You may use shed solar panels to harness the power of the sun whether you utilize your backyard shed as a home office or gym, or keep it simple and use it for storage. Solar panels atop a shed can create sustainable energy and save electricity expenses for homeowners.
Here’s everything you need to know about installing solar panels on a shed, including how to do it yourself, the benefits and drawbacks, and how much it costs on average.
Is it possible to put a solar panel on a shed?
I was talking to my daughter and her boyfriend in Australia around Christmas time about the new shed they had constructed and the solar power system they had installed to power it, so I thought I’d share that effort here.
Is it possible to install solar panels on a shed, and what size do I require? Yes, you can put a solar energy system on the roof of a shed. My daughter’s boyfriend recently built a new shed, for which he sourced all of the components and installed a portable system. He now has power and lights in his shed, and I’ll walk you through everything you’ll need and how to do it in this article.
Is it possible to install solar panels on the top of my shed in the United Kingdom?
While it’s evident that solar panels may be used to power a shed in the UK, the question of whether it’s worthwhile is a valid one. Here are some of the things to think about:
- What do you do with your shed?
- How much power you need
- The shed’s dimensions and age
- The roof’s durability
- The location of the structure
If you spend a lot of time in your shed and require electricity to operate lights, appliances, a gym shed, or outdoor office equipment, solar panels could be a cost-effective (and environmentally friendly) alternative to mains power. Especially if you want to use solar panels to heat your shed or illuminate your summerhouse (for example). Similarly, the amount of solar energy you require will be determined by how you want to utilize the shed (more about this in the next section). The strength and age of your garden building will also influence whether or not it is worthwhile to install solar panels on it. If you have an old shed with a sagging or sunken roof, for example, adding solar panels is pointless until you buy a new shed (or another type of garden building).
Can I put solar panels on my shed roof in the UK?
Given that this essay is about solar panels for sheds, this may seem like a silly question; however, we’ve previously proven that installing solar panels on your shed roof is legal in the UK. However, you must ensure that your shed roof is sturdy enough – the structure of your solar shed is critical. To put it another way, you shouldn’t just go out and buy a new shed. The building should be composed of materials that will not buckle under the weight of the solar panels in order to support them. With this in mind, we don’t advocate attempting to install solar panels on a cheap shed built of fragile OSB boardit won’t endure!
What roof isn’t suitable for solar panels?
Whether you plan to install solar panels on your current roof or first re-roof, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your roof can support solar panels. The good news is that solar panels may be installed on almost any style of roof. However, because most roofs nowadays aren’t built with solar in mind, you may need to make some changes to your current roof. Alternatively, if you’re installing a new roof, keep these considerations in mind to ensure that your new roof is solar-ready.
Aside from the roof’s age and condition, the following factors influence its solar panel compatibility:
Material of Roofing
Many individuals are concerned about whether solar panels may harm their roof. Most roofing materials, fortunately, can handle a solar panel installation without causing damage to the roof. Let’s start with the most prevalent type of roofing material: asphalt shingles, commonly known as composite roofing. Solar panels work well with asphalt shingle roofing, which is very easy to install. Solar panels are also well-suited to tile rooftops, making them simple to install. A standing metal roof is the type of roof that is best for solar panels. Without drilling into the roof, the standing seam enables for a simpler and less expensive installation.
Wood and slate roofs are examples of roofing materials that aren’t great for solar. For starters, because these roofing materials are brittle, solar panel installers are unable to just walk around on the roof as they would usually. This makes the installation process more laborious and, as a result, more expensive. Another issue with solar panels on a shingle roof is that they can be a fire hazard.
Pitch of Roofing
Your roof’s pitch, or angle, is also something to think about. The vertical rise divided by the horizontal run determines the roof pitch. The best angle for a solar panel, according to most people, is 30 degrees. This translates to a roof pitch of around 7/12, which means the height of the roof grows by seven inches for every 12 inches of horizontal area.
If your roof is steeper, solar panels will likely still work and will have no impact on your energy production. When compared to 30 degrees, a tilt of 40 degrees should only reduce energy production by roughly one percent. Anything steeper than 40 degrees, on the other hand, is probably too much. Another key worry with steep roofs, aside from the system’s performance, is that contractors may not be able to securely install the panels.
