it’s too shady or because it’s in disrepair – then your carport or garage roof could be a great alternative.
  2. Installing solar panels on your carport or garage roof can also be a great way to increase the overall energy output of your solar system.
  3. If you have the space, installing additional solar panels on your carport or garage roof can also be a great way to future-proof your home against rising energy costs.
  4. It’s an efficient usage of available space – after all, your carport or garage roof is probably just sitting there crying out for additional use.
  5. It’s also just as easy to maintain and clean solar panels on a carport or garage roof as it is on a house roof – so there’s very little additional work involved.

Related: How Many Solar Panels Do I Need? (HMMM, A FEW!!)

Is Your Carport or Garage Roof Suitable?

One of the main questions people have about installing solar panels on a carport or garage roof is whether or not their particular roof is actually suitable.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when determining whether or not your carport or garage roof is suitable for solar panels:

  • Elevation.
  • Roof orientation.
  • Shade.
  • Strength and durability.
  • Planning permission.

Related: Can I Build My Own Solar Panel System? (PROBABLY)

Elevation

When it comes to solar panels, elevation is key. In order to work properly, solar panels need to be installed at a certain minimum elevation – typically about 4 feet off the ground. This means that if your carport or garage roof is too low to the ground, it is probably as suitable for solar panels.

The usual recommendation is that your roof is at an elevation of 40 degrees. In the summer months, a 20-degree slope is ideal, while in the spring and fall, 45 degrees provides an acceptable average. A 40-degree pitch is considered appropriate for most roofs.

Roof Orientation

In order for solar panels to work properly, they need to be installed in an area that gets a lot of sun exposure. This means that when it comes to roof orientation, south-facing roofs are generally the best option.

If your carport or garage roof is facing east or west, you might still be able to install solar panels – but you’ll probably need more of them to offset the lower amount of sunlight that they’ll be receiving.

To find out the best orientation for your carport or garage roof, you can use a solar pathfinder tool.

To be honest, if you are thinking of having your solar panels professionally installed, your installer will likely already have done this research for you – but it’s always good to be informed!

Shade

Even though solar panels have the ability to work in the shade, they work best when they’re in direct sunlight. This means that if your carport or garage roof is in an area with a lot of shade, it might not be the best option for solar panels.

When it comes to solar panels and shade, the rule of thumb is that you want as little shade as possible. Ideally, you want your solar panels to be in an area that is free from shade for at least 6 hours a day.

If you’re not sure how much shade your carport or garage roof gets, you can use a solar pathfinder tool to find out.

There are several obstructions to avoid such as large trees, buildings, and other structures.

Strength and Durability

When it comes to solar panels, one of the most important considerations is the strength and durability of your roof. Solar panels are heavy – typically about 4 pounds per square foot.

This means that if your carport or garage roof is in disrepair or is otherwise not structurally sound, it’s probably not going to be able to support the weight of solar panels.

It’s also important to note that solar panels need to be installed with special brackets and mounts. This means that if your roof is covered in shingles or other materials that make it difficult to install these brackets and mounts, it might not be the best option for solar panels.

If you’re not sure whether or not your carport or garage roof is suitable for solar panels, it’s always best to consult with a professional installer.

Planning Permission

In some cases, you might need to get planning permission before installing solar panels on your carport or garage roof. This is typically only the case if your carport or garage is in a conservation area or listed building.

If you’re not sure whether or not you need planning permission, it’s always best to consult with your local planning authority.

Again, this is something a professional installer would likely already be aware of and can advise you on.

Maintaining Solar Panels on a Carport or Garage Roof

Once your solar panels are installed, it’s important to make sure that they’re properly maintained.

In essence, there are three things to look at. They are any visual obstructions, how dirty they are, and any loose wiring going to the inverter or panels.

Visual obstructions

One of the first things you’ll want to check for are any visual obstructions. This includes things like leaves, branches, and debris.

If there are any obstructions, it’s important to remove them as they can block sunlight from reaching the solar panels.

Dirty solar panels

Another thing you’ll want to check for is how dirty the solar panels are. Solar panels need to be in direct sunlight to work properly, and dirt can block sunlight from reaching the solar panels.

You can clean your solar panels with a hose or a brush. Just be careful not to use anything too abrasive as it could damage the solar panels.

Alternatively, you can hire a window cleaning company that uses a purified water-fed pole system (PWFP) to clean your solar panels. This is generally the best option as it’s less likely to damage the solar panels.

Loose wiring

Finally, you’ll want to check for any loose wiring going to the inverter or panels. This can be a fire hazard, so it’s important to make sure that all wiring is secure and there are no loose connections.

If you’re not sure how to properly maintain your solar panels, it’s always best to consult with a professional installer.

Key Takeaways

  • You’ll need to make sure that your roof is strong enough to support the weight of the solar panels, and you might need planning permission if your carport or garage is in a conservation area or listed building.
  • It’s also important to regularly check for any visual obstructions, dirt, or loose wiring, and to consult with a professional installer if you’re unsure about anything.

FAQs

Can I put solar panels on my flat carport or garage roof?

Yes, you can put solar panels on a flat carport or garage roof. However, you’ll need to make sure that the roof is strong enough to support the weight of the solar panels. The spacing of the panels will also need to be taken into account so that they’re not too close together.

Is there a difference between solar panels for a carport or garage roof and regular solar panels?

No, there’s no difference between solar panels for a carport or garage roof and regular solar panels. In effect, they are the same panels, just installed in a different location.

Do I need planning permission to put solar panels on my carport or garage roof?

You might need planning permission if your carport or garage is in a conservation area or listed building. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to consult with your local planning authority.

Is the cleaning of solar panels different on a flat roof?

No, the cleaning of solar panels is not different on a flat roof. In fact, it’s often easier to clean solar panels on a flat roof as there are no obstacles in the way. You can use a hose or brush to clean the panels or hire a window cleaning company that uses a PWFP system.

Are the solar panels different on a detached garage?

No, the solar panels are not different on a detached garage. In fact, they are the same panels, just installed in a different location and in a different way with regards to mounting brackets.

About the Author

Passionate about helping households transition to sustainable energy with helpful information and resources.

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