Solar energy is a very efficient way of powering your daily life. May it be for your garden, home, or recreational vehicle, solar energy is a very cost-efficient method. Additionally, it is one of the sources of power which is very clean thus contributing to a clean environment.
Some of the major factors to consider when installing a solar panel is how easy it is to install them and how much the cost will be. Another important consideration is how much the solar panel weighs. We will look at how much a solar panel weights and what that weight means for your energy needs.
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Solar Panel Weight- How Much Do Typical Solar Panels Weight?
The solar panels usually weigh 2 to 4 pounds per square foot depending on the size and the design. However, it is important for the installers to make sure that the weight is evenly distributed for the sake of the roof’s stability. This means that some panels can be quite heavy.
How Many Solar Panels Are Enough For Your Needs?
Solar panels work better when they are interconnected. Additionally, bigger panels produce more energy and more so when they work together as opposed to when a panel is alone. If a solar panel measures 5 by 3 feet, it would generate more power than two solar panels which are half the size of the single solar panel.
Most solar panels measure about 5 by 3 feet and have the capacity to generate 320 watts when the weather conditions are optimum – this means when the sun is shining directly on the solar panel.
The solar panel performance depends on the number of hours that the sun shines. Different locations in the world receive different hours of sunlight.
A 6-hour duration of the sun will give you a total of 57.6 kWh per month from a single solar panel. In order to determine your energy requirements for the whole month, you should check your current energy needs.
For a home that uses 897 kWh per day, it would need 15 solar panels to effectively supply the required power in a year. 15 solar panels weigh at least 675 pounds.
Can Your Roof Support The Solar Panels?
675 pounds might seem to be a very heavy weight on your roof but in actual sense, it is only 2 to 3 pounds per square foot. Most roofs can tolerate this weight. Here are a few other things besides weight that you need to consider.
The Condition of Your Roof
If your roof is leaky and generally weak, then you should ensure that you replace or repair it before you install the solar panels. The sense of repairing your roof before you install solar panels is that it is easier to do so. Therefore, we advise you to make the repairs beforehand.
What Happens To The Rafters?
For a firm installation, it is advisable to fix the solar panels on the rafters in addition to the roof. The main reason for fixing the solar panels well is to avoid an uplift in case of winds.
At times, the wind might get below the solar panel and cause destruction to the roof and the panels themselves. You should fix the panes in a way that wind will not get beneath them.
Consider the Angle of Your Roof
It is easier to install solar panels on a flat roof than on a steep one. Additionally, a steep angled roof might not capture the sun’s rays as well as a roof which is at a less steep angle. A steep angle also presents more challenges and the solar panels might need more reinforcements to ensure that they do not fall off the roof. Installing solar panels on a steep roof is also dangerous for the installers and they might require special safety equipment.
What Other Solar Panel Options Should You Consider?
As technology advances, so does the efficiency and the output of solar panels increase, this means that solar panels are becoming lighter while producing more power.
However, if the weight of the solar panel is a concern, there are other lightweight solar panels although they might be a bit expensive than the traditional ones.
Solar Panels Which Are More Efficient
We have discussed the energy return, size and weight of the normal solar panel. As earlier stated, as technology advances, so has solar panels. This means that there are more efficient solar panels that are lighter, smaller and yet produce more energy. Although they are more efficient, they cost more.
Solar shingles look and function like the normal roof shingles with the exception that they can produce electricity. They used to be highly-priced but nowadays they are much more affordable. They are a great option if you need to repair your roof since they are not as cumbersome as solar panels.
Where Else Can You Install Your Solar Panel?
Not all roofs are good for solar panel installation. Some houses have a lot of shade from trees, others do not have a good elevation for the sun rays and other similar factors which makes them inappropriate for solar panel installation.
The good news though is that you can install solar panels in other places besides the roof. One option is the lawn. If the lawn receives enough sunlight, then you might install freestanding solar panels. All you need are cables to transfer the power from the panels into the house.
Provided the roof is in good working condition, then most solar panels will fit well on most roofs. Weight is usually not a major consideration provided the roof is not damaged.
Even if your roof is old and decapitated, you have the option of repairing it and installing the solar panels. Traditional solar panels are heavy but due to technological advancement, there are lighter ones which perform well.
However, they might be a bit expensive than traditional solar panels. Another factor that determines the installation of solar panels is the elevation of the roof. Some rooftops are elevated in such a way that it might be tricky to get the beat from the solar panels. Notwithstanding, compared to other sources of energy, solar energy is the cleanest.