Even if your roof is flat, solar panels can be installed. Simply said, you’ll have to use brackets to angle the panels, which can be costly. The manner solar panels are mounted on a flat roof is also influenced by the material used to cover the roof, such as tar and gravel, PVC, and so on.
Shape and Size of Roof
The form and size of your roof might also influence whether or not solar panels can be installed on it. The average household solar system in the United States is 5 kilowatts, requiring at least 300 square feet of roof space. A wide, square roof is the optimal shape and size for solar panels because it allows for easy installation. Because anything that interrupts the surface of your roof, such as dormers, chimneys, and other structures, can alter your available area, a straight measurement of the size of your roof won’t give you everything you need to know.
Because roofs come in an almost unlimited variety of shapes and sizes, you should consult a professional who can assess your roof and advise you on whether solar panels would be a good match and how much of your roof surface can be covered by panels.
Orientation of Roof
Solar panels in the northern hemisphere perform best when facing true south. It’s important to note that this is not the same as the magnetic south direction shown on a compass. Looking up your address on a platform like Google Maps is an excellent method to figure out which way your house faces. This will tell you which way is true south and how your house’s orientation compares.
Even if your house’s position precludes you from facing your panels south, you can still have a lot of success with panels facing southwest or southeast, especially if you get a lot of sunlight. You can also request that your contractor install the panels on a rack so that you can modify their orientation.
Shade Around Roof
The amount of shade that your roof receives might also affect the efficiency of your solar panels. Shade cannot be changed in some circumstances. There isn’t much you can do if your house is shaded by other structures, for example. Solar panels may not be a good choice for you if your roof receives little sunlight.
If necessary, some sources of shade can be removed. For example, if you have large trees on your property that obstruct the sun from reaching areas of your roof, you might either cut them down or prune them back. Consult your contractor if you’re unsure whether shade will be an issue for your roof. Check to see if there are any trees or other obstructions near your property that could affect how well solar panels function on your roof.
Is it possible to install solar panels on a wood roof?
Have you ever wondered how solar panels can be installed on a cedar shingle roof? Depending on the materials used in your property (asphalt, tile, cedar, and metal), roofing specialists have devised several ways for proper roof installation. Because cedar wood shakes can be fragile and broken, technicians must use caution when installing your new solar panels, but the operation is otherwise straightforward and safe. Solar panels can be installed on cedar roofs without causing damage to the existing structure or materials using the most up-to-date installation and correct methods.
Is it possible to install solar panels without obtaining planning permission?
Solar panels can be installed with permitted development rights. This is contingent on the terms and conditions described below.
Conservation areas are likewise subject to permitted development rights, with the exception of those covered by an Article 4 Direction. Permitted development rights for solar panel installations are no longer available. In these circumstances, you’ll need to submit a planning application.
To comply with allowed development regulations, you should position the solar panel as far as possible to minimize its impact on the building’s external look and the area’s amenity. Solar panels should be removed as soon as they are no longer needed.
Solar panels mounted on a house or a block of flats or a building in the grounds of a house or flats:
When any of the following conditions apply, you simply need to apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning approval (houses) to install a solar panel:
- When measured perpendicularly, it would protrude more than 20cm from the external surface of the wall or roof slope.
- The solar panel or equipment’s highest point will be higher than the roof’s highest point. Any chimney is not included in this.
- It would be mounted on a conservation area wall that faces a roadway. This comprises public roads, pathways, and rights of way.
- Your home or flat is a listed structure, or it is within the curtilage of one. Curtilage refers to the area of a garden or grounds.
You must also apply for listed building consent if your house or flat is a listed structure.
Stand alone solar panels on domestic premises (panels not on a building)
When any of the following conditions apply, you simply need to apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning approval (houses) to install a stand-alone solar panel:
- There would be more than one stand-alone solar panel installed.
- It would be taller than 4 meters.
- It would be 5 meters inside the property’s perimeter.
- It would be placed within the confines of a historic structure. Curtilage refers to the area of a garden or grounds.
- Any part of the solar installation would be closer to a highway than any part of the house in a conservation area. Roads, pathways, and public rights of way all make up a highway.
