Energy Usage & Roof Suitability

Energy Usage

Understanding your energy usage is an important factor in whether you are a good fit for a solar system. It allows you to analyze and manage your energy consumption. If, like most Houstonians, you live in area served by Centerpoint, you can get detailed reports of your energy usage by signing up at Smart Energy Texas. To register you will need is a your is meter number and ESI ID (electric service identifier), which are on your electric bill. It’s free!!

Roof Suitability

Orientation of roof:

While the ideal position to install solar panels is on a south-facing roof, other orientations can produce sufficient electricity to make solar worthwhile. Most residential installations will be roof mounted. Understanding your home’s location respecting the sun and the shading impact of surrounding structures or trees and their shading are important. A site survey performed by the solar installation company selected by Solarize Houston will ultimately determine the suitability of your home for solar, but it is important for you to understand the basics of this concept. We recommend that you use Google Maps to input your home address and then look at the satellite (or earth) view to your home’s orientation and roof. Normally, the top of the Google Maps page faces north.

By joining a Solar Co-op (or if there is no open co-op, joining the waitlist — both are free with no obligations), SUN will assess your roof for solar suitability.

Roof Condition:

Another consideration in the financial evaluation of a solar system is any necessary repairs for your roof. After the system is installed, the roof can be replaced, but there will be the added expense of removing and re-installing the solar PV system. You should consider getting a roofer to inspect your roof if your roof is more than 10 years old or you have any questions about its condition. These may be concerns in a composition roof:

  • The roof is over 15 years old
  • Many shingle granules in the gutters
  • Missing shingles or flashing
  • Sagging roof deck
  • Leaks

A structural engineer may be hired by the solar installation company may inspect the structural integrity of the roof prior to installing a roof mounted solar system. A structural inspection may be required of the permitting and inspection process for local jurisdictions.

Researcher switches off the breaker for the HPWH before any work is done

October 4, 2012 — Researcher switches off the breaker for the HPWH before any work is done. (Photo by Lieko Earle / NREL)