- Any stand-alone solar panel’s surface area will exceed 9m2, and any dimension of its array (including other equipment) will exceed 3m.
Is it worthwhile to invest in small solar panels?
For smaller roofs, solar panels may be worth it if you build a system that uses more efficient solar panels, such as monocrystalline solar panels, which generate more power while taking up less space. Solar panels should be installed on a roof with a slope of 30 to 45 degrees.
How can I tell if my roof is suitable for solar panels?
The size of the array you wish to construct determines whether your roof is big enough for solar panels.
A basic 4kW system would require around 28 square meters of clean roof area. Any elements of your roof that may produce blockages or disrupt the configuration of your solar panels should be considered. Skylights, turrets, and roof vents are examples of this. While installers can usually work around these barriers, the cost of installation may be affected.
Alternatively, you might choose flexible solar panels, which make it easier to install solar panels on unusual or light-weight roofs.
Shaded regions must also be taken into account, which leads to the next question…
What kind of roofs are appropriate for solar panels?
Because it generates the most electricity from the solar panels, a south-facing roof is optimal for a roof to face/best orientation for a solar panel system. South-facing roof panels create the greatest energy since they receive the sun at its most intense for the longest time.
What is the best way to tell if my roof is suitable for solar panels?
The material of your roof has a significant impact on your home’s solar compatibility, but it isn’t always the decisive element. There are a few more questions you can answer to see if your house is solar-ready.
1. What is the orientation of your roof?
Solar PV panels work best on a large, south-facing roof (at least in the northern hemisphere). They should, ideally, face true south, which is slightly different from magnetic south as determined by a compass. Looking up your roof, and thus your property, on Google Maps is an easy method to see if it’s suitable for solar. The grid will tell you which way true south is if you show it. If you can’t get your panels to face true south, southeast and southwest facing panels will suffice, and utilizing a rack will aid in getting the ideal orientation. If a southern exposure on your roof isn’t possible, east and west exposures are still viable options, depending on shadowing. Even if solar panels aren’t pointing straight south, they can nevertheless generate considerable amounts of electricity in areas where sunshine is scarce. If your roof orientation isn’t ideal, you can still put your panels on the ground or on another structure, such as a shed or garage.
2. How much shade does your roof provide?
Because the amount of shade your roof receives and for how long will affect the effectiveness and output of your solar panels, you’ll need to figure out how much shade it gets and for how long. Shade can come from nearby structures, your own chimney, or the trees that surround your home. Your installer can assist you in determining the implications of your specific scenario. You can’t do much about other structures or your chimney, but you can investigate the potential of removing or cutting trees to reduce shade. (Take a look.) “For further information, see Should You Cut Down Trees to Improve Solar Panel Performance?
3. What is the age of your roof?
Solar panels can last anywhere from 25 to 40 years, so make sure your roof is in good shape and won’t need to be replaced anytime soon.
4. What are the dimensions and contour of your roof?
Installing panels on a huge square roof is the easiest. A basic rule of thumb is that you’ll need about 100 square feet of roof area for every kilowatt of your system’s size. Keep in mind that features like as dormers, turrets, and skylights will have an impact on the quantity of area available.
5. Does your roof have a flat or slanted surface?
Roofs with flat surfaces are fine. The ideal angle for a sloped roof is between 30 and 40 degrees. Keep in mind that self-cleaning panels should be set at a minimum of 15 degrees. A maximum angle of 40 degrees is possible (any steeper and performance will not be efficient).
6. Do you know who owns your roof?
This appears to be a stupid question to include at first look. The majority of people who are considering solar PV installation own the land where it will be installed. However, as solar becomes increasingly mainstream, a growing number of tenants are spearheading solar installations and persuading their landlords to adopt it. Check out our article for advice on how to start a conversation with your landlord “Can Renters Take Advantage of Clean Energy’s Financial Advantages?
Is it possible to cover your roof with solar panels?
Solar panels can be utilized as a roof, but the particular construction will be determined by the product you select. With the cost of solar panels falling year after year, installing solar panels as a roof is now the same as or even less expensive than adding solar panels to a normal roof.